Meet Jaakko Kuusisto. A friend-in-common has described Jaakko Kuusisto as a "very nice guy, and very talented musician in a sort of Renaissance man, all-around way." How talented? Well, he's a good enough violinist to have been appointed in 1999 as concertmaster of th excellent Lahti Symphony Orchestra in his native Finland. You may have heard us play selections from the Bach Concerto album he shared with his violinist brother Pekka. He's musically adept enough to have stepped in on short notice for an ailing conductor in 2001, leading to a successful conducting career with several ensembles in Finland, Scandinavia and the Baltics — pretty good places to have a classical music career, as you can hear practically daily on NEPR. And he's enough of a composer to have two knockout works featured on a new CD, a dazzling and sprawling Violin Concerto (which Mr. K. conducts rather than fiddles), and the exciting orchestral showpiece called "Leika" (Icelandic for "children's play") coming up in Tuesday afternoon's Big Classical Show. Shucks, some guys get all the talent. That's why it's so much fun to find them, play them and hear them!
Performances you will not hear on NEPR. Lest you think classical musicians are infallible, like classical broadcasters (ahem), Britain's Classic FM has just shot that notion to bits with its list of "10 epic fails in classical music." Do not listen to any of these while you're supposed to be working, lest your laughter alert the boss to your slacking-off. The first "fail," by the way, is the infamous mishap also known as the "Messiah organist on crack." In case you, like I, wondered how on earth this could happen, an organist named David Sinden has posted a plausible explanation. But please, listen first.
It's all about me. As a journalistic service, just in case you were interested and missed it, and totally out of modesty and humility, I bring to your attention a very fine article by the Springfield Republican's excellent classical maven Clifton J. Noble, Jr. — himself the subject of a well-deserved recent profile. Thank you, Jerry; very well done.