Ilkka Lehtonen

Ilkka Lehtonen

Instrument group
I violin

I was just starting school when the “Viuluviikarit musiikkimaassa” kids violin show was being shown on TV. My classmates didn’t care so much about it, but it made an impact on me. I really wanted a violin, and I got one too. My parents also understood to send me to music school, but I have always played music of my own free will.

I have always striven to be a versatile musician. At the age of 14, I joined the Vivo Symphony Orchestra for young people, with which I was able to play major works and practice monthly in Helsinki. It was a big deal for a boy from Pori, and it kept me motivated through middle school and high school. I nevertheless decided to begin my studies at the University of Helsinki majoring in computer science. Then at the Sibelius Academy, I initially focused on music education, until I switched to the class of violinist Jaakko Ilves. I joined the European Union Youth Orchestra in 1995, right after Finland joined the EU. I completed my studies at the Royal Academy of Music in London under Eric Gruenberg.

In London, I immersed myself in the life of a professional musician, always playing a gig or on the way to a gig, and always with a different orchestra. I have been playing with the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra since 2000, but I also play with the Avanti! Chamber Orchestra, the Finnish Chamber Orchestra and the Vantaa Orchestra. I have also switched from the Mahler Chamber Orchestra to Duo Leppäkerttu, which I formed together with my daughter Aliisa.

The Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra has a good balance of young and experienced musicians. This balance has been successfully maintained even as the orchestra has renewed itself and internationalised. I find that I increasingly like new music, which especially nowadays is really colourful and adventurous. Our orchestra often gets to play the real gems of our time. It might sound boring to say it out loud, but I’m sure I’ll never get tired of playing Brahms’ symphonies. There is always something new in them.

Jaani Länsiö