$20 ($15 ASF Members)
Finnish cellist Jussi Makkonen and pianist Nazig Azezian return to the United States with their new spectacularly dramatic multimedia concert production—Sibelius Inspiration.
Sibelius Inspiration is an all-encompassing experience: by the means of music, video, sound and light, the audience is transported into the world that inspired the Finnish national composer Jean Sibelius—from the floral splendor of the Ainola garden, to the magical moss forest at dusk, to the top of the impressive Koli to the midst of a thunderstorm.
About Jussi Makkonen
Jussi Makkonen began playing the cello at Pielinen-Karelia Music Institute in Lieksa, Finland and completed his Master’s degree in Music at the Sibelius Academy in 2005. In 2008, Makkonen’s first Sibelius record was released for international distribution by the record label Naxos. Makkonen has performed Sibelius’ music to thousands of listeners in his concerts in Finland, most European countries, South-East Asia, the United States, and Canada. He has appeared on music programs of numerous TV and radio stations in Finland, the United States, Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Romania.
Makkonen has appeared, among others, at a reception given by the President of the Republic of Finland at Mäntyniemi, at events held by the Finnish Parliament, and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, and at numerous Finnish embassies in Europe, Asia and the United States. As of 2013, Makkonen has been performing mainly with pianist Nazig Azezian. They have produced music videos with Aira Vehaskari, and participated in the creation of The Melody Forest, a children’s picture book with Katri Kirkkopelto. In January 2015, Makkonen and Azezian’s Sibelius’ anniversary record was released with the theme “Back to the landscapes of Sibelius’ honeymoon”. Between 2008 and 2015, Jussi Makkonen led the Pielinen soi festival with his brother, cello artist Matti Makkonen.
About Nazig Azezian
Nazig Azezian started playing the piano at the age of eight at the East Helsinki Music Institute under the direction of Leena Nikula. As of 2007, she studied in the Music Performance Program at the Sibelius Academy with Juhani Lagerspetz, Teppo Koivisto, and Hamsa Al-Wadi Juris. In spring 2014, she completed her Master’s recital for her piano diploma with honors. In 2012, Azezian received a winner’s prize in the Helmi Vesa piano competition for students of the Sibelius Academy. The Martin Wegelius Foundation and the Finnish Cultural Foundation have supported her artistic work.
Azezian has performed as a solo pianist and played chamber music in varying ensembles at concert series and festivals. Between 2014 and 2015, she performed as lead pianist with soprano Johanna Rusanen-Kartano and baritone Jorma Hynninen, among others. As of spring 2013, she has performed in hundreds of concerts with cellist Jussi Makkonen in Finland, Norway, Belgium, and the United States.