Finnish-German Ralf Gothóni has a many-sided career as solo pianist, chamber musician and conductor all over the world. He became well-known for his unconventional way of music-making, not only as a pianist, but as a musician with unusual thinking about music and the wholeness of musicianship. He began his studies on the violin at age three and on piano at age five. At 15 he debuted as an orchestra soloist and in 1967, he appeared at the Jyväskylä Summer Festival as the “debutant of the year”.
His performances include appearances at prestigious music festivals – Salzburg, Berlin, Prague, Prades, Aldeburgh, Edinburgh, La Roque de Antheron, Ravinia, Tanglewood and more – and performances with the Chicago, Detroit and Toronto Symphony Orchestras, Berlin and Warsaw Philharmonics, the Bavarian Radio Symphony, Many Asian orchestral and with the English Chamber Orchestra among others. He appears annually in numerous concerts both as soloist and conductor, conducting from the keyboard. Gothóni has premiered more than a dozen piano concertos; among them concertos by Sir John Tavener, Aulis Sallinen, Curtis Curtis-Smith, Einojuhani Rautavaara and Srul Irving Glick. He is also regularly heard as guest artist at major chamber music festivals.
Very close to his heart is the contact with young musicians. He is the artistic chairman of “Savonlinna Music Academy” which is a Summer institute for chamber music, lied and opera. He has held the position of professorship at the “Hochschule für Musik” in Hamburg (1986–96), at the “Hanns Eisler Hochschule” in Berlin (1996–2000), at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki 1992–2007. In May, 2000 he was appointed as a visiting professor at the Royal College of Music in London and in 2012 in Musikhochschule Karlsruhe. From 2006 to 2013 he was the head of the piano chamber music department at “Instituto de Musica Camara, Reina Sofia” in Madrid. Besides giving master classes around the world, he has also spent many summers as a faculty member at the Steans Institute for Young Artists at Ravinia, Chicago. In the last years he has also been invited as juror at major international piano competitions.