26-year-old pianist and composer Johannes Piirto has been praised by critics for his “stunning virtuosity”, “freely and brilliantly sparkling” playing, depth of interpretation and “charming humanism”.
Piirto made his orchestral debute as a 10-year-old with the Pori Sinfonietta, performing his own composition Allegro for Piano and Orchestra. In 2011, he was invited to premiere his own composition Virta (Stream) at the inauguration gala of the Musiikkitalo (Helsinki Music Centre). Several of his orchestral works, commissioned and conducted by Jukka-Pekka Saraste, have enjoyed succesful premieres with the Finnish Chamber Orchestra. Piirto is the artistic director of the Chamber Music Festival at the House of Nobility in Helsinki.
Piirto has appeared at numerous important arenas in Finland and abroad, such as the Bergen Festival, Helsinki Festival, Turku Music Festival, Wiener Konzerthaus, Wien Modern, Sibelius Festival Lahti, and Korsholm Music Festival. He has performed several times at the Gergiev Festival in Mikkeli, making his recital debut there as a 13-year-old after a succesful audition for Valery Gergiev. Johannes has performed chamber music with Lilli Paasikivi, Mika Kares, Natalia Gutman and Julian Rachlin, to name a few. He has appeared as a soloist with most orchestras in Finland, including the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra and the Finnish Chamber Orchestra, and has collaborated with such conductors as Santtu-Matias Rouvali, Fabian Gabel, Sakari Oramo, Jukka-Pekka Saraste, Dima Slobodeniouk, Okko Kamu, and Olari Elts.
Johannes Piirto has succeeded in several national and international competitions, including the International Maj Lind Piano Competition in Helsinki in 2012 (finalist and the winner of the audience vote), and the Dorothy MacKenzie Artist Recognition awards in New York in 2008. He won the Uuno Klami Composition Contest for Youth in 2007 with his orchestral piece Lumière.
Johannes has studied the piano at the Sibelius Academy with Liisa Pohjola, composition with Tapio Tuomela and conducting with Jorma Panula, and attended several masterclasses (a.o. András Schiff, Dimitri Bashkirov). At the moment he is finishing his studies at the Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Vienna with professor Stefan Vladar.