Markku Luolajan-Mikkola, bass viol, enjoys the challenge of playing some of the most demanding pieces written for his instruments, which he performs on various viols and historical cellos ranging from the sixteenth century to the present day. Counting all the concerts he’s given – in his native Finland and abroad – he found there had been more than a thousand given in 30 countries. Contemporary music is also important to him, experiencing all the new possibilities for expression and communication offered by living composers.
Markku introduced the novel idea of ‘Home concerts’ at the Helsinki Festival in 2010, has even performed concerts where audience members relax on a mattress. He was president of the Finnish Soloists’ Association and artistic director of the Finnish Baroque Orchestra, and in 2010 founded the BRQ Vantaa Festival as its artistic director. As a soloist, he has received the National Janne Award, the Finnish Broadcasting Company’s special honour prize and the Classical Music Emma Prize. Markku began teaching the modern cello at the Sibelius Academy in 1970s, even before graduating there himself: many of his students from that period now play in leading European orchestras. He currently teaches both viol and Baroque cello at the Sibelius Academy. Since children best learn to appreciate music and culture in general when they are 10–18 years old, he has made a point to teach them at the West Helsinki Music School since the 1980s. In addition to the Sibelius Academy Markku studied also at the Royal Conservatoire of The Hague. During his student years, he was taught by Art Noras, Jaap Ter Linden and Wieland Kuijken.