Pianist Martin Malmgren has made himself known as a versatile performer, equally at home on stage as a soloist, and chamber musician and lied pianist. With an unusually wide repertoire ranging from early baroque up until the music of our times, he takes delight in surprising his audiences by performing unjustly neglected works and composers, in addition to the standard repertoire. Always aiming at finding meaningful connections between different composers, his concert programs typically show a thoughtful approach which builds bridges between different musical styles and periods. He has founded the piano recital series Key Discoveries, and also plays in the newly-founded Helsinki Chamber Orchestra.
As a sought-after soloist, he has appeared with such orchestras as Sinfonia Lahti, Tapiola Sinfonietta, Belgrade Symphony, Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra, Torun Philharmonic Orchestra, Oulu Sinfonia, Jyväskylä Sinfonia and others, in collaboration with conductors such as Petri Sakari, Ari Rasilainen, Dalia Stasevska, Sasha Mäkilä, Eva Ollikainen, Ville Matvejeff and Erkki Lasonpalo. The interest in lesser-heard works has led to multiple performances of unjustly neglected works with orchestra such as Prokofiev’s 5th piano concerto, Hindemith’s Kammermusik (‘Klavierkonzert’) op 36 nr 1, Schumann’s Konzertstück op 92, Rachmaninoff’s 1st piano concerto, as well as the Finnish premiere of the late Elliott Carter’s “Dialogues 2”. He has performed extensively throughout Europe, USA and Israel. During 2015, he was invited as Main Guest Artist at the Pasimusic Festival in Kuopio, a festival focusing on the music of the Finnish contemporary composer Pasi Lyytikäinen. Other notable concerts during recent seasons include soloist appearances at the Music Centre in Helsinki, a nomination as “Young soloist” in “Music in the Castles and Manor Houses of Sörmland” and performances at several festivals in Sweden and Finland. Among previous projects, he has performed the complete Mazurkas by Karol Szymanowski and all Études by Claude Debussy.
In addition to his soloist career, Martin takes great interest in lied and chamber music, and enjoys close collaborations with many well-known singers and instrumentalists. Martin has often collaborated with contemporary music ensembles such as NYKY Ensemble and Focus Ensemble. He has premiered and commissioned a long list of works and actively collaborates with contemporary composers.
Performing in other venues than the usual concert halls is also of great interest for Martin, bringing classical music to places where it is less often heard. He often performs in smaller venues, including in bookshops, soirees and home concerts, where there is a possibility to interact closely with the audience. As a co-founder of the klezmer/balkan band Babalisk in his early teens, Martin has also enjoyed the experience of performing in music restaurants, folk music festivals, and on the streets of his hometown, Gothenburg. His wide interests have also led to collaborations with pop singers, jazz musicians, dancers, poets and others.
Martin holds a Bachelor of Music from Edsberg Manor/Royal Academy of Music in Stockholm, where he studied piano with Mats Widlund and chamber music with Mats Zetterqvist. He continued his studies at the Sibelius Academy, with Ilmo Ranta as his main piano teacher. Other important influences include Konstantin Bogino, Jerome Lowenthal and Liisa Pohjola. With an interest in early music, Martin has also taken fortepiano masterclasses with Malcolm Bilson, Bart van Oort and Tuija Hakkila.