We are immensely grateful to have the fortune to frequently work together with these wonderful artists!
Kajsa Dahlbäck: Soprano
The Finnish soprano Kajsa Dahlbäck graduated with excellence from the Church music department at the Sibelius Academy in 2005 and also holds a master’s degree from the opera department of Gothenburg University. Privately she has studied with Kammersänger Tom Krause, Susanna Eken and Dame Emma Kirkby. Dahlbäck is an experienced interpreter of early music. She has performed as a soloist e.g. with Tapiola Sinfonietta, Helsinki Baroque Orchestra and the Finnish Baroque Orchestra at the Bolzano Festival (Italy), Musica Antiqua (Brazil), Brezice Festival (Slovenia), Kirkko Soikoon! Festival, Helsinki Festival and Vantaa Baroque Festival. Dahlbäck’s CD with the Argo Ensemble, Canta la serenissima (ALBA) received excellent reviews in international media in 2013. Dahlbäck has performed as a soloist in many large works of church music, such as J.S. Bach’s Passion of St. John, Passion of St. Matthew and Magnificat, Handel’s Gloria, Messiah and Israel in Egypt, Mozart’s Great Mass in C minor and Exsultate, Jubilate motet. Her opera roles include Drusilla from Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea, Valencienne from Lehár’s The Merry Widow, Zerbinetta from Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos, Ännchen from Weber’s Freischütz, Susanna from Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro and Damon from Handel’s Acis and Galatea. In 2004 Dahlbäck won the second prize at the Kangasniemi singing competition. In 2007 she was rewarded with an opera role (Purcell: The Fairy Queen) in the international singing competition AsLiCo in Como, Italy. In 2008 she reached the final round at the Lappeenranta singing competition and was awarded with two special prizes (recognition prize by the jury and prize for an excellent performance in the semifinals). Dahlbäck’s work is supported by e.g. the Pro Musica foundation, Helene och Walter Grönqvists Stifles and Vaasan Jaakkoon foundation, from which she has received so called scholarships of recognition. Other scholarships have been granted e.g. by Finnish Cultural Foundation, Swedish Cultural Foundation in Finland and Viljo ja Maire Vuorio foundation. In 2013 Konstsamfundet rewarded her with an honorary grant for her work in the early music field (the Jenny Spennert grant). The Swedish Cultural Foundation has rewarded Dahlbäck with a two-year working grant for artistic work 2014-2016. Miss Dahlbäck is the Artistic Director of Vaasa Baroque – a concert series for Early Music, in Vaasa, Finland (www.vaasabaroque.com).
Marianna Henriksson: Harpsichord
Marianna Henriksson was born in Helsinki in 1983. She studied harpsichord at the Sibelius Academy, and Berlin University of the Arts where her teacher was Mitzi Meyerson. Marianna lives in Berlin and Helsinki. She leads an active and multifaceted international and national career, performing with Les Ambassadeurs, Helsinki Baroque Orchestra, Finnish Baroque Orchestra, Barocco Boreale, Ensemble Cornucopia, the Berliner Cembalo Ensemble, Musica Sequenza, and Ensemble Ucca Nova. In 2012, together with choreographer Anna Mustonen, she created a dance performance for the Helsinki Centre for New Dance featuring early Italian Baroque music. That same year Marianna was the featured soloist for the world tour of “Flying Bach,” performing preludes and fugues from Das Wohltemperierte Klavier I with the Berlin based break-dance group Flying Steps. The tour has taken her to most of Europe, Japan, Russia and Chile. In 2013 Marianna was chosen to represent Finland in the European Union Baroque Orchestra and toured Europe for a year performing under distinguished early music conductors such as Lars Ulrik Mortensen, Gottfried von der Goltz and Rachel Podger. Marianna’s repertoire extends to contemporary music and folk music. She has premiered works by Olli Virtaperko, Timo Alakotila, Tomi Räisänen and Sarah Nemtsov, and her folk music debut CD Rinda-Nickola met with great acclaim and was awarded the prestigious Etno-Emma nomination. Marianna holds a master’s degree from the Sibelius Academy (2010) and a Konzertexamen from the Berlin University of the Arts (2012).
Anu Komsi: Soprano
Soprano Anu Komsi continues to be praised for her versatile musicianship and her dynamic coloratura voice. She began her musical education in Kokkola, Finland, where she played both flute and violin with the prestigious Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra. Equally at home on both opera and concert stages, she has appeared regularly all over Europe and in the United States. She is a versatile recitalist and chamber musician with a repertoire ranging from the Renaissance to contemporary music. The New York Magazine described her as a “Pyrotechnic Grace” on the stage while performing John Zorn´s Machine de Léttre at the New York City Opera. Engagements at leading opera houses and concert halls have kept her busy. She has performed at the Musikverein, Konzerthaus and Schönberg Center (Wien), Avery Fisher Hall and Alice Tully Hall (New York City), Walt Disney Hall (Los Angeles), Barbican Hall, Royal Albert Hall, South Bank Royal Festival Hall and Queen Elisabeth Hall (London), Chatelet, Salle Pleyel, Pompidou, Odeon Theatre (Paris), Sao Paulo Concert Hall, Berlin Philharmonie, Cologne Philharmonie, Frankfurt Alte Oper and Oper, Santa Cecilia (Rome), Concert House (Stockholm), and Amsterdam Concertgebouw. Her repertoire covers over 50 operatic roles including Lulu, Olympia, Zerbinetta, Nannetta, Susanna, Queen of the Night, Michaela, Rosalinde, and Ligeti´s Aventures& Nouvelles Aventures. George Benjamin’s Into the Little Hill was specially written for her. Also Kaija Saariaho, E-P Salonen, Jukka Tiensuu, Jonathan Harvey, Un Suk Chin, James Dillon, Kimmo Hakola, Heinz-Juhani Hofmann are amongst the composers that have written music, both operas and concert pieces for Komsi´s voice. Morton Feldman’s Neither has become one of her signature roles. At her debut at the Salzburg Festival in summer 2011 she was hailed in the press as “…the excellent anti-opera heroine.” She was highly acclaimed in the London press after the London premiere of Tiensuu´s Voice Verser at the Proms in August 2014 with the BBC Symphony Orchestra. Komsi has performed as a soloist with numerous major orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic , London Sinfonietta , Deutsches Sinfonieorchester, Berlin DSO, Oslo Filharmonic, CBSO Birmingham, Ensemble Modern , Ensemble Intercontemporain, Orchestre Filharmonique Radio France, Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra, and has worked with numerous celebrated conductors such as Sir Roger Norrington, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Allan Gilbert, Franz Welser-Möst, Heinz Holliger, Peter Eötvös, Jukka-Pekka Saraste, Sakari Oramo, Mikko Franck, Juha Kangas, Oliver Knussen, Santtu-Matias Rouvali, Susanna Mälkki, and Anu Tali. Recent recordings for ALBA, Being beauteous and Aarre Merikantos Echo, Coloratura for BIS have been internationally acclaimed in the European and American Press. Current operatic engagements includes title roles in Lady Sarashina by Eötvös at the Warsovie National Opera (Lyon Opera production) and Heinz Holliger´s Schneewitthen at the Basel Theatre, as well as the role of former president of Finland – the legendary Urho Kekkonen in Heinz-Juhani Hofmann´s “Ahti Karjalainen -elämä, Kekkonen ja teot.” This work will soon appear on ALBA records. In the Jazz genre Anu has a duo with the prestigious and multifaceted musician Marzi Nyman with whom she has performed Duke Ellington´s Sacred Concert at many festivals in Finland. Anu has also collaborated for several years with saxophonist and composer Petri Nieminen and their latest recording, “Brightest Matter”/ALBA has been acclaimed by many critics. Miss Komsi is the Artistic Director of the yearly Opera Festival in her home town of Kokkola on the West Coast of Finland. As an opera director Komsi won recent high acclaim in the prestigious Opernwelt Opera Magazine in the September/14 edition for her direction of Kurt Weill´s Der Silbersee. (http://www.anukomsi.com)
Andrew Lawrence King: Harp
Baroque opera & orchestral director, imaginative continuo-player, Early Harp virtuoso, specialist in baroque gesture & Historical Action, investigator of Flow, Andrew Lawrence-King is one of the world’s leading performers of Early Music and the most recorded harpist of all time. Andrew has directed at La Scala, Milan & Sydney Opera House and won Russia’s highest theatrical award, Golden Mask (2012). With Jordi Savall he won a Grammy (2011) & Australia’s Helpmann Award (2013). From 2010-2015, he was Senior Visiting Research Fellow for the Australian Centre for the History of Emotions. Andrew Lawrence-King directs The Harp Consort, combining state-of-the art early music performance with stylish improvisation & entertaining stage presentation; Il Corago, the production team for historical staging of early opera; International Baroque Opera Studio. Andrew’s hobbies include marathon running, sailing, kayaking, fencing (modern epée & historical rapier) and Tai Chi. He is a qualified hypnotist.
Eero Palviainen: Lutes and Baroque Guitar
Lute player Eero Palviainen began his studies at the Turku Conservatory and went on to the Sibelius Academy to study under Leif Karlson. He received his masters’ at Schola Cantorum Basiliensis in Basel in 1992 under Hopkinson Smith. Palviainen specializes in repertoire spanning from the Renaissance era until the Late Baroque era. He was a co-founder of Battalia (FI) and is a member of L’Arpeggiata (FR), Arte Dei Suonatore (PL), the Sixth Floor Orchestra, Barocco Boreale, and Helsinki Baroque Orchestra (FI). Palviainen is also a frequent guest artist with groups such as Avanti! (FI), The Harp Consort (GB), Freiburg Baroque Orchestra (DE) and Ensemble La Fenice (FR). He has made several solo recordings for the Finnish National Radio and his group Battalia’s debut recording won the prestigious Janne award in 1998. Palviainen is also a much respected lute maker. Uniquely, he builds his lutes using material he salvaged from the walls of a 16th century middle European house.
Meeri Pulakka: Soprano
Born in Kokkola Finland, soprano Meeri Pulakka is in process of finishing her Master’s degree at both the Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Vienna and the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki. She has participated in master classes by Karita Mattila, Anne Sofie von Otter and Barbara Hannigan. Miss Pulakka was a soloist with the Avanti! Chamber Orchestra and Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra and performed recently a recital in Villa Lante in Rome. One of her latest Opera roles was Vitellia in Mozart’s Opera La clemenza di Tito in Vienna in May 2016. Miss Pulakka is a regular performer of contemporary music and has been the finalist in the International Timo Mustakallio song contest and the Kangasniemi song contest.