Musician of the Week – Cello Player Perttu Kivilaakso

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From the very first time that I was exposed to Apocalyptica’s music, Perttu has fascinated me the most. At first it was for obvious reasons (:D), but he is an extremely talented musician.

The musical prodigy Perttu Päivö Kullervo Kivilaakso was born on the 11th of May 1978 in Helsinki, Finland. Like fellow band members Eicca Toppinen and Paavo Lötjönen he attended Sibelius Academy in Helsinki. He started playing the cello when he was only 5 years old after witnessing his father Juhani Kivilaakso perform at the Savonlinna Opera Festival. Perttu joined Apocalyptica in 1994 when he was only 16. When the band started their professional career Perttu decided to concentrate on his studies. He won third place in the Paulo Cello Competition in 1996, and joined the Helsinki Philarmonic Orchestra. Perttu attained a  lifetime chair in the Helsinki Philharmonic orchestra,  where his father, Juhani,is also a cellist. He played alongside his father and many other talented musicians. In 1999 Perttu rejoined the band when they were making preparations to record for the album “Cult” and he replaced Antero Manninen who left the band. He was on indefinite leave while he was touring with Apocalyptica,  but in 2007 he made the decision to leave the Helsinki Philarmonic Orchestra and to concentrate on achieving international success with Apocalyptica.

Perttu was part of the band line-up when their third album “Cult” was released in 2000.

Perttu listened to opera since childhood and he is a true aficionado. His favourite composer is G. Verdi and favourite opera is Il Trovatore.
He loves metal (Amon Amarth, Judas Priest, Immortal, Testament, Slayer, Metallica, Napalm Death, Rammstein). He learned to appreciate rock (U2, Muse), blues (Aretha Franklin) and all sorts of music. Perttu likes to read a lot and his favourite author is JRR Tolkien, but he also likes to read books written by Stephen King and H.Hesse. Perttu’s other hobbies consist of watching horror movies and playing video games. Perttu is a huge fan of The Lord of the Rings Trilogy and he has had 3 tattoos done to prove it. He has Aragorn’s sword tattooed on his left arm, Witch king of Angmar on his right shoulder, Aragorn and Arwen’s kissing scene on his left side. Perttu has composed music for the video game Max Payne 2: The Fall Of Max Payne, a few documentaries and he has done some original compositions for Apocalyptica including “Conclusion”, “Farewell” and “Beautiful”.

I find Perttu inspiring because he has dedicated his entire life to perfecting his craft. He has never denied an opportunity where he could gain more knowledge and experience to improve his skills. He has stopped at nothing to follow his dream and I think that is something that few people can attest to.

Rock Regards,

Lauren K

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