Born in the US and raised in Finland, Elina Vähälä made her orchestral debut with Sinfonia Lahti at the age of twelve and was later chosen by Osmo Vänskä as the orchestra’s ‘Young Master Soloist’. Since then, her career continues to expand on the international stage, winning praise from audiences and musicians alike as ‘a fluent, stylish and gifted musician whose brilliant technique is matched by an abundant spirit, sensitivity and imagination’ (Chicago Tribune). In 2008 she was chosen to perform at the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony which was televised to a worldwide audience.
Elina Vähälä has worked with world renowned conductors including Leonard Slatkin, Carlos Kalmar, Jukka-Pekka Saraste, Osmo Vänskä, Okko Kamu, Jakub Hrůša, Thierry Fischer, Jeffrey Tate, Sakari Oramo, Vasily Petrenko, Michał Nesterowicz, Leif Sergerstam, Alexander Liebreich, JoAnn Falletta and Daniel Blendulf.
Highlights for 2017/18 include debuts with the Orchestre National de Lyon, Singapore Symphony, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Polish National Radio Symphony, Shenzhen Symphony, Qingdao Symphony and Hawaii Symphony, and performances with the Finnish Radio Symphony, Helsinki Philharmonic, Sinfonia Lahti, NorrlandsOperan Symphony, Niederrheinische Symphony, Detroit Symphony, Houston Symphony, Virginia Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, Buffalo Philharmonic, Oregon Symphony and Sarasota Symphony.
Recent highlights include highly acclaimed debuts with the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony, RTÉ National Symphon, Strasbourg Philharmonic, Norrlands Operan Symphony, Gävle Symphony, Kymi Sinfonietta and NFM Wroclaw Philharmonic, and performances with the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra, Tampere Philharmonic, Colorado Symphony, Colorado Springs Philharmonic, Milwaukee Symphony, Huntsville Symphony as well as a tour of France with the Festival Pablo Casals Prades Collective.
Festival highlights include the Seoul International Music Festival, Hong Kong Musicus Festival, Colorado Music Festival, Lisbon Classical Summer Festival, Naantali Music Festival, Storioni Chamber Music Festival, Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival, Crusell Music Festival, Loviisa Sibelius Festival, Clandeboye Festival and West Cork Chamber Music Festival.
As a devoted chamber musician Elina Vähälä performs with Andras Adorjan, Yuri Bashmet, Ana Chumachenco, Chee-Yun, Peter Csaba, Itamar Golan, Ralf Gothóni, Ivry Gitlis, Bruno Giuranna, Gary Hoffman, Steven Isserlis, Frans Helmerson, Cho-Liang Lin, Adam Neiman, Arto Noras, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Alisa Weilerstein, Cédric Tiberghien and Tamsin Waley-Cohen.
With a repertoire that ranges from baroque to contemporary, Elina Vähälä has given world premieres of Aulis Sallinen’s Chamber Concerto and Curtis-Smith’s Double Concerto (both written for her and pianist-conductor Ralf Gothóni) and Kalevi Aho’s Violin Concerto No.2. In addition, she gave the first Nordic performance of John Corigliano’s Violin Concerto ‘The Red Violin’ and commissioned a new violin concerto from composer Jaakko Kuusisto. Both the Corgiliano and Kuusisto concertos were recorded for BIS in 2013.
Educational activities play an important role in her commitment to music; In 2009 Elina Vähälä launched ‘The Violin Academy’ funded by the Finnish Cultural Foundation – the academy is a master class based educational project for selected, highly talented young Finnish violinists.
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