Juho Pohjonen

Festivalutøver, klaver
Juhopohjonenpress 19343

Juho Pohjonen is regarded as one of today’s most exciting and unique instrumentalists. The Finnish pianist performs widely in Europe, Asia, and North America, collaborating with symphony orchestras and playing in recital and chamber settings.  An ardent exponent of Scandinavian music, Pohjonen’s growing discography offers a showcase of music by Finnish compatriots such as Esa-Pekka Salonen, Kaija Saariaho, and Jean Sibelius.

This season Pohjonen makes his debut in Taiwan with the National Symphony Orchestra and also joins the musicians of the orchestra for chamber music. He performs Finnish composer Sauli Zinovjev’s new piano concerto with the Lahti Sinfonia as part of a composer focus and joins the German Radio Philharmonic and Pietari Inkinen for Bartok’s first Piano Concerto. Chamber highlights include a concert at Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, New York with Chamber Music Society and recitals in Helsinki amongst others.

Last season saw Pohjonen perform Daniel Bjarnason’s Concerto for Piano Processions with the Helsinki Philharmonic and the composer on the podium, having previously performed it with Tapiola Sinfonietta. Other orchestral highlights included performances of Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with Rune Bergmann and the Colorado Symphony as well as performances of Mendelssohn’s concerto for violin, piano and strings, beside Erin Keefe, Maestro Osmo Vänskä, and the Minnesota Orchestra, and Chopin’s second Piano Concerto with the BBC Philharmonic. Continuing his long-standing relationship with Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center (CMS), Pohjonen performed at Alice Tully Hall on two separate occasions featuring works by Stravinsky, Debussy, Shostakovich, and Mendelssohn. Additional chamber projects included a performance at Parlance Chamber Concerts with Danbi Um and Paul Huang, and Cliburn Concerts with Danbi and Karim Sulayman.

Pohjonen’s illustrious curriculum vitae of concerto performances reveals a musician in demand internationally. He has appeared as a soloist with Cleveland Orchestra, Danish National Symphony, Finnish Radio Symphony, Helsinki Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, National Arts Centre Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, and Scottish Chamber Orchestra. Pohjonen has collaborated with today’s foremost conductors, including Marin Alsop, Lionel Bringuier, Marek Janowski, Fabien Gabel, Kirill Karabits, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Markus Stenz, Osmo Vänskä, and Pinchas Zukerman.

On the recital stage, Pohjonen has performed throughout Europe, including in Antwerp, Hamburg, Helsinki, London’s Wigmore Hall, St. Petersburg, and Warsaw. In North America he has appeared at the Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and Kennedy Center, and in Philadelphia, San Francisco, La Jolla, Detroit, and Vancouver. His festival appearances include Lucerne, Savonlinna, Bergen, Mecklenberg-Vorpommern as well as the Mostly Mozart Festival.

Pohjonen’s most recent recording with cellist Inbal Segev features cello sonatas by Chopin and Grieg, and Schumann’s Fantasiestücke, hallmarks of the Romantic repertoire. Plateaux, his debut recording on Dacapo Records, featured works by late Scandinavian composer Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen, including the solo piano suite For Piano, and piano concerto Plateaux pour Piano et Orchestre, with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra and conductor Ed Spanjaard. Pohjonen joins violinist Petteri Iivonen and cellist Samuli Peltonen to form the Sibelius Trio, who released a recording on Yarlung Records in honour of Finland’s 1917 centennial of independence. The album, described by Stereophile as “a gorgeous debut”, included works by Sibelius and Saariaho.

Beginning his piano studies in 1989 at the Junior Academy of the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, Pohjonen subsequently earned a Master’s Degree from Meri Louhos and Hui-Ying Liu-Tawaststjerna there in 2008. Pohjonen was selected by Sir Andras Schiff as the winner of the 2009 Klavier Festival Ruhr Scholarship and has won prizes at international and Finnish competitions.

Pohjonen launched MyPianist in 2019, an AI-based iOS app that provides interactive piano accompaniment to musicians everywhere. Designed and programmed by Pohjonen himself and infused with his keen musical sensibility, MyPianist acts as a “virtual pianist” for musicians looking to hone their skills or learn new material. MyPianist carefully "listens" to the musician’s playing and recreates the piano part in real time, matching the timing and nuances of the live performance. 

Foto: Marco Borggreve