Samuli Viitanen

Samuli Viitanen (born in Helsinki, Finland, in 1981) started early with the violin and then studied piano for five years until the age of eleven. Then he felt the need to change the keyboard of the piano into the drums that were more appealing in the eyes of a teenager. His first teachers, Sakari Löytty and Tuomo Lassila guided Samuli towards the orchestral world and suddenly he was behind the timpani playing both the violin concerto and Finlandia by Jean Sibelius. Fast forward to today Samuli has a Master’s Degree (teachers Lassi Erkkilä & Rainer Seegers among others), serves as alternative principal timpanist at the Finnish National Opera since 2005, teaches at the University of Arts Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, is the percussion tutor of the Verbier Festival Junior Orchestra and enjoys life with his wife, kids and occasionally playing a round of golf. Samuli’s website will launch soon!

About the Session

Working on Sibelius’ Finlandia with the versatile timpanist’s three main tools for gaining musical clarity

Alongside with the usual timpani audition classic of Sibelius’ Finlandia, timpanist Samuli Viitanen from the orchestra of the Finnish National Opera, will introduce and go through the three main aspects of timpani playing that have the most effect on how a timpanist can alter their sound and start reaching out for a more richer and varied, personal soundscape. Being more clear and musical in your interpretation comes through understanding some basic principles that will be explained thoroughly with Sibelius’ Finlandia. We will also touch a few other examples from the Finnish composer’s music getting some ideas regarding Sibelius’ notation on rolls and how to play them out clearly in different manners.

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