Prof. Sirkka-liisa Kaakinen-Pilch

Sibelius Academy, Helsinki

Sirkka-Liisa Kaakinen-Pilch is an exceptionally versatile violinist. She plays music from all ages, but her focus is mostly on the repertoire of 1600-1800s. She also plays viola and viola d’amore and acts as a concertmaster and a leader. 

Sirkka-Liisa Kaakinen-Pilch has worked, among others, in these ensembles: Avanti!, Finnish Baroque Orchestra, Helsinki Baroque Orchestra, Battalia, 18th Century Orchestra (Frans Brüggen), La Petite Bande (Sigiswald Kuijken), Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra (Ton Koopman), Concerto Copenhagen (Lars-Ulrik Mortensen) Orchestre des Champs Elysees (Philippe Herreweghe). She has also been acting as a leader of Collegium Vocale (Philippe Herreweghe) for over ten years.

Today, she is working as a leader for orchestras of early music all over in Europe and is also conducting various philharmonic orchestras, with whom she performs repertoire mostly from baroque and classical eras. Her solo repertoire includes Biber’s 16 Mystery Sonatas, J.S.Bach’s works for violin solo, and a large amount of repertoire for solo violin from 16th and 17th centuries. 

Sirkka-Liisa Kaakinen-Pilch has served as Professor of Chamber Music in Stavanger, Norway, as well as a Professor of Early Music at the Royal Conservatory of Denmark and the Bremen Art Academy. At present Sirkka-Liisa Kaakinen-Pilch is working as Visiting Professor of Early Music at the Kraków Music Academy and a lecturer of violin at Tampere University of Applied Sciences. For 2020-2021 she is also serving as an international visitor at the Department of Early Music at Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, where she also currently works as senior lecturer of violin. She has also been working at the European Union Baroque Orchestra and teaches on numerous master classes.

Sirkka-Liisa Kaakinen-Pilch’s discoraphy includes J. S. Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin, H.I.F.Biber’s Mystery Sonatas with Battalia-ensemble and Ch. Graupner’s orchestral series as conductor of the Finnish Baroque Orchestra playing viola d’amore. In 2014, she released an album of Ch. Graupner’s triosonates (viola d’amore). Sirkka-Liisa Kaakinen-Pilch and Tuija Hakkila have recorded together the Sonatas by Thomas Byström. One of her most recent releases includes Christoph Graupner’s Epiphany Cantatas, where Sirkka-Liisa Kaakinen-Pilch is leading the Kircheimer Bach Consort playing violin and viola d’amore (December 2017). In April 2018, a record with the Ondine record label Johannes Brahms’ Violin Sonatas was released, with Tuija Hakkila and Sirkka-Liisa Kaakinen-Pilch playing on period instruments. 

Susie Mészáros – Viola – The Pleyel Ensemble

Prof. Susie Mészáros

Royal College of Music, London; Royal Northern Music College, Manchester

Born in England, violist Susie Mészáros studied at the Yehudi Menuhin School. After her studies she was appointed Principal Viola with the Camerata Salzburg and was a regular chamber music partner of her teacher, the great Hungarian violinist Sándor Végh. She made her Wigmore Hall debut as a duo with Yehudi Menuhin in 1977 and performed with Vladimir Spivakov and Arthur Grumiaux. At 17 she won the Gold Medal at the Royal Over-Seas League competition and was a string finalist in the BBC Young Musician of the Year and played with many leading chamber ensembles including the Nash Ensemble.

Susie was leader of the Fitzwilliam Quartet, the Katin Piano Trio, Prometheus Ensemble and concert master of Kent Opera Orchestra, and regularly performed recitals on Radio 3 on both violin and viola. Susie has appeared as soloist with the BBC Symphony, BBC Concert and BBC Welsh orchestras. Susie has performed as guest principal with the Philharmonia Orchestra, Britten Sinfonia, London Mozart Players and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe and has been invited to sit on juries including the Trondheim and Bordeaux International Quartet competitions, the Royal Overseas League competition and the ‘Help Musicians’ awards.

A sought after teacher, Susie taught at the Yehudi Menuhin and Purcell Schools and currently teaches at the Royal Northern College of Music and Royal College of Music teaching viola, violin and chamber music.

Aet Ratassepp

Finnish National Opera Orchestra

Aet Ratassepp studied in Tallinn with Ivi Tivik and Mari Tampere, as well as in Moscow Conservatory with Igor Bezrodny. In 1991 she took part in the summer course of Boston Symphony Orchestra in Tanglewood (USA), where she was taught by Louis Crasner. In 1997-2001 she continued her studies with Mi-kyung Lee and Ralf Gothóni in Sibelius Academy, Helsinki. During 2002-2004 she taught in Estonian Academy of Music, later as a private teacher. She has worked in Turku Philharmonic Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Nieuw Sinfonietta Amsterdam, Estonian Festival Orchestra and since 1991, Finnish National Opera orchestra. Aet Ratassepp is the price winner of numerous national and international competitions. She has performed as a soloist with Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, Turku PO, and as a chamber musician in Estonia, Finland, Russia and USA. In 1999-2018 she organized Hiiumaa Chamber Music Days together with Mart Ernesaks.

Kaido Välja

1st Principal of Estonian National Symphony Orchestra/ Tallinn Music High School

Kaido Välja has been a violin teacher in Tallinn Music High School from 1992 until today (in 2018 he received a master-teacher title, level 8). Besides teaching, Kaido has played in Estonia’s leading orchestras and is an active chamber musician. From 1993 to 2009 he worked in Tallinn Chamber Orchestra, from 1996 as a 2nd violin principal.  From 2010 until today he is 2nd violin principal in Estonian National Symphony Orchestra (ENSO). He has performed in many European countries, as well as in Japan, Russia and USA. Kaido has played in different baroque music ensembles and orchestras. He has also performed as soloist in front of ENSO in baroque music programs. From 2014 he is the president of Estonian String Teachers Association. Kaido has organized a summer course in Värska for young string players and this summer 2019 it will take place for the 22nd time. He has also given mentoring lecture-workshops for string teachers in Estonia. As a teacher Kaido has given masterclasses in Estonia and abroad – last year in Birštonas, 7th Birštonas Summer Academy  (LIETUVOS MUZIKŲ SĄJUNGA).