Folke Gräsbeck

Folke Gräsbeck studied the piano under Tarmo Huovinen at the Turku Conservatory and won first prize as 17 years old in the Maj Lind Competition in 1973, playing Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in the final round. He made numerous study visits to London, where he was taught privately by Maria Curcio-Diamand, a pupil of Arthur Schnabel.

Folke has been a senior teacher accompanist at the Sibelius Academy since 1985, and became a Master of Music there in 1997. He held his doctoral disputation in 2008 over the thesis ‘The Piano in Sibelius’s Youth Production’. He has given performances as a recitalist, chamber player and Lied accompanist in many European countries, USA, Japan, Israel, Egypt, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mexico.

Folke has performed more than thirty piano concertos as a soloist together with the conductors Mariss Jansons, Okko Kamu, Osmo Vänskä, Jukka-Pekka Saraste, Hannu Lintu, Robert Canetti, Paolo Ferrara, Ingo Reihl, Petri Sakari, Timur Mynbajev, Vitaly Katayeff, Ari Rasilainen, Sauli Huhtala, Miklos Erdelyi, Saulius Sondeckis, Vytautas Lukočius, etc. (See the repertoir of the Performed piano concertos).

In Finland he has performed with almost all professional symphony orchestras, including the Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Lahti Sinfonia and the Turku Philharmonic Orchestra. Abroad Folke has performed as a soloist with orchestra in Sweden, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Italy, USA, Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Lithuania, Israel, Austria, Slovakia.

Folke has performed more than 400 of Sibelius’s c. 600 compositions, and he is one of the main performers of the SIBELIUS EDITION, a collection of 68 CDs released during 2007–2011 by BIS Records. Among his 24 CD-discs in this series he plays Sibelius’s complete piano solo works on 10 CDs, which were commented in the paper Fanfare (US): ‘Sibelius’s output for solo piano will likely never again be recorded as comprehensively or as well.’ In addition 52 songs, the piano quintet, the piano quartets, piano trios and repertoir for violin or cello and piano, as well as many works and original transcriptions by Sibelius for choir and piano. These 24 CDs were made during an intense period of recordings during 1996–2010.

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