Finlandia Foundation National named violinist and composer Sara Pajunen of Minnesota as 2015 Performer of the Year (POY).
The classically-trained musician draws on the music of her heritage in what she calls “progressive yet reverent ways.” Sara is a native of Minnesota’s Iron Range, where she experienced Finnish folk music as a child. She earned a bachelor’s degree in classical violin performance from the University of Minnesota and a Solo Studies degree from Stadia in Helsinki, Finland.
With a grant from FFN she studied folk music in Finland and became interested in melding the past of her Finnish ancestors with the present. In 2014 Pajunen created a multimedia and interactive piece called Laatikko/Box, which combines materials drawn from Finnish-American archives and music, voices and electronics.
Her recordings include an album of Finnish tangos and collaborations with the duos Aallotar and Kaivama, and she has studied, toured and recorded with Finland’s top folk musicians. Pajunen has been called “an amazingly versatile musician who now counts among the most ambitious and notable practitioners of Finnish folk music outside of Finland.”
FFN chapters interested in arranging an appearance by Sara should contact POY Coordinator Betsey Norgard, norgard @ paulbunyan.net
Sara Pajunen’s Performer of the Year appearances for 2015-2016
September: Finnish-Americans and Friends (Hibbing Chapter), Virginia, Minnesota
November 21: Finlandia Foundation Florida, Lake Worth
January 24: The Finnish-American Club of Tucson
March 13: Finnish Center Association, Farmington Hills, Michigan
March 20: Finnish-American Society of the Midwest, Chicago
April 2: Finnish American Society of West-Central Michigan, Coopersville
May 9: First Lutheran Church, hosted by Finnish-American Society of Cape Cod, West Barnstable, MA
May 11: Finger Lakes Finns, Ithaca, New York
May 14: Finnish Heritage House, South Thomaston, Maine
For more information about the artist: www.sarapajunen.com