Kreeta-Julia Heikkilä, violin
Kreeta-Julia Heikkilä is known as an energetic, dynamic, and diverse violinist, who is frequently invited to perform internationally as a soloist, chamber musician, and concertmaster. Since 2017, she has performed as artistic director and violinist at the Helsinki Chamber Music Festival.
As a recognized concertmaster, she has served as the concertmaster of Vaasa City Orchestra (2012), the Danish National Chamber Orchestra (2013-) and the Oulu Symphony Orchestra (2015). She has had engagements as a concertmaster not only in several Nordic symphony orchestras, but in orchestras such as London BBC Symphony Orchestra, the iPalpiti Chamber Orchestra and Atlantic Music Festival Orchestra. In the past season, she has served in orchestras such as the Norwegian Opera Orchestra, Trondheim Symphony Orchestra, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, and Turku Philharmonia.
Heikkilä appears annually as a soloist and chamber musician in many international festivals in Europe, USA, South Korea, and Russia. She has been a prize-winner at national and international violin and chamber music competitions, and a winner of numerous awards, including the prestigious Pro Musica and Nordea awards
Kreeta-Julia plays an Andrea Guarneri violin from 1680, kindly on loan from the Finnish Cultural Foundation.
Jaani Helander, cello
Jaani Helander graduated from the Sibelius Academy in 2013 after studying with Martti Rousi and has been a member of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra since then. Helander is currently studying under professor Natalia Gutman in the Scuola di Musica di Fiesole in Florence, Italy. He also teaches cello at the Sibelius Academy.
Helander was awarded second prize at the Turku Cello Competition in 2010 and 1st prize in the string instrument competition at the ISA Festival in Austria the same year. In Finland he has performed as a soloist with the Turku Philharmonic Orchestra, Joensuu City Orchestra and the Guard’s Band, among others, and in Austria with the Spirit of Europe -chamber orchestra.
As a chamber musician, Helander has performed at various festivals in Finland as well as at the iPalpiti festival in Los Angeles and at the Nafplion festival in Greece. He is also a member of piano trio TEOS with violinist Kreeta-Julia Heikkilä and pianist Jaan Ots. As a principal cellist Helander has performed with the Helsinki and Tampere Philharmonic Orchestras and with the international iPalpiti Orchestra on their tour in Israel.
Jaani Helander plays an Italian cello by Vincenzo Postiglione made in 1914, on loan from the foundation Finlandssvenska Instrumentfonden.
Mariko Furukawa, piano
Japanese pianist Mariko Furukawa is a prize winner of prestigious competitions, such as Porto International Piano Competition (Portugal), Grand Prix for the American Conservatory in Fontainebleau (France) and First Prize at Dorothey MacKenzie Competition (US).
During 15th International Chopin Competition, her performance of Ballade No.4 was chosen by Polish National Radio, and broadcast on multiple occasions. Mariko has also been an active chamber musician, and she has collaborated with such renowned musicians as The Orion String Quartet, Charles Neidich, Anthony McGill and Jasmine Choi. In 2012, she was awarded a special prize in All Japan Music Competition for her outstanding performance as a collaborative pianist.
She obtains MM from The Juilliard School and BM from Mannes College of Music. In 2019, she moved to Helsinki, and joined Sibelius Academy at University of Arts Helsinki as a full-time faculty.
Jaan Ots, piano
Jaan Ots is an Estonian conductor and pianist. During the last season, he made his debut at the Finnish National Ballet with Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker and led the Glasperlenspiel Sinfonietta in collaboration with the award-winning choir Collegium Musicale on tour. Most recently, he debuted at the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg with Hamburger Camerata. Ots has also conducted the Lahti Sinfonia, Pärnu City Orchestra and Narva City Symphony Orchestra. He held the position of assistant conductor at the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra for the season 2015-16, assisted in productions of Verdi’s Otello at the Savonlinna Opera Festival in 2018 and Bizet’s Carmen at the Vaasa Theater.
His upcoming engagements include assistantship at the Greek National Opera in a production of Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District, concerts with the Tallinn Music High School Symphony Orchestra, which he leads as chief conductor for the 2nd season, and debut with Eesti Sinfonietta.
In parallel to his conducting activities, Ots is an active chamber musician. He is member of Frielinghaus Ensemble and tours around Europe with various ensembles, such as the Amaryllis quartet and the Frielinghaus Ensemble. He is also member of Piano Trio TEOS.
Ots is a founding member of the Beethoven Now! Project and Chamber Orchestra, an initiative to explore Beethoven’s music and the classical era through a broad and innovative approach.