Supported by The Diessl Family
Born and raised in Finland, Vesa-Matti Leppänen relocated to New Zealand in 2000. In 2002, he was appointed as the Concertmaster of the NZSO, a position he has held since then.
Leppänen has dedicated over 20 years of his life to working alongside his colleagues to grow the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra into the globally renowned symphony orchestra it is today. The orchestra is known for its friendly and adaptable group of exceptional musicians who are highly regarded for their pursuit of musical excellence. Leppänen's contributions to this never-ending search for musical inspiration have brought him not only acclaim as a concertmaster but also as a soloist, chamber musician, and tutor on an international scale.
He has performed as soloist with all the major orchestras in New Zealand. With the NZSO, he has performed several concertos as well as works by leading New Zealand composers. In 2005 he led the NZSO on its European/Japanese Tour and again in 2010, including unforgettable performances in the Musikverein in Vienna and Lucerne Festival Hall. On both of those tours he was also featured as a soloist.
Internationally, Leppänen has appeared as a soloist, chamber musician and concertmaster in Australia, China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong, Philippines and Scandinavia and has had the privilege of serving as a guest concertmaster for numerous esteemed orchestras. These include the Sydney and Melbourne Symphony Orchestras, the Japan Philharmonic, Orchestra Ensemble Kanazawa, the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, KBS Symphony Orchestra, the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, and Avanti! Chamber Orchestra.
Leppänen's career has been marked by a wide range of chamber music projects, working with outstanding musicians, composers, and ensembles both in New Zealand and internationally. His most recent and long-term collaborations include contemporary music group Stroma and a piano trio with pianist Diedre Irons and Andrew Joyce, principal cellist of the NZSO.
Vesa-Matti Leppänen plays a 1755 G.B. Guadagnini violin. This exceptional instrument was made available to him thanks to the wonderful generosity and support of Ainsley Walter, Mark Stewart, and the NZSO Foundation.