Petri Kumela, one of Finland’s most versatile and sought-after classical guitarists, is equally at home with period instruments as in working with contemporary composers. He is also one of the Finnish guitarists best known on the international scene, with a reputation for originality and versatility, whether he is giving a recital in Calcutta or a school concert in Japan, or motorising guitars in Mexico.
Petri Kumela studied at the Helsinki Conservatory with Juan Antonio Muro and at the Hochschule für Musik Nürnberg-Augsburg in Germany with Franz Halász. He was the first guitarist to be accepted for the prestigious Meisterklassen study programme. For two years in succession he was awarded a rare DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) scholarship to continue his studies in the Halász masterclass. He has also attended masterclasses with Leo Brouwer, Oscar Chiglia, Alirio Díaz, Eduardo Egüez and David Russell.
Winner of the first prize in the international Scandinavian Guitar Festival and Stafford Classical Guitar Recital competitions, Petri Kumela has appeared outside Finland in many European countries, South America, the United States, Russia, Japan, India and Bhutan, at venues that have ranged from intimate domestic concerts to Finlandia Hall in Helsinki, the Purcell Room in London’s Southbank Centre and the Kitara Hall in Sapporo.
At home in Finland, Petri Kumela has been heard at numerous festivals and in many concert series and he has been the soloist with f.ex. the Chamber Orchestra of Lappland, Kymi Sinfonietta, Tapiola Sinfonietta, Oulu Sinfonia and the Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra with conductors Ann-Maria Helsing, Juha Kangas, Massimo Lambertini, Rumon Gamba, Hannu Lintu, Ari Rasilainen, Yasuo Shinozaki, Dima Slobodeniouk and John Storgårds. He is also an extremely active chamber musician, appearing with the Avanti!, Uusinta, defun, Insomnio, Tampere Raw and many other ensembles and musicians.
An artist with a special commitment to contemporary music, Petri Kumela has premiered nine guitar concertos and numerous solo and chamber works both in Finland and abroad by f.ex. Kalevi Aho, Paavo Korpijaakko, Olli Kortekangas, Minna Leinonen, Joachim F.W. Schneider, Poul Ruders, Riikka Talvitie, Lotta Wennäkoski and Pehr Henrik Nordgren.
Kumela was the artistic director for the chamber music series of the Nordic Music Days 2013 and the festival Sound of Sipoo started under his direction in Sipoo in 2017. He is also the co-curator for the concert series Hietsu is Happening! and Classical Hietsu.
Petri Kumela teaches guitar at the Sibelius Academy and Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Sciences.
The ten recordings released so far by Petri Kumela have all won high critical acclaim. “Change is gonna come” (2010) was chosen by both the Helsingin Sanomat and the American Record Guide as critic ́s choices of the year and the disc “In Strange Company” (2013) was nominated for the album of the year by the Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE) and for the recording industry ́s EMMA- prize. In 2016 He released “Fantasía Andaluza” together with the flamenco guitarist Joonas Widenius and in 2017 "Goldberg" with the german guitarist Jürgen Ruck. His recording of the music by Fernando Sor with a period guitar was elected by the prestigious Classical Guitar Magazine as one of the ten best recordings of 2018. His latest album ”Small Creatures – A Musical Bestiary” (2020) contains 35 miniature pieces for the guitar, each by a different living composer.
Kumela has also made a number of recordings for the Finnish Broadcasting Company and other radio and television networks. He currently has a three-year artistic grant by the Arts Council of Finland.