Solo Piano recital by
Aki Rissanen (Finland)
(© Teemu Kuusimurto)
Pieces from his album
La Lumière Noire (2008, Aeon / Ilma Records) *
Pieces from his album
Sturm (2015, Ilma Records) *
* Bulgarian premiere
* * *
Finnish pianist and composer Aki Rissanen was born in 1980 in Kuopio. Although originally classically trained, he has always had a heart for improvisation and jazz. His studies include classical piano at the Kuopio Conservatory, jazz music and education at the Helsinki Polytechnic School Stadia, jazz and improvised music at the Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique in Paris, private lessons in New York and Cologne as well as jazz piano and composition at the Sibelius Academy Jazz Department in Finland, where he received his master’s degree. His teachers include Jarmo Savolainen, Jukkis Uotila, Kirmo Lintinen, John Taylor, Jim Beard, Anders Jormin, Hervé Sellin, Markku Hyvärinen, Jouni Kuronen, Seppo Kantonen, Frank Carlberg, Pessi Levanto and Mikael Jakobsson.
Rissanen has made several extended stays in Paris, Berlin and New York and is currently based in Helsinki.
He has released five albums under his own name in USA, France and Finland and has recorded with such names as Dave Liebman, Rick Margitza, Tim Hagans, Magnus Broo, Jim Beard, Robin Verheyen and Verneri Pohjola. He has shared the stage with UMO Jazz Orchestra, Dave Liebman, Rick Margitza, Randy Brecker, Mats Gustafsson, Sten Sandell, Ingrid Jensen, Michael Gibbs, Barry Guy, Daniel Humair, Bill Watrous, Jukka Perko, Jukkis Uotila, Eero Koivistoinen and Ulf Krokfors among others.
Rissanen is the leader of Aki Rissanen Trio with Antti Lötjönen (bass) and Teppo Mäkynen (drums) and a side project of this trio, entitled Amorandom featuring Petri Ruikka on visuals. He co-leads the trio Aleatoric with Robin Verheyen (sax) and Markku Ounaskari (drums), the duo with Verheyen, the quartets featuring sax greats Dave Liebman and Rick Margitza, the Frozen Gainsbourg quintet with Mikko Innanen (sax), featuring Emil Strandberg (trumpet), Per Zanussi (bass) and Stefan Pasborg (drums) from Sweden, Norway and Denmark respectively.
With trumpeter Verneri Pohjola, Rissanen has worked over 10 years and is a member of his quartet, which has released two albums for the prestigious ACT Records in Germany. The duo with Pohjola has seen many concerts too. Newer groups include Esa Pietilä’s Liberty Ship, Mikko Hassinen’s Electro GT, Jori Huhtala’s 5 and Pope Puolitaival’s United.
German-born composer Sid Hille wrote a piano concerto Motion for Rissanen in 2012 and the premiere was in the Laulumiehet Concert Hall in Helsinki in October of the same year. Rissanen has participated in Jukka Perko’s orchestral productions Bird Lives! and Perko Plays Simon and Garfunkel. He has also played in an orchestral work by Heikki Sarmanto.
Rissanen has been distinguished with both national and international prizes, and has performed in most European countries, the USA, China and North Africa. He has taught jazz music in the Sibelius Academy, Helsinki, the Helsinki Polytechnic School Stadia, in several summer camps and has given private lessons. He has received one-year artist grants from the Finnish Cultural Foundation in 2009 and 2012 respectively.
(© Chris-Tomas Konieczny)