Since his debut with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic in 1981, Roland Pöntinen has performed with major orchestras throughout the world. He has been invited to many prestigious festivals including Schleswig-Holstein, Verbier and Mostly Mozart Festival, N.Y. and worked with conductors like Esa-Pekka Salonen, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Evgeny Svetlanov and Leif Segerstam to name a few. Highlights include performances with the Philharmonia Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic in the Hollywood Bowl, with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra in Glasgow and Edinburgh as well as appearances at the London Proms where he has played both the Grieg Piano Concerto and the Ligeti Piano Concerto.
Thanks to an insatiable musical appetite and a stupendous technique, he has acquired a vast repertoire ranging from Bach to Ligeti. The emphasis is on the “golden era” in piano literature from the 19th century – through the first half of the 20th century with composers such as Debussy, Busoni, Szymanowski and Rachmaninoff. Often immersed in large scale projects, Pöntinen has recently performed the complete cycles of Beethoven Sonatas and Années de Pèlerinage by Liszt.
Many composers, among them Veli-Matti Puumala, Anders Eliasson and Anders Hillborg, have dedicated works to him and in 2007 he gave the world premiere of Shchedrin’s Romantic Duets together with the composer at the Verbier Festival.
Always in great demand as a chamber player Pöntinen has worked with artists of distinction like Barbara Hendricks, Janine Jansen, Nobuko Imai, Martin Fröst, Ulf Wallin, Torleif Thedéen, Håkan Hardenberger, Christian Lindberg and Nicolai Gedda.
Pöntinen has given recitals in New York (The Frick Collection), London (Wigmore Hall), Bogotá, Istanbul, Stockholm and the Verbier Festival.
Recent appearances with orchestras include Rachmaninoff’s Paganini Rhapsody with the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Shostakovich’s First Concerto with Orchestre de La Suisse Romande, the Schumann Concerto with Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra and in January 2017 Messiaen’s Turangalîla-Symphonie with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra under Sakari Oramo. Previous seasons he has toured Japan, Taiwan, England, Scandinavia and Holland.
His latest release is a recording of Bernstein’s The Age of Anxiety with the Arctic Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Christian Lindberg, adding to an extensive discography of more than 100 recordings for BIS, CPO, Arte Nova, EMI, Philips and his own label Haddock.
Roland Pöntinen is also active as a composer and his Blue Winter was performed by the Philadelphia Orchestra under Wolfgang Sawallisch at Carnegie Hall in 1998. His latest work, L’heure bleue, was written for the trombonist Christian Lindberg.
Pöntinen is a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music and in 2002 he received the Litteris et Artibus – a royal medal for recognition of eminent skills in the artistic field. He has been juror in several international competitions, including the Busoni Competition (Bolzano), European Piano Competition (Normandy) and Maj Lind (Helsinki).