Iiro Rantala, The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen & Jonathan Bloxham


Biography Iiro Rantala, The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen & Jonathan Bloxham



Iiro Rantala
(b. 1970) started his piano and music studies at the Music School of Käpylä and in the Cantores Minores Choir at the age of 7. In 1983 Rantala was accepted to the Pop & Jazz Conservatory of Oulunkylä where he studied under Seppo Kantonen and composed his first songs for Ikivirheät-group where played also drummer Sami Kuoppamäki and saxophonist Manuel Dunkel. Rantala was also a member of Upi Sorvali's (1952-1989) Big Bad Family before the death of the drummer-leader.

In 1988 Rantala started his studies at the jazz department of the Sibelius Academy and already the same year he formed Trio Töykät with Eerik Siikasaari and Rami Eskelinen. Trio developed an original concept where Rantala's compositions were backed up with the skills and arrangements of the trio and the repertoire included more humor than Finnish jazzbands usually had in their music in the 1980s. Already on the year the group was formed Trio Töykeät won the Hoeilaart European Jazzband Contest in Belgium. The group played their first Finnish Jazz Federation tour in 1989 and the debut album Päivää! (Sonet) was released the next year.

In 1990-1993 Rantala and Eskelinen studied both in New York at the Manhattan School of Music but Rantala was disappointed in the jazz education of the school and took classical piano studies instead. When Rantala and Eskelinen returned to Finland, Trio Töykeät performed actively around the world, for example in Cuba, Mexico, Europe, Australia and Asia. Trio released high-quality albums regularly and Jazzlantis released in 1995 won the Jazz Emma Prize as the Jazz Recording of the Year in 1995. In the same year, and the year after that, first Siikasaari and then Rantala were awarded with the Georgie, Yrjö, Award as the Jazzmusician of the Year. Trio Töykeät was also honoured to be the first jazzband ever to play at the Presidential Independence Day Reception in 1996.

In the beginning of the 21st century Trio Töykeät released several high-quality albums and performed still actively abroad and in Finland. In 2008 Trio Töykeät however announced, after over 2000 gigs, 43 countries and seven albums, that they are breaking up. There was not any drama involved in the decision to quit: the group just felt that it had come to the end of it's journey. All in all Trio Töykeät was one of the most famous Finnish jazzbands in the 1990's, probably even the most popular.

Besides Trio Töykeät, Rantala has been composing music for different occasions. Only as a soloist for an orchestra he has performed several times but he has also composed lots of classical music and music for films, theatre plays and musicals. Rantala has hosted his own tv-shows Iirottelua and Iiro irti! on the channel TV1 and he is the artistic leader and the producer of the Kansi auki! Piano Jazz Festival organized annually in Helsinki in November. The most recent groups for Rantala have been Iiro Rantala New Trio with guitarist Marzi Nyman and beatboxer Felix Zenger that performed in 2006-2010 and My History of Jazz -project that was dedicated for the past idols of Rantala.

The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen
is one of the world’s leading orchestras, captivating audiences everywhere with its unique style of music-making. The Estonian conductor Paavo Järvi has been the orchestra’s Artistic Director since 2004. Paavo Järvi and The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen have achieved tremendous international success with their Beethoven Project and the Schumann Project, including tours throughout the world, CD and DVD recordings.

Jonathan Bloxham
is established as one of the leading British conductors of his generation. He was Assistant Conductor of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra from 2016-2018 and is Artistic Director of Northern Chords Festival. He conducted a wide range of repertoire with the CBSO ranging from Mozart and Beethoven to Elgar, Tchaikovsky and Debussy. He closed the CBSO season in June 2017 in Symphony Hall with a programme of Smetana, Schumann and Dvorak.

Guest engagements since 2017 have included the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra, RTE Concert Orchestra, Aurora, Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, Hong Kong City Chamber Orchestra, the Basque National Orchestra, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Sinfonia Cymru (broadcast on BBC Radio 3).

He returned to DKAM Bremen in January 2019 for a recording project and in March for concerts in Bremen and the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg.

In summer 2019 he will work as Assistant Conductor in Glyndebourne on Rusalka and other future engagements include a return to the CBSO, DKAM Bremen, concerts with the China National PO in Beijing, the Shanghai SO and the Guangzhou SO, the Tapiola Sinfonietta, The London Mozart Players, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Pärnu City Orchestra and the Cambridge University Chamber Orchestra.

Originally an acclaimed cellist, Jonathan is the recipient of several prestigious awards such as the Guilhermina Suggia Gift and Royal College of Music Cello Prize and in 2012 gave his concerto debut at the Berlin Philharmonie. He was a founding member of the Busch Trio until 2015 and performed regularly at the Wigmore Hall, Kings Place and the Southbank Centre and was a frequent guest on BBC Radio 3. Further chamber music collaborations included projects with renowned musicians such as Michael Collins, Jack Liebeck and the Schumann Quartet.

Passionate about contemporary music, Jonathan has commissioned several new works by young composers such as Vlad Maistorovici, Jack Sheen and Freya Waley Cohen. He has conducted the CBSO in a performance of Nitin Sawhney’s Animal Symphony which was broadcast on Sky Arts, and in May 2017 he conducted the premiere of Matthew Kaner’s Stranded for solo violin and chamber orchestra with violinist Benjamin Baker at the Europe Day Concert at St. John’s Smith Square, London.

Jonathan started his musical training at the age of 8 with a local cello teacher at his primary school in Gateshead. He then studied at the Yehudi Menuhin School & Royal College of Music with Thomas Carroll before completing a Master’s Degree at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama with Louise Hopkins. Jonathan has taken further conducting studies with Sian Edwards, Michael Seal, Nicolas Pasquet and Paavo Järvi.

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