Blog / In the Press: Olli Mustonen

In the Press: Olli Mustonen

Posted on 17 Sep 2015 by Cristina Maldonado


Olli Mustonen © Outi Törmälä

‘The presence and musicianship of the Finnish maestro Olli Mustonen can be observed before the Australian Chamber Orchestra even take the stage. He is a “triple threat” – pianist, conductor, composer – and you can see evidence of all three in the way the stage is set.’
Tristan Kane, Canberra Times, 14 September
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‘While there is nothing particularly Nordic about the items on the Australian Chamber Orchestra’s present tour program, Scandinavian musical rigour and interpretative vitality are omnipresent.

To begin, the ensemble is once again under the direction of excitable Finnish pianist and composer Olli Mustonen, both from the keyboard — as soloist in JS Bach’s bubbly Concerto for Keyboard in D Major and Hindemith’s peppery sampler of human dispositions, The Four Temperaments — and as conductor of an ACO-commissioned chamber ensemble orchestration of his 2006 Cello Sonata.

Sharing the spotlight is fellow Finn and ACO principal cellist Timo Veikko-Valve, first as soloist in the Mustonen, then with a lush arrangement of Shostakovich’s String Quartet No 9 for string orchestra. Rounding out the Nordic contingent, Norwegian chamber specialist Arvid Engegard brings understated lyricism and refinement to his role as guest lead violin, shaping a nuanced collective approach.

As volatile as ever at the keyboard, Mustonen sensibly opted to keep the lid down in the Bach and the Hindemith, softening the percussive aspect of his explosive, ricochet touch and making for a more sophisticated balance between solo and ensemble lines. In other ways, too, he appears to have mellowed, with his reading of the Bach relatively conventional and finding an agreeable balance between light optimism in outer movements and a more tender approach in the Adagio.’
Eamonn Kelly, The Australian, 15 September
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‘Two fine Finns focussing on fabulous finesse presented Olli Mustonen’s Sonata for cello and orchestra for a rapt audience on Wednesday evening.

Originally conceived as a work for cello and piano, this re-worked version is being premiered in the Australian Chamber Orchestra’s Australian tour. It’s fascinating fare. It has an immediacy that draws the listener at once into Mustonen’s aesthetic world.’

Neville Cohn, The West Australian, 17 September
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#ACO15: Olli Mustonen, Bach & Shostakovich
12-20 September

Conductor. Pianist. Composer. This September discover Finland’s ultimate musical triple threat with the ACO’s firebrand virtuosos.

JS BACH Concerto for Keyboard in D major, BWV1054
HINDEMITH The Four Temperaments
OLLI MUSTONEN Sonata for Cello & Orchestra (World Premiere)
SHOSTAKOVICH (arr. for string orchestra) String Quartet No.9