Helsinki Chamber Soloists
Siljamari Heikinheimo, violin
Siljamari Heikinheimo is known as a violinist and recently also as an opera director. As a violinist she appears as a chamber musician, member of an orchestra, soloist and in performances which combine dramatic arts and music. She has been a member of the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra during years 2012-2016 and nowadays substitutes frequently as a concertmaster and a section leader in Scandinavian orchestras. She appears regularly at several festivals and has recorded numerous Finnish compositions for the the Finnish Broadcasting Company. Heikinheimo is the artistic director of Sounds Of Books -concert serie, which takes its place in Helsinki.
Senja Rummukainen, cello
Senja Rummukainen was awarded the 1st prize in the Finnish National Cello Competition 2014 in Turku. In 2015 Senja was one of the 3 finalists in the international Guilhermina Suggia Prize competition. She has performed at various music festivals such as the Naantali Music Festival, Turku Music Festival and Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival. She was the Young Artist of the Year at the Korsholm Music Festival in 2015. She has played as a soloist with orchestras such as the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Turku Philharmonic Orchestra and Kuopio Symphony Orchestra. She has recorded for YLE. Senja Rummukainen started her master studies at the Universität der Künste Berlin with Professor Jens-Peter Maintz in 2017.
Lauri Kankkunen, cello
Lauri Kankkunen is the 1st solo cellist of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra. As a soloist he has played with for example Helsinki Philharmonic and the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra. As a chamber musician he has played in most European countries. In addition, in 2019 he joined Apolyptica – a Finnish heavy metal band of classically-trained cellists – for its world tour taking in some 50 concerts. During his free time he enjoys things Italian: espresso, football both on the pitch and in the stands - and he is also a bit too interested in pizza baking. Lauri chose the cello as his instrument when he was five, because the violin was, he said, too high and the piano rattled too much. He plays on a late 18th-century Italian cello by an anonymous maker on loan to him from the City of Helsinki.
Adrian Rigopulos, double bass
Boston-born bassist Adrian Rigopulos was drawn to the double bass from a young age, out of a love for its deep sound color, but also for its integral role in a wide variety of musical genres. In the beginning, Adrian was primarily interested in Bluegrass and Punk, but a passion for classical music followed quickly thereafter. Today, Adrian is happy to call the Helsinki Philharmonic his orchestral home, while continuing to tour regularly with Swiss jazz pianist and composer, Nik Bärtsch, as part of his ensemble Mobile Extended. Adrian participated in the orchestra academy of the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich for the 2014/15 season, and has played as a guest with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Gstaad Festival Orchestra, and the Filarmonica della Scala in Milan. In June 2015, Adrian completed his MMus Orchestra at the Hochschule Luzern in the class of Božo Paradžik.
Niamh McKenna, flute
Niamh McKenna is a German-Irish flutist. She was appointed principal flute of the Turku Philharmonic Orchestra in 2014, starting from autumn 2019 she will continue as soloflutist of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra. During 2013/14 she was academist of the Concertgebouw Orchestra. McKenna has studied with teachers such as Angela Firkins, Felix Renggli, Kersten McCall and Petri Alanko. In 2017 she won the International Crusell Flute Competition. As a soloflutist she has played in the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Finnish as well as Swedish Radio Orchestra among others. She frequently performs as a soloist with Finnish orchestras, as a chambermusician she can be heard in major Festivals throughout Finland.
Giuseppe Gentile, clarinet
Giuseppe Gentile began to study clarinet at the age of 5 with his grandfather. He obtained Clarinet Diploma at 16 years old at the Conservatory “O. Respighi” in Latina with M° Francesco Belli. After that he attended several masterclasses with Calogero Palermo and studied bass clarinet with Sauro Berti and Dario Goracci. He won various prizes in International Competitions, including First Prize at 8th International Clarinet Competition in Carlino (cat. Bass clarinet) and Second Prize (without First Prize) at 5th International Clarinet Competition “Rino Viani” in Carpi. He has played with several orchestras such as BBC Symphony Orchestra, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Tapiola Sinfonietta and Finnish National Opera. Since January 2015 he plays in the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra as bass clarinet and clarinet player.
Cristian Moré Coloma, oboe
Cristian was born in Albelda (Spain) and started his musical studies at the age of 10 in the “Escolania de Montserrat” (Barcelona) where he was a member of their prestigious boys choir, he also began his training in piano and oboe while there. He finished his studies in the “Haute Ecole de Musique de Genève” with a two masters degrees in the streams of Soloist and Orchestra with professors Maurice Bourgue and Alexei Ogrintchouk. He has been a guest oboist with the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Kammerorchester Basel, Orchestra del Teatro Carlo Felice (Genova), Finnish Radio Orchestra, Helsinki Philharmonic, Turku Philharmonic Orchestra, National Orchestra of Spain, the Opera Orchestra of Barcelona and others. Currently he plays solo oboe in the Tampere Philharmonic.
Mikko-Pekka Svala, bassoon
Bassoonist Mikko-Pekka Svala grew up in Kemi in Northern Finland. After completing his studies at the Turku Conservatory, he went on to study at the Malmö Academy of Music in Sweden, Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, as well as Musik Hochschule in Leipzig and with Prof. Ole Kristian Dahl in Cologne in Germany. Mikko-Pekka won the 2nd prize in the International Crusell Competition in Uusikaupunki, Finland, in 2003. Mikko-Pekka started his professional career at the Malmö Opera and the Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra. He has been playing as a guest solo bassoonist at the Rundfunk Sinfonieorchester Berlin and many orchestras in Scandinavia. Mikko-Pekka currently holds the position of associate principal bassoonist in the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra. He is also a member of the Zagros Ensemble, the Helsinki Chamber Soloists and The Savonlinna Opera Festival Orchestra. Mikko-Pekka Svala is an avid performer of contemporary music. He has commissioned and premiered concertos by Yrjö Hjelt and Tomi Räisänen. A devoted pedagogue and a mentor, Mikko-Pekka teaches at the Helsinki Conservatory of Music and Mannheim University of Music and Performing Arts, and works as the Artistic Director of the Kälviä Music Courses.
Thomas Bugnot, trumpet
Thomas started music in the orchestra of his village in east of France. After musical studies at the Conservatory of Music of Reims (France), he continues at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris from 2006 to 2010. Thomas is a member of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, as tutti player since 2011, as Co-soloist since 2015. Before he was principal cornet (cornet à pistons) at Musique de l'Air de Paris (Army Band). Thomas has been invited to play with l'Orchestre de Paris, l'Orchestre de l'Opéra de Paris, l'Orchestre National de Radio France, l'Orchestre de Chambre de Paris, l'Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, l'Orchestre National de Lille, and since he moved to Finland, with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, the National Opera of Finland, Lahti Symphony Orchestra, Turku Philharmonic Orchestra, Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra and Tapiola Sinfonietta. Otherwise, Thomas enjoys playing with Big Band, Brass Band (lately with Töölö Brass Band), Brass quintet and during summer time, he performs concerts with an original ensemble composed by a strings trio and a trumpet.
Ville Hiilivirta, horn
Ville Hiilivirta studied the horn with Timo Ronkainen at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki and Markus Maskuniitty at the Hochschule für Music und Theater in Hanover. He was a member of the Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra before joining the Helsinki Philharmonic as their principal horn in 2010. Hiilivirta has won the 3rd Lieksa International Horn Competition. He enjoys playing chamber music in various groups and is a member of the 60° Quintet.
Darren Acosta, trombone
Darren Acosta came to Finland in 2009 after the Assistant Principal trombone audition for the Finnish National Opera. In May of 2011 he then won the Principal solo-trombone audition for the Finnish Radio Symphony. In 2012, he performed the Howarth trombone concerto with the Tapiola Sinfonietta and subsequently played two concerti with the Radio Symphony - Schuller’s Eine Kleine Posauaunenmusik, in 2017 and Tiensuu’s Suuna, in 2019. Upon graduation from Juilliard, he played with the Empire Brass for one season, followed by two seasons with the Boston Symphony as sabbatical replacement. Up until his audition for the Finnish Opera (from 1996-2009), Acosta was a regular substitute for the Boston Symphony and Boston Pops, having recorded 11 Cds over the course of this period of time with them.
Sivan Magen, harp
Praised as a "magician" (WQXR) whose "brilliant sound and remarkable technical acumen shatter any stereotype of his instrument" (the NY Times), Sivan Magen is the only Israeli to have ever won the International Harp Contest in Israel, and a winner of the Pro Musicis International Award and the Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award. He appeared as a soloist worldwide, in venues such as Carnegie Hall, Wigmore Hall, the Sydney Opera House and the Vienna Konzerthaus, and with orchestras such as the Israel Philharmonic, the Saint-Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, the Sydney Symphony and the Vienna Chamber Orchestra. In Spring 2017 he was a visiting Professor at the Paris Conservatory, and since September 2017 he is principal harpist of the Finnish Radio Symphony.
Xavi Castelló, percussion
Xavi Castelló is the principal percussionist in the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra since 2013. He started playing percussion at the age of 8 years old in his home town and graduated in 2008 in the CSMC in Tenerife. He continued his studies with teachers like Raul Benavent, Esau Borreda, Wieland Welzel, Franz Schindlbeck or Jean Geoffroy. Winner of the third prize in the Marimba competition “Ciudad del Paso” (La Palma) in 2007 and the first prize in the IV International Percussion Competition “Perkulliria” in 2011, he has founded the percussion ensembles Tak-Nara (2006), Helsinki Percussion Group (2014) and Hakú Duo (2018).