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“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 young Finnish conductor based in Basel, Switzerland. In addition to the Nordic repertoire to which he feels a natural affinity, he is especially appreciated for his interpretations of Shostakovich and Dvorak and his work as opera conductor. His approach is characterised by a sense of depth and quality, and he is particularly drawn to the work of Mahler and Brahms as well as the work of Bartok and Isang Yun.

Pitkänen was principal conductor of Monferrato Classic Orchestra in Italy and is currently principal conductor of Akademisches Orchester Freiburg in Germany.


Pitkänen won 1st prize in Cítta de Brescia - Giancarlo Facchinetti conducting competition and a distinction in the 11th Grzegorz Fitelberg International Competition for Conductors in 2023. The prize includes concerts in Italy, Romania and Czech Republic with orchestras like Hradec Kralove Philharmonic Orchestra and I Solisti Aquilani. His upcoming engagements include re-invitations to work with Basler Festival Orchestra and St. Michel Strings, and debuts with Helsinki Philharmonic, Filarmonica Bacau and Camerata Zürich.

He has appeared as guest conductor of the Kammerorchester Basel, Slovak Chamber Orchestra and Südwestdeutsche Philharmonie Konstanz, among others. As an opera conductor he has appeared with Opera Studio Würzburg and Opernkollektiv Zürich where he conducted the World Premiere Production and Recording of

Joachim Raffs “Die Eifersüchtigen”.
He was handpicked to LEAD! Foundations Excellence Platform for Young Artists where he is being closely mentored by Jukka-Pekka Saraste. Pitkänen also acts as Artistic Director of Finnish concert series Feeling blue & white in Basel, which he co-founded in 2014.

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

“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)

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