Elina Vähälä (born 15 October 1975 in Iowa City, the United States) is a Finnish classical violinist.
Vähälä began her violin studies at the age of three at the Lahti conservatory where her teachers were Seppo Reinikainen and Pertti Sutinen. She also studied at the Kuhmo Violin School with Zinaida Gilels, Ilya Grubert and Pavel Vernikov. At the Sibelius Academy Vähälä's teacher was Tuomas Haapanen.
Vähälä made her concerto debut aged 12 with the Lahti Symphony. The very orchestra, under leadership of Osmo Vänskä, nominated her as "The Young Master Soloist" for the season 1993/94. Since then Vähälä has collaborated with the Lahti Symphony on regular basis, performing as their soloist also on tours in Sweden, UK, South America and Central Europe.
Elina Vähälä is the winner of the 1999 Young Concert Artists International Auditions in New York. She gave her New York debut at the 92nd Street Y in 1999 to critical acclaim. Vähälä has performed with orchestras including Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Turku and Tampere Philharmonic as well as Minnesota Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra, Nashville Symphony Orchestra and Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra. She has worked with conductors Leonard Slatkin, Okko Kamu, Sakari Oramo, Sir Jeffrey Tate, Eiji Oue, Carlos Kalmar, Jukka-Pekka Saraste, Leif Segerstam, Hannu Lintu, Jakub Hrusa, and toured throughout the UK, Germany, China, Korea and North and South America. In 2008 she was chosen to perform at the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony which was televised to a worldwide audience.
Elina Vähälä has given world premieres of Aulis Sallinen's Chamber Concerto and Curtis Curtis-Smith's Double Concerto, both written for her and pianist-conductor Ralf Gothóni. In addition, Vähälä gave the Nordic first performance of John Corigliano’s Violin Concerto The Red Violin and commissioned a new violin concerto from composer Jaakko Kuusisto. Both the Corgiliano and Kuusisto concertos were recorded for BIS in 2012 and released in 2013.
In September 2015 Vähälä performed the rarely heard early version of Sibelius's Violin Concerto with the Finnish Radio Orchestra, conducted by Hannu Lintu.
Vähälä is a founding member of Violin Academy (Viuluakatemia Ry). Funded by the Finnish Cultural Foundation, the academy is a master class based educational project for selected, highly talented young Finnish violinists.
- Griffiths, Paul (1999-10-15). "MUSIC REVIEW; A Violinist With Technique And a Tone of Many Colors". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-03-19.
- "Sublime". www.sublime.fi. Retrieved 2016-03-19.
- "ICA - International Classical Artists | Elina Vähälä". www.icartists.co.uk. Retrieved 2016-03-19.
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