SINCE HIS DEBUT WITH THE ROYAL STOCKOLM PHILHARMONIC IN 1981, ROLAND PÖNTINEN HAS PERFORMED WITH MAJOR ORCHESTRAS THROUGHOUT THE WORLD. HE HAS BEEN INVITED TO MANY PRESTIGIOUS FESTIVALS INCLUDING SCHLESWIG-HOLSTEIN, VERBIER AND MOSTLY MOZART FESTIVAL, N.Y. AND WORKED WITH CONDUCTORS LIKE ESA-PEKKA SALONEN, RAFAEL FRÜHBECK DE BURGOS, EVGENY SVETLANOV AND LEIF SEGERSTAM TO NAME A FEW. HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE PERFORMANCES WITH THE PHILHARMONIA ORCHESTRA IN PARIS AND LONDON, LOS ANGELES PHILHARMONIC IN THE HOLLYWOOD BOWL, WITH THE SCOTTISH CHAMBER ORCHESTRA IN GLASGOW AND EDINBURGH AS WELL AS APPEARANCES AT THE LONDON PROMS WHERE HE HAS PLAYED BOTH THE GRIEG PIANO CONCERTO AND THE LIGETI PIANO CONCERTO.
Thanks to an insatiable musical appetite and a stupendous technique he has acquired a vast repertoire ranging from Bach to Ligeti. The emphasis is on the ”golden era” in piano literature from the 19th century – through the first half of the 20th century with composers such as Debussy, Busoni, Szymanowski and Rachmaninov. Often immersed in large scale projects Pöntinen has recently performed the complete cycles of Beethoven Sonatas and Années de pèlerinage by Liszt.
Many composers, among them Sven-Erik Bäck, Veli-Matti Puumala, Anders Eliasson and Anders Hillborg, have dedicated works to him and in 2007 he gave the world premiere of Shchedrin’s Romantic Duets together with the composer at the Verbier Festival. Always in great demand as a chamber player Pöntinen has worked with artists of distinction like Barbara Hendricks, Janine Jansen, Nobuko Imai, Peter Mattei, Martin Fröst, Zvi Zeitlin, Ulf Wallin, Torleif Thedéen, Håkan Hardenberger, Arve Tellefsen, Christian Lindberg and Nicolai Gedda.
Pöntinen has given recitals in New York (The Frick Collection), London (Wigmore Hall), Bogotá, Istanbul, Stockholm and, most recently, at the Verbier Festival last summer. Recent appearances with orchestras include Rachmaninov’s Paganini Rhapsody with Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Shostakovich’s First Concerto with Orchestre de La Suisse Romande, the Schumann Concerto with Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra and in January 2017 Messiaen’s Turangalîla-Symphony with Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra under Sakari Oramo.
During last two seasons he has toured Japan, Taiwan, England, Scandinavia and Holland. In June 2017 Pöntinen recorded Bernstein’s The Age of Anxiety with the Arctic Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Christian Lindberg, adding to an extensive discography of nearly 100 recordings for a.o. BIS, c p o, Arte Nova, EMI, Philips and his own label Haddock.
Roland Pöntinen is also active as a composer and his Blue Winter was performed by the Philadelphia Orchestra under Wolfgang Sawallisch at Carnegie Hall in 1998. His latest work, L’éléphant rose for trumpet and piano, written for Håkan Hardenberger, was premiered at Wigmore Hall in 2016. He has also arranged music by Legrand, Joni Mitchell and Weill for Hardenberger and Academy of St Martin in the Fields.
Pöntinen is a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music and in 2002 he received the Litteris et Artibus – a royal medal for recognition of eminent skills in the artistic field.