The Finnish pianist, Risto Lauriala, began his musical studies in Oulu under Helge Lück and later continued at the Oulu College of Music as a pupil of Jussi Törnwall. At the Sibelius Academy he studied under Timo Mikkilä and gained his diploma in piano-playing in 1972. He completed his studies in London as a private pupil of Ilona Kabos and Maria Curcio, and at the Vienna Academy of Music, where he attended Professor Dieter Weber's master-classes. In 1970 Risto Lauriala won first prize in the Maj Lind Piano Competition in Finland, and in 1974 1st prize in the Stepanow Competition in Vienna. In 1972 he received his Diploma from the Sibelius Academy.
Risto Lauriala made his debut in 1973 in Helsinki. Since then he has performed as a soloist with numerous symphony orchestras, as a member of a chamber music ensemble, as a lied pianist and in solo recitals, in Finland and throughout Europe, in the former Soviet Union, Japan and the USA. He is also well-known as a recitalist in Finland and Europe. His core repertoire consists of concertos and major works by J.S. Bach, L.v. Beethoven, Schubert, and Johannes Brahms.
Risto Lauriala has recorded works by J.S. Bach, L.v. Beethoven, Schubert and Schubert-Liszt on the Finish label Alba. For Naxos label he has recorded works by Sibelius, S. Palmgren, J. Suk and transcriptions of J.S. Bach`s works for violin and for organ. His recordings have received considerable critical acclaim both in his home country and in foreign musical publications. His Schubert-Liszt CD (Franz Liszt`s piano arrangements of Schubert`s Lieder) was awarded the Janne Record Prize in March 2003.
Risto Lauriala has been a lecturer in accompaniment at the Sibelius Academy since 1982.