Listen: Finnish Phenom Pekka Kuusisto Performs Bach and Music for Swallowed Microphone

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On Mar. 3 at (Le) Poisson Rouge, Finnish violinist Pekka Kuusisto performed a set that ranged from Bach and traditional Finnish fiddle songs to drone-based music and an experimental work for "swallowed microphone." Composer-pianist Nico Muhly, violist Nadia Sirota and singer Joanna Wallfisch made guest appearances on the multifaceted program.

Known for performing on both acoustic and electric violin, Kuusisto has a far-reaching 2012-2013 season. It includes the premiere of Sebastian Fagerlund’s Violin Concerto with Finland's Tampere Philharmonic and the North American premiere Thursday, Mar. 7 of Owen Pallett's Violin Concerto at the Toronto Symphony Orchestra's New Creations Festival

Recent accolades have surrounded his international tour this winter with the Britten Sinfonia under the direction of composer Thomas Adès, whose Violin Concerto Kuusisto performed with "the kind of luminous and infectious beauty that comes only from a true marriage of mastery and love" (The Guardian). 

Set list

Samuel Rinda-Nickola: Finnish fiddle tunes
Johann Sebastian Bach: Cantata BWV 4, "Christ lag in Todesbanden" for electric baseball bat
Unto Mononen: Tahdet meren ylla
Joanna Wallfisch: "I Could Tell You"¹
Pekka Kuusisto: Music for Swallowed Microphone
Nico Muhly: Drones & Violin²
Traditional: Finnish melodies, "On suuri sun rantas autius" and "Piupali Piupali" 

¹ with singer Joanna Wallfisch
² with Nico Muhly, piano and Nadia Sirota, viola