Rantala7_2015_4c_by_ACT-GregorHohenberg

Iiro Rantala is a thoroughly 21st century musician who, without intent or design, has left the categories and labels of the 20th century behind him in the pursuit of the music that speaks to him most deeply, and now speaks to audiences worldwide. His musical life began in earnest in his native Helsinki’s Cantores Minores boys choir, singing the music of J.S. Bach. He went on to study in the Oulunkylän Pop and Jazz Conservatory, the jazz department of the Sibelius Academy, and the Manhattan School of Music in New York.

 

His career has traversed the realms of classical music and jazz, the tasks of performer and composer, the roles of TV program host and concert organizer. To each endeavor he brings the same aesthetic and spirit, and finds his way to equally stunning results.

 

After eighteen years and more than 2,000 concerts with the innovative Trio Töykeät, Rantala struck out on a solo career in 2011 with style. His album Lost Heroes simultaneously and unprecedentedly won two of Europe’s most prestigious awards – Germany’s equivalent of the Grammy, the Deutche Phono- Akamemie’s ECHO award for pianist of the year, and the Preis der Deutschen Schallplatten Kritik (German record critic’s award). He followed it with My History of Jazz (2012), an album with both solo and trio performances whose release has also been met with critical acclaim.

 

In addition to performing solo, Rantala has formed a new trio with violinist Adam Baldych and cellist Asja Valcic. This past June, he co-hosted a thirteen hour program named Midsummer Train, a live TV broadcast from a Helsinki to Rovaniemi train, including solo piano performances and interviews throughout the journey. His TV series named Iiro Irti will begin its third season next year on the Finnish TEEMA channel. His jazz piano festival – Kansi Auki – will have its third edition in November in Helsinki, and feature some the world’s finest pianists in solo performances and in duo with Rantala. The upcoming edition includes Italy’s Stefano Bollani, America’s Craig Taborn, and Sweden’s Bobo Stenson. And his Christmas Oratorium for the Cantores Minores boy’s choir, orchestra and soloists brings him full circle with its recording in May 2013 and in performance for the following Christmas.