The Doctor Wants To Be On Stage

Etelä-Suomen Sanomat
November 27, 2011

Seeli Toivio has allready performed 70 concerts this year
ESS–Markus Luukkonen

Seeli Toivio is a strong willed woman. As a 5-year-old, she allready then diecided that she wants to be on stage, and that decision is still valid today.

– Allready at the Lahti Conservatory music play school I was the one, who wanted be the first one to go on stage, Toivio laughs.

– A little boy can fantasize about being a fireman, but later on the dreams can change. In my case my dreams have gone on and on. In that sense I’m like haunted.

Toivio has systematically stayed away from orchestral and teaching work and has been concentrated onher own solo career. At the same time she has also studied, and started a family. In 2009 Toivio made her Doctoral Defence at the Sibelius Academy, her thesis was the left hand cello techniques.

 More gigs

Now she has gigs.

– This year I have done 70 concerts allready. For next year I have allready about 50 concerts planned.

Why this kind of speed?

Toivio handles her concert contacts on her own. She also has a lot of chamber music partners, of whom the closests are e.g. harpist Lily-Marlene Puusepp, kantele player Hedi Viisma, and of course the husband, saxophonist Olli-Pekka Tuomisalo.

Toivio is leading two chamber music festivals in Helsinki: Baltic Sea Festival in April, and Septemberfest in the Autumn. Toivio has also uploaded her performances into YouTube.

Fresh marketing spirit is not common among classical musicians.

– My friend said me years ago, that “they won’t call you at home”. Therefore I have thought to go bravely, Toivio figures.

In her concert scene, the biggest news finding a large Northern American concert agency. Toivio signed a contract with Price Rubin & Partners in August.

– I was quite stunned, because I got contacted in Facebook. At first I thought that who on earth is that Jack who writes to me.

The concert agency Jack Price leads has about two hundred artists. Toivio wishes that working together will bring her a lot of concerts abroad.

Speed fascinates

Toivio has been actively recording. The newest album is Virtuoso Cello, published by Alba Records this Autumn, on which Toivio plays with her pianist brother Kalle Toivio.

The programme on the album is brave: Toivio plays virtuoso works from Brahms’s Hungarian Dance to Wieniawski’s Scherzo-Tarantella and Monti’s Czardas. Those have usually been thought to be in the violinists’ repertoire.

Toivio’s speed on the cello’s fingerboard is based on hard work but also on her unique playing technique.

– Traditionally the fingers are pressed onto the fingerboard. I have developed a technique in which the fingers pull the strings in some places.

Toivio’s way of playing started to form in her childhood, and even though allmost every teacher mentioned about it, Toivio kept her head.

– Still it’s not looked on very well if someone plays in a different way. In any case, I play in the way which feels good to me, Toivio says firmly.

Toivio admits that speed and dangerous situations intrigue her.

– Since I was a child, I have had kicks on the fact that I can manage things fast. It might be the same feeling which a gymnast might have when jumping in the air.


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