Calmer concert after capital

EMMA BAILEY
Last updated 08:27 24/07/2013
tuomas psyhonen
NATASHA MARTIN/ Fairfax NZ

INTERNATIONAL MUSICIAN: Finnish organist Tuomas Psyhonen performing at the Sacred Heart Basilica.

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Last night's concert at the Sacred Heart Basilica was a much calmer affair than the concert Tuomas Psyhonen gave during the earthquake in Wellington on Sunday.

The Finnish organist arrived in Timaru yesterday for his concert, after taking the ferry and driving down from shaky Wellington.

He was playing at a Lutheran church when the 6.5 magnitude quake stuck at 5.09pm.

"I stopped playing and we went into a room next door and they told me what to do in an earthquake. I had been in my bed when an earthquake struck at 7am that morning, it was the first earthquake I had ever felt."

Psyhonen has been playing the organ for 30 years, starting when he was 14. His father, a priest, encouraged him to follow in the steps of his grandfather who was an organist. Initially he wanted to be a composer, then a pianist but got into church music studies.

He tours in between studying toward his doctorate at Sibelius Academica in Finland, which he hopes to complete in 2015. He has also studied in Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and Britain and Sweden.

Psyhonen has worked as a church musician and performed internationally since 2002, and has also recorded for Finnish broadcasting on numerous occasions.

"Now I follow my instincts and play the music I like."

His next concert will be at the Dunedin Town Hall on Friday afternoon followed by a performance on Saturday afternoon at a Methodist church in Takapuna.

This was his first visit to New Zealand. The programme included Bach, Mozart, Salonen, and Psyhonen's own transcription of Schumann's Scenes from Childhood.

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- The Timaru Herald

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