“He has a natural musical instinct; he is a passionate musician with a lively imagination and an inquisitive mind which radiates through his conducting.”
Joonas Pitkänen is a charismatic and dynamic Finnish conductor. After training as
a cellist, he graduated in conducting at the University of Music Würzburg where
he studied with Ari Rasilainen. Aside from the Scandinavian Repertoire to which he feels a natural affinity, he is especially appreciated for his interpretations of Shostakovich and Bruckner. 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 during season 18/19 and is currently chief conductor of Akademisches Orchester Freiburg in Germany. As of season 20/21 he is the new chief conductor of Stadtorchester Zug in Switzerland. 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)
His conducting has brought him to work with orchestras in Germany, Finland, Switzerland and Romania such as Hofer Symphoniker, St. Michel Strings, Jyväskylä Sinfonia, Argovia Philharmonic and Sibiu State Philharmonic. He has attended masterclasses e.g. with Nicolás Pasquet, Mark Stringer and Ulrich Windfuhr.
He has also worked as an assistant for Maestro Rasilainen e.g. with WDR Funkhausorchester and Staatsphilharmonie Nürnberg.
In 2016 Pitkänen made his debut as opera conductor in a production of Busonis ”Arlecchino” with Opera Studio Würzburg. He made his debut in Switzerland with Symphony Orchestra Biel Solothurn – with a program with works by Grieg, Sibelius, Nielsen and Atterberg. He was also selected to Gstaad Conducting Academy where he studied with Neeme Järvi and Johannes Schlaefli, and performed concerts with Gstaad Festival Orchestra in Menuhin Festival.
He has appeared as guest conductor of the Slovak Chamber Orchestra, Südwestdeutsche Philharmonie Konstanz among others. His future engagements include re-invitations to work with Basler Festival Orchestra, Sinfonieorchester Biel-Solothurn and Kammerorchester Basel.