Annika Lumi, Soprano
Annika Lumi, a native of Estonia, began her singing studies at the Music
Academy of Estonia in 2002. In 2005 she was accepted to the Sibelius Academy Department
of Vocal Music, and since 2008 she has been pursuing a master of music degree
in opera performance, opera singing, Lied, and oratorio music.
Annika says her mother inspired her to study music
and she started playing
the piano at age six. Following high school she decided to study classical
singing after winning a classical- lied competition in Estonia.
interesting to be musician," Annika notes. "There is no routine; all the time I
have to learn something new. I feel alive doing that."
Annika will complete her master's degree in spring
Sibelius Academy is one of the largest music universities in Europe and offers
the highest level of music education, including post-graduate studies," she
says. "The most important thing for me is that I'll get very good music
education from the Sibelius Academy, where I have opportunities to study opera
singing, baroque singing, Lied-singing, and vocal pedagogy. These all will give
me a good base for my career."
are many ways to have a job as a singer," Annika notes. "Most of all I like to
sing and perform, but voice isn´t always the most important thing. You must be
in good shape, technically correct, good looking, and you have to sell
says that the best vocal teacher she has studied with is Marjut Hannula.
has taught me a lot, and especially good vocal technique," Annika says of
Marjut Hannula. "Without good vocal technique, it is quite hard to survive as a
singer. Vocal technique helps you feel that singing is easy and you can express
yourself musically more fully."
performances are always challenging and Annika enjoys playing different roles.
She recalls a particularly memorable performance singing the role of Ginevra in
Händel's opera "Ariodante."
had a fantastic producer who had phenomenal ideas for the entire three hour, 45
minute opera," she explains. "The role was psychically very hard for me, and
sometimes I cried after a performance because it was so touching and I had to
provide so much from myself. But I felt so good in this role; I love baroque
music and I learned so many new things about myself."
feels that music is one of the most important things in our lives. "Actually,
everything is music. You must only listen," she says. "Music is therapy,
beauty, quietness, loudness, emotion, feeling, air, imagination, and LOVE! When
one is enjoying music, everything is fine!"
2008 Annika was a semi-finalist in the Con Brio music competition; she received
third prize in
the 2007 Mart Saar Lied competition; and in 2005 was awarded second prize in
the Henrik Krumm Young Singers Competition, all in her homeland of Estonia. She
placed first in the 2001 Kerttu Piirtoga Juvenalia-Chamber Music Competition in
a soprano soloist, Annika has performed in Finland, Estonia, Australia, and the
United States, singing compositions by J.S. Bach and G.F. Händel, in particular.
Her opera roles include Barbarina in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro (Pori Opera,
Finland, 2005); Valencienne in Lehar's Die lustige Witwe (The Merry Widow) (
Siba opera, Finland, 2008); Ginevra in Händel's Ariodante (Siba opera, Finland
2009); and Eleanor in Rautavaara's The house of the sun" (Siba opera, Finland
and Austin, Texas 2009). She has presented numerous Lied recitals in Finland,
Estonia, the United States, and Australia.
enjoys cooking, entertaining, decorating her home, and taking good care of her
husband. "Oh, I'm a real housewife when I'm not performing or practicing!" she
says. Annika also loves to travel.
Annika's husband is also a trained singer, but he
now works in the tourism industry. "We sing very often together and we have performed
as an operetta-duo in many concerts in the U.S.A., Australia, Finland, and
Estonia," Annika says.
"He understands the life of a musician very well,"
Annika says of her husband. "He supports me a lot."
is looking forward to the new challenges she will experience while performing as
part of this year's Sibelius Academy Music Festival. "And it's a good
opportunity perform Nordic music in the U.S.A., and especially Finnish music."
performed in the U.S. in 2006 and 2009 in states including New York,
Washington, Maryland, and Texas.
am most looking forward to a fantastic audience and nice, happy people all
around," Annika concludes. "It's what I experience every time I visit the U.S.A."
Maarja Plink, Pianist
completed a master's of music degree in piano at the Sibelius Academy in 2009,
supplementing her studies at the Berlin Hanns Eisler Music Academy in 2007 and
2008. She has also attended a number of international master classes.
the 2009-2010 academic year, Maarja worked as a piano teacher in Kotka, a small
city in southern Finland. "I enjoyed teaching very much," she says. "But I felt
that something was missing,"
a pianist, Maarja has worked with singers for many years. She is also
interested in opera music, so she decided to apply to the Sibelius Academy
Vocal Department and continue her education.
vocal coaching and accompaniment is the focus of Maarja's education. She is
studying to become a correpetitor (a vocal coach and accompanist), which Marrja
says has completely changed her life.
didn't know that pianists can do so many things!" she says of her correpetitor studies.
"It's not just playing the piano anymore. I'm also studying singing, languages,
conducting, and acting. My days are very long, but never the same. It's very
interesting and I'm happy about my decision to study a bit more. I really love it!"
past summer, Maarja got some hands-on experience in her new field, working as a
vocal coach assistant and correpetitor at the Savonlinna (Finland) Opera Music
was born in Estonia and began her piano studies there. When she was eight years
old, she and her family moved to Finland. Maarja's father is a pianist and her
brother plays the cello. Her mother is a doctor.
has always been there, so I always knew what I wanted to do: I wanted to become
a pianist!" Maarja says. "My whole family has been very supportive and I feel
that I've been lucky."
high school, Maarja moved to Helsinki and began her advanced studies at the
had many teachers in my life," Maarja notes. "But I think one of the most
important was Professor Matti Raekallio, who now works as a professor at the
Juilliard School of Music, New York. He was very demanding but positive, and working
with him was detailed and productive. I'm very thankful that I had an
opportunity to study with him."
has performed in Finland, Estonia, and Germany with orchestras including the
Kouvola City Orchestra, the Kymi Sinfoniettaga, and the PKMO Symphony
won the first prize at the Juvenalia chamber music competition in 2001, and she
has performed as soloist with Kouvola City Orchestra, Kymi Sinfonietta, and
PKMO Symphony Orchestra.
recalls in particular an orchestra performances for which she played the second
piano concerto of Rachmaninov. "Such a beautiful concerto, such a great experience!"
she says of that memory. "Those kinds of moments are the ones you remember the
rest of your life!"
loves to make music with others; she loves to play chamber music, and she loves
accompany singers. Her days are very long, but she says that she likes to work
a lot. In her free time she enjoys reading and nature.
I love travelling!" she adds. "This is my first time to visit U.S.A. and I'm
looking forward it! I'm sure it will be a great experienc