Perttu Kivilaakso performing with Apocalyptica at the Ilosaarirock, 2009
Perttu Päivö Kullervo Kivilaakso (born 11 May 1978 in Helsinki, Finland) is a cello player for Finnish band Apocalyptica. Like fellow band members Eicca Toppinen and Paavo Lötjönen, he attended Sibelius Academy in Helsinki. He plays a German 19th century cello; he started playing the cello when he was 5 years old and joined Apocalyptica for their third studio album Cult. Kivilaakso played in Apocalyptica's 1995 line up, but he was concentrating on his studies when the band began their professional career. At the end of 1999 he came back, switching places with Antero Manninen, who then went to play in a classical orchestra.
Kivilaakso has received many prizes and awards during his life as a classical cellist. Among them is winning third place in the world-renowned second International Paulo Cello Competition in 1996 at age 18. Shortly afterward, he attained a lifetime chair in the Helsinki Philharmonic orchestra, where his father, Juhani, is also a cellist. He was on indefinite leave while touring with Apocalyptica, but in 2007, made the decision to leave the Helsinki Philharmonic and concentrate on achieving international fame for Apocalyptica.
Kivilaakso is an opera buff, which began while attending performances as a very young child at the annual Savonlinna Opera Festival. His father would play in the orchestra, and young Kivilaakso was entranced by both the music and the performances. Kivilaakso was three when he first asked his mother what he had to do to get onstage. He has a huge collection of opera recordings, including many rare and hard-to-find ones. His favourite composer is Italian Giuseppe Verdi, and his favourite opera is Il Trovatore.