Iiro Rantala

Rantala's solo work draws on classical music as much as jazz, and fizzes with glittering contrapuntal playing, jaw-dropping juxtapositions of fast basslines and right-hand cascades, tantalising swappings of romantic rhapsodies and bluesy swing, and all kinds of other pianistic fireworks

– The Guardian

Finnish pianist Iiro Rantala has left restrictive labels of the 20th century behind him in the pursuit of the music that speaks to him most deeply, and now speaks to audiences worldwide.He studied piano in the jazz department of Sibelius Academy and classical piano at the Manhattan School of Music, yet the evolution of his playing has blasted away all stylistic boundaries and became as uncompromising as it is compelling.

For 18 years Rantala was mainly associated with the trio Töykeät, one of the most offbeat and visionary piano trios in international jazz. He sounded out all the possibilities of this formation; sometimes playing the energetic lion on keys, sometimes the sensitive romantic or the burlesque clown.

After more than 2,000 concerts with Töykeät, Rantala struck out on a solo career in 2011; his album Lost Heroes simultaneously and unprecedentedly won two of Europe's most prestigious awards – Germany's equivalent of the Grammy, the Deutche Phono- Akamemie's ECHO award for pianist of the year, and the Preis der Deutschen Schallplatten Kritik (German record critic's award). He followed it with My History of Jazz (2012), an album with both solo and trio performances whose release has also been met with critical acclaim.

His career has traversed the realms of classical music and jazz, the tasks of performer and composer, the roles of TV program host and concert organizer. To each endeavor he brings the same aesthetic and spirit, and finds his way to equally stunning results.

A natural phenomenon on keys

– Jazzthing