Photo: Ville Paul Paasimaa
Elina Mustonen, harpsichordist and actress
Eero Hämeenniemi, music ant text
Music also from Luigi Rossi, Barbara Strozzi, Domenico Scarlatti, Baldassare Galuppi and Ferdinando Bertoni.
Johanna Freundlich, stage director
Nina Mansikka, visualiser
Elina Mustonen has built a long and significant career as a harpsichordist and pedagogue. For these reasons, she was awarded the Pro Music Foundation award in 2013. As a soloist and chamber musician, Mustonen has performed all over Europe and the United States in partnership with leading figures in both early and modern music (e.g. the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and Pekka Kuusisto, Ton Koopman, Wieland Kuijken, Laurence Dreyfus and Andres Mustonen). She has actively recorded with both Finnish and international record labels, including all of J. S. Bach’s suites for harpsichord. Her latest recording, “Birds,” contains early and modern music for harpsichord inspired by birds.
In addition to her work as a musician, Elina Mustonen has broadened her artistic endeavors to include theater. She has studied acting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in London, and has been involved in many cross-artistic productions. One of the earliest of these is “Birds are Known by their Song,” based on the Nobel-winning José Saramago’s novel Baltasar and Blimunda and Domenico Scarlatti’s music for harpsichord. At the invitation of the author, the work has been performed all over Europe.
Mustonen’s most significant roles as an actor have been Prospero (Shakespeare’s The Tempest), Hippolyta/Titania (Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream), and the title role in Jussi Kylätasku’s play Maaria Blomma. In addition, she played the Finnish actress Ida Aalberg and Aino Sibelius, the wife of Jean Sibelius, in productions at the Järvenpää Theater commemorating Sibelius.
As part of the Shakespeare 400 commemoration, together with Shakespeare scholar Nely Keinänen and director-dramaturg Johanna Freundlich, Elina Mustonen created a solo work entitled “Her Infinite Variety – Shakespeare’s Women in Word and Music.” The production has toured around Finland, and has also been seen in Dublin and in London at the celebrated Rose Theatre and at Garrick’s Temple to Shakespeare. “JOUEZ! – A Tour of Molière” combines Molière’s colorful characters and French music of his age in a memorable work of musical theater. This celebrated performance was designed by Nina Mansikka.
In recent years, Elina Mustonen has also begun conducting, most recently as a guest conductor for the Lapland Chamber Orchestra. In the autumn of 2013 she selected, arranged and conducted the music for Aku Ahjolinna’s ballet “Kaarina Maununtytär.” Since 2012 she has served as artistic director of the Heinola Residence festival, which she also founded.
Mustonen has premiered many new pieces for harpsichord, including works by Eero Hämeenniemi, Harri Vuori, Olli Mustonen and Peter Machadijk, some of which were composed especially for her. In addition to baroque pieces, her repertoire includes harpsichord concertos by Manuel de Falla, Françis Poulenc and Bohuslav Martinu.
The University of the Arts Helsinki named Elina Mustonen its alumna of the year in 2019.
In addition, Elina Mustonen has been named an Artist Professor by the Arts Promotion Centre Finland.