Conductor, composer and violinist Jaakko Kuusisto enjoys an extensive career that was launched by a series of successes in international violin competitions in the 1990s. He is one of the most frequently recorded Finnish instrumentalists.
Kuusisto was concertmaster of the Lahti Symphony Orchestra during 1998 - 2012. Kuusisto performs regularly as soloist and chamber musician, and has held the position of artistic director at several festivals. Currently he is the artistic director of the Oulu Music Festival with a commitment through 2021. Kuusisto’s conducting repertoire is equally versatile and ranges from baroque to the latest new works, regardless of genre. He has worked with many leading orchestras, including Minnesota Orchestra; Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide Symphony Orchestras. Kuusisto served as principal guest conductor of the Oulu Symphony Orchestra during 2005-2009.
As opera conductor, he has worked at the Finnish National Opera, the Savonlinna Opera Festival, and at the Ilmajoki Music Festival. Kuusisto began his first season as Chief Conductor of the Kuopio Symphony Orchestra in 2018. Kuusisto’s compositions consist of nearly 40 opuses: chamber and vocal music, orchestral pieces, operas, as well as music for films. Concertos form an important part of his works; the Violin Concerto, written for Elina Vähälä, has become an international success with performances by, among others, the Minnesota, Detroit and Singapore orchestras. Kuusisto also works regularly as arranger/orchestrator in various projects. The President of Finland awarded Jaakko Kuusisto with the Pro Finlandia Medal in 2017.