Jousia Ensemble and Jousia Quartet

The story of the Jousia Ensemble began when a group of friends wanted to make music together without the authoritative presence of a conductor. The spring of 2008 saw the first concert by the group, whose members are some of Finland’s foremost players of stringed instruments.

The Jousia Ensemble is always seeking new perspectives for performance of both Baroque music and the music of our time. A large part of the ensemble’s work lies in arranging orchestral versions of works written for string quartets – for example, works by Ravel, Janáček, Beethoven, and Bartók have all been given a new look. January 2011 saw the ensemble’s debut of a piece by Eero Hämeenniemi for electric guitar and strings. Veli Kujala too has written new music for the ensemble.

The Jousia Ensemble has given concerts at Rauma Festivo, for Kaustinen Chamber Music Week, at Hämeenlinna’s Verkatehdas (in the SIB concert series), at the Helsinki Music Centre, at the Lux Musicae Festival, and as part of the Oulu Music Festival. The ensemble was named ensemble-in-residence of the Oulunsalo Soi Chamber Music Festival in 2012.

The ensemble’s artistic committee and core, the Jousia Quartet, is composed of Janne Nisonen, Concertmaster of the Tapiola Sinfonietta; Eriikka Maalismaa, Second Concertmaster of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra; Lilli Maijala, lecturer in viola studies at the Sibelius Academy; and Timo-Veikko Valve, Principal Cello of the Australian Chamber Orchestra.

The members of the Jousia Quartet (formerly the UTA Quartet) studied at the Sibelius Academy and the Edsberg Music Institute. In 2004, the quartet won second prize and the Finnish Broadcasting Company special prize in the Kuhmo International Composition Competition for Chamber Music. Then, in the following year, the group earned third place in the Trondheim International Chamber Music Competition for String Quartets. The Jousia Quartet has given many performances in Finland, Sweden, Germany, Austria, Belgium, and Switzerland. The quartet has received support in the form of awards from several sources, among them the Pro Musica Foundation and the Finnish Cultural Foundation.