Karen Gomyo, Ismo Eskelinen

Biography Karen Gomyo, Ismo Eskelinen

Karen Gomyo
Born in Tokyo and beginning her musical career in Montréal and New York, violinist Karen Gomyo has recently made Berlin her home. A musician of the highest calibre, the Chicago Tribune praised her as “…a first-rate artist of real musical command, vitality, brilliance and intensity”.

Karen’s 2019/20 season features European debuts with Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin with Cristian Macelaru, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande with Jonathan Nott, Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Saarbrücken Kaiserslautern with Pietari Inkenen, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra with Gergely Madaras and Dresdner Philharmoniker with Roderick Cox, as well as returns to Bamberg Symphoniker and Polish National Radio Symphony, among others. Other recent European appearances include Philharmonia Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre Symphonique de Radio France, WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln, Danish National Symphony, and in March 2019 Karen opened the Dubai Proms with the BBC Symphony and Ben Gernon. Further ahead Karen makes her debut at the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra with Semyon Bychkov.

Already well established in North America Karen performs regularly with the orchestras of Detroit, San Francisco, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Toronto, Montréal, Washington D.C. and Philadelphia among others. Further afield her popularity in Australasia continued over the last few seasons as she toured with New Zealand Symphony and also appeared with West Australian Symphony Orchestra in Perth, Tasmanian Symphony and in recital at the Sydney Opera House. This season sees Karen return to the Melbourne and Sydney Symphony orchestras. In Asia she makes her debuts with the Singapore Symphony, Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra and Malaysia Philharmonic.

A passionate chamber musician, Karen has enjoyed a fruitful collaboration with guitarist Ismo Eskelinen which culminates in the release of a recording of works by Paganini and his contemporaries scheduled for the end of 2019 on BIS Records.

Ismo Eskelinen
is acclaimed as one of the world’s finest classical guitarists. He has been a pioneer in bringing classical guitar for wider audience playing often as an orchestra soloist, chamber musician and in collaboration with some of the most distinguished contemporary composers. His impressive list of recordings include two Bach albums, of which the first won the Finnish Emma prize in the category of the best classical album in 2014. A concerto recording with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Hannu Lintu was released in 2018 (BIS). The latest album, ‘Songbook’, a duo recording with Jan Vogler (Sony Classical) was released in June 2019.

Eskelinen has performed at venues such as the Berlin Philharmonic, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, the Royal Festival Hall and the Théâtre de la Monnaie. He is the first guitarist to be invited as a soloist at the new Music Hall in Helsinki with both resident orchestras, The Helsinki Philharmonic and The Finnish Radio Symphony. Recent soloist engagements include the BBC Symphony Orchestra in London, NWD Philharmonie in Germany, the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra, Sinfonia Lahti and the Chamber Orchestra of Lapland with conductors such as Sakari Oramo, Hannu Lintu, Okko Kamu, John Storgårds, Olli Mustonen, Miguel Harth-Bedoya and Ernest Martínez-Izquierdo.

As an active chamber musician, Eskelinen plays duos with violinists Pekka Kuusisto and Karen Gomyo. He is a regular guest on several festivals such as Naantali and Moritzburg, and has been the first ever guitarist to be invited to many of them, including the Moritzburg, Dresden, Charlottesville, Mainz, Schaubeck and Büsingen Festivals.

Eskelinen’s repertoire spans music from the 16th century to the present day and he has been equally acclaimed for his performances of Bach as for his premieres of works written for him by composers such as Einojuhani Rautavaara, Aulis Sallinen, Jukka Tiensuu, Kalevi Aho, Olli Mustonen and Sebastian Fagerlund.

Eskelinen is the Lecturer-in-charge of Guitar at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki and the Artistic Director of the Riihimäki summer concerts and Sonkajärvi Soi festival in Finland. As the Artist in Residence at Verkatehdas, Hämeenlinna he planned a Global Guitar – concert series for seasons 2016–2017.

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