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Elina Vähälä

Elina Vähälä, violin
Born in the United States 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 that time, her career has continued to expand on international stages, 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).
Elina Vähälä's 2019-2020 season includes performances with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, Eugene Symphony, and returning to Minnesota Orchestra, Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra and Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra. She will also appear at the Seoul International Festival, New Ross Piano Festival, Clandeboye Festival and Beethoven Easter Festival in Poland.
Highlights of the last seasons include debuts with the Orchestre National de Lyon, Polish National Radio Symphony, Singapore Symphony, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Swedish Radio Orchestra, Qingdao Symphony, RTÉ National Symphony, Gävle Symphony, Shenzhen Symphony and performances with the Finnish Radio Symphony, Lahti Symphony, Helsinki Philharmonic, Niederrheinische Symphony, Norrlandsoperan Symphony, Detroit Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic and Colorado Symphony. Other highlights were return visits to Colorado Springs Orchestra, the Bogota Philharmonic, the Norrlansoperan, Niederrheinische Symphony and a concerto appearance as part of Penderecki birthday celebrations in Warsaw.
Vähälä has performed concerts throughout Finland with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra; with the Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra; a tour with Lahti Symphony Orchestra, giving concerts in Vienna and Salzburg; and a return to North America performing with the Buffalo Philharmonic and Colorado Symphony orchestras. She also made her debut with the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra in Japan and with the Strasbourg Philharmonic Orchestra, performing the Corigliano violin concerto, The Red Violin, with conductor Jeffrey Tate. She additionally performed with the Detroit Symphony, a tour of the United States with the Festival Pablo Casals Prades Collective, a debut with the Gävle Symphony Orchestra of Sweden, and a week of concerts as part of the Clandeboye Music Festival in Belfast, performing with Barry Douglas. She has worked with conductors Leonard Slatkin, Carlos Kalmar, Jukka-Pekka Saraste, Okko Kamu, Jakob Hrusa, Thierry Fischer and Leif Sergerstam, and has toured throughout the United Kingdom, Finland, Germany, China, Korea and South America. In 2008, she was chosen to perform at the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony, which was televised to a worldwide audience.
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. In addition, Vähälä gave the Nordic premiere of John Corigliano’s The Red Violin, and commissioned Jaakko Kuusisto’s violin concerto. She has recorded both the Corgiliano and Kuusisto concertos for the BIS label. 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.
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 and Alisa Weilerstein.

Banner photo by Susan and Neil Silverman Photography
Photo of Elina Vähälä by Alina Simonen

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