The Swedish pianist and composer, Roland Pöntinen, studied at the Adolf Fredrik Music School and the Royal Music Academy in Stockholm with Gunnar Hallhagen, then with Menahem Pressler, György Sebok, and Elizabeth Leonskaya at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana.
Roland Pöntinen made his debut in 1981 with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra and has since then performed with major orchestras in Europe, USA, Korea, South-America, Australia and New Zealand. He has co-operated with Myung-Whun Chung, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Neeme Järvi, Paavo Järvi, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Jukka-Pekka Saraste, Leif Segerstam, Evgeny Svetlanov, Franz Welser-Möst and David Zinman to name a few. Highlights include performances with the Philharmonia Orchestra in Paris and London, Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra in Hollywood Bowl, with Scottish Chamber Orchestra in Glasgow and Edinburgh as well as appearances in London Proms where he has played both the Grieg Piano Concerto and the Ligeti Piano Concerto.
Roland Pöntinen is one of Sweden's best-known pianists. Thanks to an insatiable musical appetite and a stupendous technique he has acquired a vast repertoire, ranging from J.S. Bach to Ligeti. The emphasis is on the ”golden era” in piano-literature from the 19th century - in particular L.v. Beethoven, Frédéric Chopin and Franz Liszt - through the first half of the 20th century with composers such as Debussy, Ferruccio Busoni, Szymanowski and Sergei Rachmaninov.
Roland Pöntinen is a passionate chamber musician and has taken part in innumerable constellations but plays regularly only with a few musicians such as the violinist Ulf Wallin,with whom he is currently recording all the Max Reger Violin Sonatas, the soprano Barbara Hendricks and with his piano duo colleague Love Derwinger. He has participated in a great number of festivals such as Berliner Festwochen, Schleswig-Holstein Festival, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival, La Roque d'Anthéron Piano Festival and the Edinburgh Festival.
Recent highlights include the S. Rachmaninov Paganini Variations with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Marin Alsop, the Hillborg Piano Concerto at the Avanti Festival in Finland and the world premiere of the Puumala Piano Concerto, a co-commission by the some of the major Scandinavian orchestras. Roland Pöntinen gave all the first performances together with the conductors Hannu Linthu and Susanna Mälki. His BBC radio 3 recital led to a re-engagement and Roland has a steady relationship with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra with which he played the Weber Konzertstueck with John Storgaards.
Roland Pöntinen has made more than 70 recordings on the labels BIS, Philips, CPO, Arte Nova and EMI. Recent recordings include a much hailed trilogy of repeteroire from the New Viennese School on BIS. Recordings of film music and the Szymanowski Piano repertoire are in progress and in November his 3rd CD in the series of F. Busoni Piano Music will be released on CPO.
Roland Pöntinen is also an active composer and in 1998 his Blue Winter had its World Premiere in Philadelphia and in Carnegie Hall, New York with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Wolfgang Sawallisch. Pöntinen is a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music and in 2001 he received the Litteris et Artibus - a royal medal for recognition of eminent skills in the artistic field.