Arto Noras - Cello
“With nearly 100 concerts over two weeks, you never know when the moments of magic will come. But one came Sunday in the opening concert in Kuhmo Church when Arto Noras played the Haydn Cello Concerto in C major, bringing serene lyricism to the second movement and a stunning technique to the third.”
New York Times
Arto Noras is one of a handful of outstanding internationally acknowledged 'cellists of his generation' recognised worldwide as an expressive, technically brilliant soloist and as an intense, sensitive chamber musician. He is one of Finland’s most celebrated instrumentalists where he is Founder and Artistic Director of the Naantali Music Festival, which celebrated its 30th Anniversary in 2011, and Chairman of the International Paulo Cello Competition which he founded in 1991. Recent engagements have seen him appearing with The Philadelphia Orchestra (Strauss’s “Don Quixote”: “Cello solos were played by veteran Finnish cellist Arto Noras, who is heard too rarely in the United States, and characterized Quixote more as an accident-prone poet than a buffoon - his tools being an effortless, touchingly demure legato. His big cadenza/soliloquy was lofty.” Philadelphia Inquirer – June 7, 2010) and Rostropovich Festival in Moscow and he is a regular soloist at the Casals Festival in Puerto Rico as well as the Pablo Casals Music Festival in Prades. This season will see him at the BBC Proms in London and next season he returns to the Boston Symphony Orchestra. He has appeared with most of the world’s finest orchestras.
Arto Noras' repertoire covers almost all the repertoire composed for his instrument including that by contemporary composers, some commissioned by himself, premiering, for example, Aulis Sallinen’s “Nocturnal Dances of Don Juan Quixote”, Segerstam’s Sixth Cello Concerto and Erik Bergman's Cello Concerto alongside working extensively with Krzysztof Penderecki. He has recorded extensively for the Finlandia label (Warner) in an extensive discography with orchestras that include the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra and Warsaw National Philharmonic with conductors such as Jukka-Pekka Saraste, Sakari Oramo, Markus Lehtinen, Paavo Berglund, Yan Pascal Tortelier and Krzysztof Penderecki.
Arto Noras’ distinguished recital and chamber music work sees him regularly playing at the world’s great concert halls and festivals that include the Casals Festival in Prades (“Just as yesterday, Arto Noras cast a spell on the audience making the most of the softness and the delicacy of the instrument in the Andante… He has unmistakably the most silky and soul-stirring sound of all the cellists heard in Prades.” ResMusica, France – August 2008), San Juan, Puerto Rico, Kumho Chamber Music Festival, Turku Music Festival, Seoul International Music Festival and his own Naantali Music Festival (“This cellist is truly awesome. His records didn’t prepare us for his tone, which seems surely the biggest heard since the days of Pablo Casals and Emmanuel Feuermann…” New York Daily News). On CD he has amassed wonderful reviews for his sonata recordings with pianists Bruno Rigutto (Beethoven, Faure, Franck, Debussy), Ralf Gothóni (Sallinen) and Juhani Lagerspetz (Brahms, Schumann) that have included this review from The Gramophone: “What a fine performer the Finnish cellist Arto Noras is. With his rich stream of tone and immaculate technical address, he cuts a commandingly articulate figure.” He was a member of the Helsinki Trio and a founder member of the Sibelius Academy Quartet and he continues to play with other groups of distinguished musicians.
Arto Noras completed his studies with Yrjo Selin at the Sibelius Academy before studying with Paul Tortelier at the Paris Conservatoire where he gained the coveted Premier Prix diploma in 1964. Two years later there was a furore when he was only awarded second prize in the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow which, however, immediately opened his way to the most important concert halls in Europe as well as both North and South America where he has performed regularly ever since. In 1970 he was appointed Professor of Cello at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki where he remained until State Retirement age and he is currently Professor at the Hamburg Musik Hochschule. He is in considerable demand as a jurist including the Tchaikovsky, Casals and Cassado competitions and he is regularly asked to give master classes all over the world. Arto Noras was awarded the Danish Sonning Prize in 1967 and Finnish State music prize in 1972.