Juho Pohjonen

CMS2 Artist 2009-2012, The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center

One of the brightest young instrumental talents to emerge from Finland today, Juho Pohjonen has attracted great attention as one of the Nordic country’s most intriguing and talented pianists. Juho Pohjonen has performed with the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra under Olari Elts and Iceland Symphony Orchestra under François-Xavier Roth, as well as the Philharmonia Orchestra under Nicholas Collon, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra under James MacMillan and Atlanta Symphony Orchestra under Robert Spano. 2014 will see Juho make his debut at Ravinia Festival in Chicago, Chopin Festival in Mallorca, and with Bamberger Symphoniker and Tonhalle Orchester Zurich.

Juho Pohjonen North American tour

21 Jan 2016

Pianist Juho Pohjonen starts a series of recitals and chamber concerts across the US. The tour kicks off on 21 January at the St. Cecilia Music Center in Grand Rapids with the further performances...

Pianist Juho Pohjonen teams up with Buffalo Philharmonic for two evenings celebrating Finnish music’

01 Oct 2015

Juho performs with Buffalo Philharmonic under the baton of their Music Director JoAnn Falletta this weekend, celebrating the works of two leading Finnish composers, Grieg and Sibelius. Juho will...

Pianist Juho Pohjonen brings “goosebumps and smiles” to audiences in the US

13 Aug 2015

Juho has returned from a summer of chamber music in the USA, performing with fellow world-class musicians, Paul Huang, Jakob Koranyi, Erin Keefe and Timothy Cobb to name a few. Juho wowed...

Pohjonen in California

10 Apr 2013

Juho Pohjonen makes his first appearance in San Diego performing in recital for the La Jolla Music...

Juho Pohjonen in the UK & US

18 Feb 2013

February sees Juho Pohjonen make a welcome return to the UK. He will first appear in recital at Nottingham’s Royal Concert Hall on 24...

Juho Pohjonen returns to Atlanta Symphony

10 Jan 2013

This week Juho Pohjonen re-unites with Music Director Robert Spano for his return to the...

Juho Pohjonen debuts with Iceland Symphony Orchestra

13 Nov 2012

Performing Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 24 in C minor, K. 491, Juho will join conductor François-Xavier Roth to make his debut appearance with the...

Pohjonen, Salonen, Philharmonia

27 Sep 2012

Juho Pohjonen returns to the Philharmonia Orchestra under Esa-Pekka Salonen to play Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 1.

Part of the Philharmonia's "...

Juho Pohjonen debuts with Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra

05 Sep 2012

No stranger to the Helsinki Music Centre, Juho Pohjonen returns this week to make his debut with the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra performing...

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“Juho Pohjonen [...] played this kaleidoscopic music fairly straight, adding little extra to Bartok’s sardonic edge.”

New York Times - Jan 2016

“The concerto was masterfully handled by young soloist Juho Pohjonen from Finland who was simply outstanding. This very humble young man just dazzled with his incredible talent and thoughtful interpretation of such a beautiful concerto.”

Bournemouth Echo - Dec 2015

“The slight young Finnish pianist Juho Pohjonen gave a colourful, clear and entirely winning performance of this lyrical and accessible score [Grieg's Piano Concerto] which was received with huge enthusiasm [...].”

The Fine Times Recorder - Dec 2015

“The programme included Grieg’s Piano Concerto, with a fast-rising Finnish star, Juho Pohjonen, as the delightfully unassuming but bewitching soloist.”

The Guardian - Dec 2015

“...confidence never wavered. This is how you have to play a big, wide Romantic concerto like this. At the same time, though, he played with melting expression... The magic continued. In the Adagio, the cellos and violins were rich and warm, and the pianist delineated the lines with sweetness and care.”

The Buffalo News - Oct 2015

“Pohjonen was superb. Besides a light, facile touch, he played with a clarity, consistency and precision that brought goosebumps and smiles. His fast octave studies in the finale were remarkable.”

The Daily Gazette, Sarasota - Aug 2015

“The lineup offered a welcome chance to hear the pianist Juho Pohjonen, who demonstrated his elegant musicianship throughout the program. […] Mr. Pohjonen’s pearly touch, singing tone and sensitivity also enhanced Beethoven’s Trio in E-flat, given an impeccably elegant interpretation beginning with the introspective opening — rendered with a quiet, simmering tension.”

New York Times - Jul 2015

“ The ensemble performed admirably with its nuanced expressivity and dynamic breadth. In the Busch concert, they were all excellent, above all young Finnish pianist Juho Pohjonen. In addition to technical precision, Pohjonen also displayed lyrical sensitivity; in terms of accuracy and power, he even topped this in the Fifth Brandenburg Concerto, where his communication with the chamber orchestra was outstanding.”

Basler Zeitung - Aug 2013

“Juho Pohjonen played the fiendishly difficult piano part brilliantly, conquering its technical challenges and highlighting myriad colors, as well as contrasting the exuberant elements with moments of introspective clarity. [Of Messiaen’s Des Canyons aux Étoiles]”

New York Times - Mar 2013

“[The audience was] certainly astounded–as I was–by the young Finnish pianist Juho Pohjonen. His two solo cadenzas [in Messiaen’s Des canyons aux étoiles...] with their crashing chords, their misdirected silences, their percussive splashing up and down the keyboard, frequently bringing a birdsong from the tones, were brilliant intermezzi from the orchestral playing.”

Concertonet.com - Mar 2013

“Pohjonen has both impeccable technique and a cleareyed approach to music... Complete confidence, a superb performance.”

The Washington Post - Mar 2013

“Finnish pianist Juho Pohjonen already has an impressive CV behind him, creating expectations that were more than borne out on this occasion. At the centre of his programme was a enthralling performance of Schumann’s Fantasy in C, demonstrating a remarkable knack of both highlighting and integrating contrasts at the same time. Passages of treble-bass dialogue were clearly laid out, and his ability to take the long view showed in a somewhat restrained opening to the second movement that left plenty of room to develop power and momentum. His expertly-graded approach to climaxes was particularly evident in the third movement, as the warmth of his playing steered it from a barcarolle-like opening to its tender, quiet close. His way of bringing out inner detail also made for a crisp, bracing account of Grieg’s Holberg Suite, which opened the programme. It came through in his liquid finger-work in the Prelude, the thoughtfully-judged emotional scale of the Sarabande and Air, and the light, airy textures he created in the Gavotte and concluding Rigaudon. After the Schumann, Pohjonen launched into Sibelius’s own solo piano transcription of Finlandia, making the most of its Lisztian bravura and flamboyance, and giving the first appearance of the hymn-like theme a gleaming simplicity that was genuinely touching. The qualities of his playing were just as evident in his encore – ‘Bridal Procession’, the second of Grieg’s Scenes from Country Life, Op 19 (there seems to be no generally agreed English translation of the Norwegian title Folkelivsbilleder). Its scale and tone, particularly the gradual distancing effect at the end, were beautifully judged, right up to the perfectly-weighted, perfectly-placed, final chord.”

Music & Vision - Feb 2013

“His playing is simply extraordinary. This was a night when a good view of the soloist’s hands was worth extra money. It was a performance worth recording of a work worth hearing.”

The Atlanta Journal Constitution - Jan 2013

“This young man is a beast, a daunting player... tonal colours had brilliance – gleaming lines tripped along like bubbling streams, little squeezed-out flourishes casually adorned the ends of phrases... an impressive and fearless performance.”

Mercury News - Jul 2010

“Apparent immediately were Pohjonen’s capacities for clarity, color, and strength of line, the fluidity of transition most impressive. His staccati ring with visceral articulation, and he can apply the velvet paw to elicit, espessivo, a singing legato. The final movement enjoyed plastic dynamics, moving to the janissary figures with a fierce aplomb, gracious and buoyant at once.”

Classical Music Guide - Aug 2010

“... Pohjonen gave a quite outstanding reading of the concerto, a concerto in which the soloist is hardly ever silent. The difficulties of Prokofiev’s writing were handled with panache, the wit was relished and, when the few such opportunities came along (notably in the larghetto) he played with real lyricism. Handling the syncopation of some passages with ease and assurance, playing by turns percussively and delicately, richly dancing in the fifth movement finale, Pohjonen’s was a remarkable performance, full both of intimacy and sweep... ”

Seen & Heard (Prokofiev Piano Concerto No. 5) - Feb 2008

“Juho Pohjonen (the first pianist after Bronfman to tackle the concerto) knocked off this incredibly difficult solo part with calm, almost cavalier confidence. His fingers flew and occasionally his long hair flapped. But otherwise he remained unflappable... deadly accurate. ”

LA Times (Salonen Piano Concerto) - Jul 2009

“Everything about his recital was formidable. One reason his debut demanded attention was that his adventurous program made news from first to last He gave breathtaking performances of both works. When the audience broke into an ovation, the young pianist finally cracked a slight smile.”

New York Times - Oct 2004

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One of the brightest young instrumental talents to emerge from Finland, Juho Pohjonen has attracted great attention as one of the Nordic country's most intriguing and talented pianists. Widely praised for his broad range of repertoire from Bach to Salonen, his interpretations are known for their intensity, thoughtfulness and fearless musical conviction. A favorite of Robert Spano and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra it was said of his most recent performances of Prokofiev’s Concerto No. 5 in G Major that “His playing is simply extraordinary. This was a night when a good view of the soloist’s hands was worth extra money. It was a performance worth recording of a work worth hearing.” (The Atlanta Journal Constitution)

Season highlights for 2014-2015 include performances with Tonhalle Orchestra and Lionel Bringuier, Ostrobothnian Orchestra and Sakari Oramo, and a return visit to The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center for performances with Wu Tan featuring Mozart and Mendelssohn Sonatas for Four Hands. Juho will also perform in recital at Horsecross,  Perth and tour with Sibelius Piano Trio. Recently, Juho returned to Music@Menlo festival, toured with The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, first to Festpiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommen followed by a U.S. tour to La Jolla, Phoenix, Sedona, Lawrence, Kansas and Sleepy Hollow, New York in Autumn 2013.  Pohjonen also returned to Philharmonia Orchestra and performed in recital in Antwerp, Belgium. 

Other concert highlights include performances with Philharmonia Orchestra and Esa-Pekka Salonen, Helsinki Philharmonic with Olari Elts, Bournemouth Symphony with James MacMillan, and Iceland Symphony with Francois-Xavier Roth. In the U.S. Pohjonen made his debut at the Aspen Music Festival performing Messiaen’s Des canyons aux étoiles with Maestro Robert Spano. He performed with Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in New York and Chicago, and gave recitals in New York, Washington, D.C., and La Jolla. He performed Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 5 with Robert Spano and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, and again joined Maestro Spano at Carnegie Hall and Ensemble ACJW in a reprise of Messiaen’s Des canyons aux étoiles.

Pohjonen has given recitals in Dresden, Hamburg, Helsinki, London (Wigmore Hall), New York (Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center), Washington, D.C. (the Kennedy Center), Vancouver, Alicante, Warsaw, Hong Kong and at the Lucerne Piano, Savonlinna, Bergen and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Festivals. He has performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, Danish National, Finnish Radio Symphony, Swedish Radio Symphony, Avanti! Chamber Orchestra, National Arts Centre Orchestra, Scottish Chamber and Philharmonia Orchestras, Zagrebacka Filharmonija and Lahti Symphony, with which he toured Japan.

Pohjonen's debut recording Plateaux features a performance of Scandinavian composer Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen's piano concerto Plateaux pour Piano et Orchestre with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra and solo piano piece For Piano. His sensational opening recital at 2010's Music@Menlo Festival led to a recording for the Music@Menlo Live 2010 series entitled Maps and Legends: Disc 8. Works featured on the recording are Mozart's Sonata in A Major, K.331, Grieg's Ballade in g minor in the Form of Variations on a Norwegian Folk Song, Op. 24 and Handel's Suite in B-flat Major.

Pohjonen's studies began in 1989 when he entered the Junior Academy of the Sibelius Academy, Helsinki. He has studied with Meri Louhos and Hui-Ying Liu at the Sibelius Academy, where he completed his Master's Degree in 2008. Pohjonen has also participated in several master classes of world-class pianists such as András Schiff, Leon Fleisher, Jacob Lateiner and Barry Douglas.

In 2009, Juho Pohjonen was selected by András Schiff as winner of the Klavier Festival Ruhr Scholarship. In addition, he has won numerous prizes in both Finnish and international competitions, including First Prize at the 2004 Nordic Piano Competition in Nyborg, Denmark, First Prize at the 2000 International Young Artists Concerto Competition in Stockholm, the Prokofiev Prize at the 2003 AXA Dublin International Piano Competition and a prize at the 2002 Helsinki International Maj Lind Piano Competition.

‘If we needed proof that exciting new talent is in the pipeline, there was the marvelous American debut of Juho Pohjonen at [Carnegie's] Weill Recital Hall. Mr. Pohjonen offered a formidable mixed program, topped by thrilling accounts of two fiendishly difficult works by a fellow Finn, Esa-Pekka Salonen.'

-The New York Times

January 2016