Elina Vähälä

Thursday, April 21, 2016 - 7:30 pm
Mike Lazaridis Theatre of Ideas - Perimeter Institute

Since the age of 12, Finnish violin sensation Elina Vähälä has performed on many international stages, winning praise from audiences and musicians alike as "a fluent, stylish and gifted musician whose brilliant technique is matched by abundant spirit, sensitivity, and imagination" (Chicago Tribune). Perimeter is proud to host Elina’s Ontario debut.


RESPIGHI Violin sonata b-minor 
BEETHOVEN Violin sonata No. 9 


Born in the US 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 then, her career continues to expand the international stage, 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 has appeared with orchestras including Helsinki Philharmonic, Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Sinfonia Lahti, Turku Philharmonic as well as Oregon Symphony Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra and Nashville Symphony Orchestra. She has worked with conductors Leonard Slatkin, Carlos Kalmar, Jukka-Pekka Saraste, Okko Kamu, Jakob Hrusa, Thierry Fischer and Leif Sergerstam and toured throughout the UK, 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.

Season highlights for 2014/15 include performances with orchestras throughout Finland, including Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, alongside a return to North America for concerts with a variety of orchestras, notably with Leonard Slatkin and Detroit Symphony Orchestra, a return to Nashville Symphony Orchestra and a tour of the US with Festival Pablo Casals Prades Collective. Elina Vähälä will also make her debut with the Gävle Symphony Orchestra performing the Berg Violin Concerto with conductor Alexander Liebreich.

Recent highlights from Elina Vähälä’s concert schedule include performances at the Beethoven Easter Festival in Warsaw with conductor Christian Vasquez, the world premiere of Penderecki’s Concerto for Violin and Cello at the Naantali Music Festival, performances of Britten’s Violin Concerto with Orquesta Sinfonica de RTVE Madrid with Carlos Kalmar, as well as an extensive tour of South America with Sinfonia Lahti and Okko Kamu.

With a repertoire that ranges from baroque to contemporary, Elina Vähälä has given world premieres of Aulis Sallinen's Chamber Concerto and Curtis Curtis-Smith's Double Concerto, both written for her and pianist-conductor Ralf Gothóni. In addition, Vähälä gave the Nordic first performance of John Corigliano’s Violin Concerto The Red Violin and commissioned a new violin concerto from composer Jaakko Kuusisto. Both the Corgiliano and Kuusisto concertos were recorded for BIS in 2013.

Educational activities play an important role in her commitment to music; in 2009 Elina Vähälä launched the Violin Academy.  Funded by the Finnish Cultural Foundation, the academy is a master class-based educational project for select, highly talented young Finnish violinists.

As 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.