“He has a natural musical instinct; he is a passionate musician with a lively imagination and an inquisitive mind which radiates through his conducting.”

(Ari Rasilainen)

Joonas Pitkänen is a charismatic and dynamic Finnish conductor. Aside from the Scandinavian Repertoire to which he feels a natural affinity, he is especially appreciated for his interpretations of Shostakovich and his work as opera conductor. His concerts are intriguing and moving. He sees his mission to make music and musicians come first and to render accessible less well-known works and contemporary music to the audience. Based in Basel, Pitkänen was principal conductor of Monferrato Classic Orchestra in Italy and is currently chief conductor of Stadtorchester Zug in Switzerland and Akademisches Orchester Freiburg in Germany. Newly he has been handpicked to LEAD! Foundations Excellence Platform for Young Artists. He will be closely mentored by Jukka-Pekka Saraste and provided career advice as well as organisational and management services by LEAD! Foundation. He also acts as artistic director of Finnish concert series Feeling blue & white in Basel, which he co-founded in 2014.

“Joonas Pitkänen ... succeeded in the great art of creating a gradual rise without becoming bombastic or heavy and opaque in sound. With light, well balanced orchestral sound and well-felt tempos he made everything that is happening understandable.” (Schwäbisches Tagblatt)

He has appeared as guest conductor of the Sinfonieorchester Biel-Solothurn, Slovak Chamber Orchestra, Südwestdeutsche Philharmonie Konstanz and Kammerorchester Basel among others. As an opera conductor he has appeared e.g. with Opera Studio Würzburg and newly with Opernkollektiv Zürich where he conducted the World Premiere Production and Recording of Joachim Raffs “Die Eifersüchtigen”.


His future engagements include re-invitations to work with Basler Festival Orchestra and debuts with Helsinki Philharmonic and Turku Philharmonic.


Pitkänen studied conducting in Musikhochschule Würzburg with Ari Rasilainen and cello in Hochschule für Musik Basel with Thomas Demenga. He has also done masterclasses with Neeme Järvi, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Mark Stringer, Ulrich Windfuhr, Jukka-Pekka Saraste and Hannu Lintu.

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