Riitta Muikku and Tuomas Nikkanen Duo
Duo Riitta Muikku & Tuomas Nikkanen is a classical vocal-piano duo. The Duo has been working together since 2013, performing especially the songs and piano works of great romantic pianist-composers such as Sergey Rachmaninov and Franz Liszt.
Stories are inspiring, and music is made of stories. The Duo performs evenings of musical poetry opening up the world of a particular composer. The love story of Robert and Clara Schumann inspired a concert, which included both Robert’s and Clara’s pieces and letters to each other. One of the most romantic places to perform has been the Birthplace of Jean Sibelius in Hämeenlinna, Finland. In the very birthplace was also recorded Sibelius solo piano pieces of by Tuomas Nikkanen in 2015, where Riitta Muikku was also singing some Sibelius’ songs. In Hämeenlinna Duo performs in concerts organized by Sibelius Celebrations, important organizer for the festivities of Sibelius 150 jubilee year.
In September 2015 The Duo took part in Lied Master Class of Martin Katz. In 2014 the Duo took part in Chamber Music section in Concours International Leopold Bellan in Paris, France.
In the next years the Duo is planning to explore more the world of Art Songs. Modern music and new, interesting point of view for classical composers will be the leading idea of the new repertoire. For example until now you have not often heard art songs composed by Chopin, Wagner and Liszt in the same concert. In spite of the differences of their instrumental music, their vocal music and art songs have a lot in common. Also the spirit of Russian songs has something in common with Finnish or Scandinavian music.
Riitta Muikku is a young soprano coming from Finland. Her family backgrounds are in Carelia, the land of poetry, songs and pure nature. There Sibelius himself found again his inspiration to compose. In Carelia the social nature fo people combines with slavic state of mind. Still for Riitta the urban and international modern life has created a knowledge of many cultures, languages and mentalities. That knowledge is valuable in interpreting songs, arias and feelings.
Riitta Muikku has graduated from the Lahti University of Applied Sciences, majoring in singing in 2007. She attended to a 2012 professional specialization studies in Oulu UAS. Riitta Muikku has also participated in singing master classes of inter alia Professor Maria Tomanova, Conservatory in Banská Bystrica, Slovakia and Professor Ingrid Haubold. Hochschule für Music, Karlsruhe. She has taken a part in 48e Concours International de Chant de Toulouse.
In the last years Riitta has performed mostly Art Songs, interpreting for example Wolf's Mignon songs, Sibelius’, Rachmaninov’s, Clara Schumann’s and Mahler's songs. A lot of the art songs are performed together with Tuomas Nikkanen. Riitta can sing repertoire in german, english, russian, french, italian, spanish, catalan, finnish, swedish, norwegian and polish. She also speaks most of the languages above. Riitta Muikku also is a voice coach working as an entrepreneur since 2010. www. Respiro.fi
Riitta Muikku has presented Vivaldi's Gloria RV 589, Bach's Mass in H minor, Pergolesi's Stabat Mater and Saint-Saëns Christmas Oratorio.
Between 2007-2011 Riitta was attached to the Helsinki Philharmonic Choir in 1st soprano, where she joined performing Rachmaninov’s All- night Vigil; Brahm’s Ein Deutsches Requiem; Mozart’s Réquiem, Järnefelt’s Isänmaan kasvot with Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra; Schönberg’s Gurrelieder with Finnish Radio Symphonic Orchesta conducted by Esa- Pekka Salonen; Tippett’s A Child of Our Time with Tapiola Sinfonietta.
His international successes include a prize of "The Best Youngest Performer" in the International Artur Rubinstein Piano Competition of Bydgoszscz, Poland and a prize of the Best performance of a Lithuanian work in the International Ciurlionis Competition of 1999 in Vilno, Lithuania. At present, he is one of the most acive performers and musicians in Hämeenlinna, "The World Capital of Sibelius" also as on organizer and his duties include a vice-presidency in the board of the Härkätie Chamber Musicians, a society of professional musicians of Hämeenlinna.
His repertoire focuses on the great romantic pianocomposers, such as Liszt, Rahmaninoff and Chopin, but also an important part of it is the contemporary music, for example the works of Pierre Boulez and Olivier Messiaen as well as the works of Finnish composers, especially the music of an another residant of Hämeenlinna, Sampsa Ertamo (born in 1973). The music of Jean Sibelius also plays an important part in Tuomas Nikkanen's repertoire and a recording of the pianomusic and songs recorded at the Birthplace of the composer is released on 8th of December 2015, on the 150th birhday of Sibelius. The recording includes the singing of the soprano Riitta Muikku, Nikkanen's lied-partner and a professional co-worker.