Anssi Karttunen is a passionate advocate of contemporary music and his collaboration with composers has led him to give over 160 world premieres of works by composers as diverse as Magnus Lindberg, Kaija Saariaho, Rolf Wallin, Luca Francesconi and Tan Dun.
28 works for cello and orchestra have been written for him: Tan Dun's Cello Concerto "Yi1", Magnus Lindberg's 2 Cello Concertos, Esa-Pekka Salonen's Concerto "Mania". Martin Matalon's Cello Concerto and Luca Francesconi's Cello Concerto "Rest"or Gualtiero Dazzi's opera "Le Luthier de Venice". Kaija Saariaho's Concerto "Notes on Light" was a Boston Symphony Orchestra commission for Anssi Karttunen. The most recent Concerto written for Karttunen is by Jukka Tiensuu, whose "Oire" he premiered in Tampere Finland in November 2014. The Los Angeles Philharmonic has commissioned a Concerto from Oliver Knussen for 2018.
Anssi Karttunen performs all the standard cello works and has also discovered many forgotten masterpieces and transcribed numerous pieces for cello, or chamber ensembles. His transcriptions include Brahms's Piano Quintet for String Quintet and Händel-Variations op. 24 for String Trio, Schumann's Cello Concerto for Cello and String Orchestra and Album for the Young for String Trio.
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