The opening concert of the 2018/2019 Phillips Music season brings together three of Sweden’s most distinguished musicians, each of whom is an internationally renowned soloist. Violinist Ulf Wallin was awarded the Robert Schumann Prize in 2003 for his outstanding contribution to musical life in Germany and beyond, while cellist Torleif Thedéen won both the Casals and Rostropovich cello competitions before embarking on a very successful career. Both have made acclaimed recordings with pianist Roland Pöntinen including the Sonatas by Schumann and Prokofiev in this concert. Pöntinen himself has a large solo repertoire ranging from Liszt to Ligeti as well as being a sought-after chamber music pianist. All three musicians come together for the final item on the program: Eduard Steuermann’s arrangement for piano, violin, and cello of Schoenberg’s astonishingly beautiful Verklärte Nacht.
ROBERT SCHUMANN (1810-56)
Violin Sonata No. 2 in D Minor, Op. 121
SERGEI PROKOFIEV (1891-1953)
Cello Sonata in C Major, Op. 119
ALBAN BERG (1885-1935)
Piano Sonata Op. 1
ARNOLD SCHOENBERG (1874-1951)
Verklärte Nacht (arr. Eduard Steuermann)
Swedish violinist Ulf Wallin studied at the Royal University of Music in Stockholm and at the University of Music and Performing Art in Vienna. Since 1996 he has been a professor of violin at the Hochschule für Musik “Hanns Eisler” in Berlin.
Wallin devotes himself to solo and chamber music with the same intensity. Concert tours have taken him to Asia, Europe, and the US. Among the conductors with whom Wallin has worked with are Jesús Lopéz Cobos, Paavo Järvi, Andrew Manze, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Walter Weller, and Franz Welser-Möst.
Wallin has appeared at major festivals including the Internationale Festwochen in Lucerne, Berliner Festwochen, Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, Schubertiade in Schwarzenberg, Musiktage in Mondsee, and Marlboro Music Festival. He has performed in the world’s major halls, including the Berlin Philharmonie, La Scala di Milano, Théatre des Champs-Elysées Paris, Wigmore Hall, and the Wiener Musikverein.
Wallin’s dedication to contemporary music is highlighted through close contacts with several eminent composers, such as Anders Eliasson, Alfred Schnittke, and Rodion Shchedrin. He has made a number of radio and television appearances and over 40 album recordings on the labels BIS, cpo, EMI, and BMG. Wallin was awarded the Robert-Schumann-Preis der Stadt Zwickau in 2013. In 2014 he was elected into the Royal Swedish Academy of Music.
Torleif Thedéen is one of the most highly regarded cellists working today, regularly playing with many of the world’s major orchestras, including the Wiener Symphoniker, Orchestre Philharmonique de Bordeaux, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Berliner Symphoniker, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Dresdner Philharmonie, the BBC Philharmonic, the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra, the Rotterdam Philharmonic, the Israel Sonfinietta, the Stuttgart Philharmonic, the Hallé Orchestra in Manchester, and the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, under such conductors as Esa-Pekka Salonen, Paavo Berglund, Neeme Järvi, Franz Welser-Möst, Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Leif Segerstam, and Eri Klas. Thedéen is also active as a chamber musician, and appears in prestigious concert venues worldwide such as Wigmore Hall, Carnegie Hall, and the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. He often participates in prestigious music festivals such as Verbier, Prague Spring Festival, and the festivals in Schleswig-Holstein, Bordeaux, Oslo, Bath, Stavanger and Kuhmo.
Since 1986, Thedéen has made numerous recordings for BIS, featuring standard repertoire works as well as contemporary music, including Dvořák’s renowned Cello Concerto. His album of the Shostakovich Cello Concertos won the Cannes Classical Award in 1995, and his recording of J.S. Bach’s Solo Suites for Cello was named Editor’s choice in BBC Music Magazine, 2001. Thedéen has toured with soloists including Julian Rachlin and Janine Jansen to festivals in Europe, New Zealand, and Australia. He has also toured Scandinavia and England with the Musica Vitae Chamber Orchestra of Sweden.
Thedéen has toured worldwide with Janine Jansen and Maxim Rysanov, following a joint recording with DECCA, he performed with the London Philharmonic Orchestra (under Mario Venzago), toured with the BBC Welsh Symphony Orchestra, and recorded with NDR Orchestra in Hannover, Germany.
Recent appearances included performances at the Helleruplund Kirke and the Hørsholm Musikforening in Denmark, an Australasian tour including performances with the Auckland Philharmonia and the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra.
Thedéen was appointed Professor at the Norwegian Academy of Music in fall 2017, and has been Professor at the Edsberg Music Institute in Stockholm since 2016. He plays a cello by David Techler, dating from 1711, formerly owned by Lynn Harrell.
Swedish pianist Roland Pöntinen made his debut at age 17 with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic. Since then he has performed with the major orchestras in the US, Scandinavia, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Greece, Holland, Belgium, Great Britain, Ireland, Russia, Japan, Korea, Australia, and New Zealand. Highlights include concerts with the Los Angeles Philharmonic in Hollywood Bowl, playing the Ligeti Piano Concerto at the London Proms, and performances with the Philharmonia Orchestra in Paris (Chatelet) and London (Royal Festival Hall). Pöntinen and violinist Ulf Wallin gave the world premiere in spring 2006 of the Anders Eliasson’s Double Concerto, which was written for them and commissioned by the Finnish Radio Orchestra.
He and fellow Swede Love Derwinger also enjoy success performing the double piano concerto repertoire. He has collaborated with Marin Alsop, Neeme Jarvi, Paavo Jarvi, Myung-Whun Chung, Peter Eötvös, Evgeny Svetlanov, Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Jukka-Pekka Saraste, John Størgards, Franz Welser-Möst, David Zinman, Sergiu Comissiona, Leif Segerstam, Okko Kamu, Janos Fürst, Sixten Ehrling, Jacques Mercier, and Mikhail Agrest among others.
Although a great virtuoso with a concerto repertoire ranging from the classics to unusual and demanding works like the Barber, Ligeti, and Scriabin concerti, Pöntinen devotes a great deal of attention to the recital repertoire and is also a very keen chamber music player. He has participated in a number of festivals such as Berlin Festival, Schleswig-Holstein Festival, Edinburgh Festival, La Roque d’Antheron Festival, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Oviedo Piano Festival, Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival, Salzburg Festival, Piano Rarities in Schloss vor Husum ,and Styriarte in Graz. His last tour of Australia also included a recital and master class. In the summer of 2007 he performed at both the Ruhr Klavier Festival, Germany (this performance was televised) and in Verbier, Switzerland.
Pöntinen has made over 70 recordings on the labels BIS, Philips, Arte Nova, and cpo as well as his own Haddock label. He is also an active composer and his work Blue Winter was performed in Carnegie Hall by the Philadelphia Orchestra and Wolfgang Sawallisch. Recent releases include Pianorama -cinematic music (BIS) and Rachmaninov Etudes and Tableaux on Pan Classics, as well as many recordings of chamber repertoire.
In the UK, Pöntinen has performed at the Wigmore Hall many times, most recently with Martin Fröst the clarinettist. He has given two solo recitals for the BBC with a third planned as well as master classes.
He has played works by Rachmaninov with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Marin Alsop, performed on several occasions with the Scottish Chamber and Bournemouth Symphony Orchestras, as well as playing at the Proms. In September 2007, he made a successful debut with the Orchestra of Opera North and Jacek Kaspszyk playing the Grieg Concerto.
Pöntinen is a member of the Swedish Royal Academy of Music and has recently received the Royal Gold Medal “Litteris et artibus” for achievements in the artistic field.