Pianist Matti Raekallio was born 1954 in Helsinki. He studied in his home country as well as with Maria Curcio in London, with Dieter Weber at the Vienna Academy of Music, and at the Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) Conservatory in Russia.
Raekallio made his American debut in 1981 at Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall. In his concerts, he has performed cycles of the complete piano Sonatas of Beethoven, Scriabin, and Prokofiev, as well as altogether 62 piano concertos. He has recorded about 20 albums, including an acclaimed set of the complete Prokofiev Sonatas.
He first taught for 30 years at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki while also temporarily working as professor in Kungliga Musikhögskolan in Stockholm and at Western Michigan University. In 2005, Raekallio became professor of the Hochschule für Musik, Theater und Medien in Hannover, Germany. Two years later, in 2007, he was invited to join the faculty at Juilliard. He has held a part-time professorship at Bard College Conservatory and also holds a part-time professorship at Oberlin College Conservatory.
His students include several first prize winners in major international competitions. He serves as an adjudicator and teaches master classes in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. Raekallio’s doctorate (Dr. Mus.) from the Sibelius Academy focused of the history of piano fingering. Subsequently, Raekallio became a member of an international research team, investigating pianists’ fingering choices from the viewpoint of cognitive psychology.
Raekallio received the Leonie Sonning Foundation Grant (Denmark) in 1980, and was recipient of the five-year artist grant from the state of Finland three times. He served for three years (1998-2000) as a member of the Finnish Academy’s Council for Research of Culture and Society. In 2009, he received an honorary doctorate from the Estonian Academy of Music.