Biography

Pianist Martin Malmgren has made himself known as a versatile performer, equally at home as a recitalist, concerto soloist, and chamber musician. With a 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 towards building bridges between different musical styles and periods. Additionally, Martin is also founder of the Key Discoveries piano recital series in Helsinki.

As a sought-after soloist, he has appeared with such orchestras as Sinfonia Lahti, Tapiola Sinfonietta,, Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra, Oulu Sinfonia, Jyväskylä Sinfonia, Mikkelin Kaupunginorkesteri, Helsinki Sinfonietta and others, in collaboration with conductors as Petri Sakari, Ari Rasilainen, Dalia Stasevska, Sasha Mäkilä, Eva Ollikainen, Ville Matvejeff and Erkki Lasonpalo, to mention a few. 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. Recent concerts 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. In May 2014, he performed the complete Mazurkas by Karol Szymanowski in Helsinki, and the following year, all Études by Claude Debussy.

In addition to a soloist and recitalist 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 premiered Daniel Börtz’ piano quintet “Agora” in 2010, and has been involved in performing newly-written works by Sven-David Sandström, Kaija Saariaho, Peter Lieberson, Magnus Lindberg, Anders Nilsson, Pasi Lyytikäinen, Asko Hyvärinen, Lotta Wennäkoski and Jyrki Linjama among others, often under guidance of the 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 musical interests have also led to collaborations with pop singers, jazz musicians 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 in Finland and recently received his Masters degree from the Sibelius Academy, where Ilmo Ranta had been his main teacher in piano, lied, chamber music and contemporary music. Other important teachers include Konstantin Bogino, Jerome Lowenthal and Liisa Pohjola. With an interest in early music, Martin has also studied cembalo and fortepiano, participating in masterclasses with Malcolm Bilson, Bart van Oort and Tuija Hakkila.