Julia Mustonen (Dahlkvist)
The Finnish pianist Julia Mustonen is gaining a reputation as one of the most exciting young artists in nothern Europe. Among a number of prizes in International Competitions, she is the winner of Nordic International Piano Competition in 2004 where she was awarded with a Blüthner Grand Piano. 2006-2008 she performed the Complete Piano Repertoire of Claude Debussy on tours in the Nordic countries.
Born in a Finnish-Russian family, she started to play piano at the age of 3. Growing up in communist Siberia, she was considered a child prodigy and gave concert tours at a very early age, sometimes under inhumane conditions. Traveling around the Siberian region, she had to play concerts in halls on occasion with tempuratures of -10C, while it was -40C outdoors. Julia always loved to perform and play for an audience and even now the contact with her audience remains central in her artistry.
At the age of 16 she completed her first professional degree after a spirit-breaking music education in Siberia. When she moved to Finland with her family, she decided to stop performing on stage and did not give a public concert in more than 7 years. During that time Julia was living and studying in Germany, resulting in a Master degree in Freiburg and a Postgraduate degree in Berlin. An important figure for Julia was Vitali Berzon, her teacher during those years, who rebuilt her as a pianist.
After those 7 years, one of the most famous musicians in Finland, Erik. T. Tawaststjerna, professor at the Sibelius Academy, encouraged Julia to return to the concert stage, and shortly after that she won a small international competition in Paris, and this convinced her to continue to pursue a life as a performing artist.
Since 2003 Julia has been working with great pianists such as Staffan Scheja, Alicia de Larrocha, John O’Conor and Olli Mustonen. They have all influenced her deeply. She has also received awards from among others the Cultural Foundation, the Music Performance Promotion Centre in Finland, The Royal Academy of Music and the Anders Wall Foundation in Sweden.
In 2007 she had a critically acclaimed debut performance at the Gotland Chamber Music Festival where she got the following review: ” …the young pianist Julia Mustonen played ”Pictures at an Exhibition” by Modest Mussorgsky. She delivered an interpretation that left us completely breathless. …It has to be like that so that a soloist of great stand can go into the music, become one with the instrument…Julia was living inside the music with strong and sensible theatrical gestures, she was so physical and both caressing and taming the grand piano, as if it were a giant body. Brilliant playing and a long well-deserved applause, with her being called back to stage a number of times!”