Chief Guest String Quartet Meta4
Meta4, formed in 2001, is one of the most internationally successful Finnish string quartets. In 2004 it won the first prize in the International Shostakovich Quartet Competition in Moscow and was also awarded a special prize for best Shostakovich interpretation. The quartet enjoyed continued success in 2007, when it won the first prize in the International Joseph Haydn Chamber Music Competition in Vienna. Later that year the Finnish Minister of Culture awarded Meta4 with the annual Finland Prize in recognition of an international breakthrough. Meta4 was selected as a BBC New Generation Artist for 2008–2010 and in 2013 Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation awarded the quartet with a special prize in recognition of its work.
Meta4 performs regularly in key music capitals and concert halls around the world including Wiener Konzerthaus, Wigmore Hall and King’s Place in London, Auditorio Nacional in Madrid, Cité de la Musique in Paris and Stockholms Konserthus, and has also toured in Australia. Furthermore, Meta4 served as the Artistic Director of Oulunsalo Music Festival between 2008 and 2011 and was the quartet-in-residence at the Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival from 2008-2017.
The quartet has studied in the European Chamber Music Academy (ECMA) under Hatto Beyerle and Johannes Meissl. They have released three recordings on Hänssler Classics: Haydn’s String Quartets op. 55 1–3 (2009), which was awarded the esteemed Echo Klassik Award in 2010; Shostakovich’s String Quartets 3, 4 & 7 (2012), which received the 2012 Record of the Year award from the Finnish Broadcasting Company YLE as well as the Emma prize (the Finnish Grammy) in the category of the Classical Album of the Year, as well as Bartók’s String Quartets 1 & 5, released in 2014. The quartet has also released an album of Kaija Saariaho’s chamber music works (Ondine, 2013) and an LP of Sibelius’s String Quartet ‘Voces Intimae’ (Berliner Meister Schallplatten, 2013). An album with Brahms Clarinet Quintet and Gérard Pesson’s Nebenstück together with Reto Bieri, was released via ECM Records in 2019. The most recent albums of the quartet were breleased via Bis Records: their recording of octets by Mendelssohn and Enescu with the Gringolts Quartet was released in 2020 and fall 2021 saw the release of Oceano, Chamber Music by Sebastian Fagerlund.
The members of Meta4 play distinguished instruments, which include a Stradivarius, kindly on loan from the Finnish Cultural Foundation, a Carlo Bergonzi violin, kindly on loan from Signe and Ane Gyllenberg's Foundation and a cello made by Lorenzo Storioni in Cremona in 1780.
Violinist Minna Pensola is known as an intense performer, invigorating soloist and energetic orchestra leader. As an inspiring fellow musician and teacher she is a regular guest at many international chamber music festivals.
Pensola is a versatile player in the music field and has established regular club evenings combining a casual bar night and classical live music in her hometown Helsinki, as well as PuKamaChamber concert series, which she runs together with her spouse, violinist Antti Tikkanen.
Active and close relationship with Finnish composers have produced many works dedicated to her. The upcoming seasons will bring premieres of a chamber work by Lotta Wennäkoski and double concertos by Iiro Rantala (with Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen & Iiro Rantala, piano) and Jukka Tiensuu (with Tapiola Sinfonietta & soprano Anu Komsi).
Minna Pensola is the co-artistic director of Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival since 2021. During the seasons 2019-2024 she is the artistic partner of the Joensuu City Orchestra. Pensola was the artistic director of Sysmä Summer Sounds from 2006 to 2012 and a member of the curating group for the Helsinki Festival’s Wonderfeel-weekend in 2020-2021.
Pensola is a member of the award winning string quartet Meta4, teaches chamber music at the European Chamber Music Academy (ECMA) and violin at the Sibelius Academy.
Her own studies started at the Helsinki Conservatory, continued at the Sibelius Academy and finally finished at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater Zürich and the European Chamber Music Academy (ECMA). Important guides on that journey include Leonid Mordkovich, Kaija Saarikettu, Ralf Gothoni, Ana Chumachenko, Josef Rissin, Hatto Beyerle, Johannes Meissl as well as countless inspiring colleagues along the way.
Minna Pensola's instrument is a Carlo Bergonzi violin from 1732, owned by the Signe and Ane Gyllenberg Foundation.
Offstage the swinging up-tempo is maintained by two daughters, two cats and a hamster.
Antti Tikkanen is a versatile musician whose dynamic career spans solo, chamber as well as baroque performance. The wide range of repertoire from early baroque to contemporary music reflect the scope of his talent.
Antti was born in Oulainen, Finland and began to study the violin at the age of seven. His first teacher at the Jokilaakso Music Institute was Tomasz Orzech. From there on he studied in the Kuhmo Violin School with Professor Zinaida Gilels, at the Sibelius Academy with Lajos Garam, Mi-Kyung Lee and Kreeta-Maria Kentala and for a short period he also studied in the Lyon CNSM with Pavel Vernikov.
Antti Tikkanen has performed with numerous Finnish orchestras, including the Finnish Radio Symphony, Tapiola Sinfonietta and the Helsinki Philharmonic.
Tikkanen has performed extensively around the world’s music festivals as a chamber musician, soloist or a member of an ensemble. Antti is also a member of the internationally well-known Finnish String Quartet Meta4.
Antti Tikkanen plays a Stradivarius violin ”ex Berglund” kindly on loan from the Finnish Cultural Foundation.
Atte Kilpeläinen's music studies culminated in degrees from Cologne University of Music and Sibelius Academy.
Since 2005 he has held the position of principal viola in the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra. As a guest leader he has worked in orchestras like Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Stockholm and Gewandhausorchester Leipzig.
As a soloist he has performed with Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Tapiola Sinfonietta, Cologne Chamber Orchestra and City Orchestras of Kuopio and Oulu.
He has been a member of Meta4 string quartet since 2006. In 2007 Meta4 won 1st prize in International Joseph Haydn Competition in Vienna. Their three recordings for Hänssler Classics (Haydn op. 55, Shostakovich 3,4,7 and Bartok 1,5) have earned critical acclaim. Meta4 has also recorded music by Kaija Saariaho for Ondine and music by Jean Sibelius for Berliner Meisterschallplatten.
Since 2012 Atte Kilpeläinen has been a part of faculty in Sibelius Academy. He has also given master classes at Finnish summer festivals.
Tomas Djupsjöbacka started his musical training at the age of three in the Western Helsinki Music Institute. In 1997 he enrolled in the Sibelius Academy where he studied with Prof. Martti Rousi, Marko Ylönen, and Ralf Gothóni (chamber music). He also spent two years in Conservatoire de Lausanne studying with Patrick Demenga and received his Soloist Diploma with honors of the jury in 2003.
Since winning the second prize in the National Cello Competition held in Turku in 1998, Tomas Djupsjöbacka has performed as a soloist with orchestras in Finland as well as abroad. As a chamber musician Djupsjöbacka has performed at most of the Finnish music festivals.
Djupsjöbacka is a member of the string quartet Meta4, which has won international competitions in Moscow and Vienna and performs regularly in Europe and elsewhere. The ensemble is a quartet-in-residence at the Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival since 2009, was the artistic director of the Oulunsalo Music Festival 2008-2011 as well as the BBC Young Generation Artist in 2008-2010. Meta4 has released three albums with music by Haydn, Shostakovich and Kaija Saariaho, two of which have received international acclaim (e.g. Echo Prize 2010).
Djupsjöbacka is also a member of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe. He is currently studing conducting at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, where he also teaches chamber music. Djupjsöbacka’s instrument is a rare Lorenzo Storioni cello made in 1780 in Cremona.