Finnish virtuoso is fighting for his life

Finnish virtuoso is fighting for his life


norman lebrecht

January 08, 2022

The Finnish violinist Pekka Kuusisto has posted this message about his brother Kaakko, also a violinist, who is desperately ill:

Friends, all people dear to Jaakko –
Jaakko’s illness, the unfair and bastardly adversary known as a brain tumor, has progressed.
Jaakko has begun a long hospitalisation yesterday.
Jaakko will now have to let go of his work as well as his duties as a public servant. Uttering that sentence is excruciatingly difficult, and like so many things related to Jaakko’s illness, is only possible to process in small portions, very slowly.
His artistic work is managed by Tiina Vihtkari and Pia Raitala, and these extraordinary ladies will now contact everyone with whom Senator Kuusisto was planning to work.
(I’m calling him Senator as he is in fact a member of the city government in Oulu, Finland!)
In matters related to our company Tactus Oy, for instance related to rental materials, please contact Maija Kuusisto.
Jaakko’s path as a brain tumor patient has been lit by lucky stars in the sense that the physical symptoms that often accompany this illness have been absent. He has met his diagnosis by listening solely to experts, and working in the service of music with all the dedication he is recognised for.
Jaakko has also been surrounded by a love of the greatest kind, and in that love, during these dark days, even the disgraceful brain tumor meets its victor. Love truly reigns.
During the last two weeks, there has been a change in Jaakko’s condition. His short-term memory has all but vanished, and his long-term memories have combined into a wondrous tapestry of experiences, which now forms Jaakko’s picture of the world. Jaakko is not constantly fixed to our reality in a way that would break that picture.
No-one knows what’s next, and when, but at the moment, Jaakko’s life looks mostly like this:
This peerless man lives a festive life constructed of his dearest and most beautiful memories; a life full of friends and loved ones, chamber music festivals, suites at spa hotels, voyages on the sea, glamorous orchestral projects, political discourse, fancy desserts and beverages, painting the town red.
Jaakko’s doctors have recommended that he not use a phone or the internet, but all messages, for instance ones written below here, will be delivered to him and certainly met with joy. Due to covid restrictions, visitors outside of immediate family member are not allowed.
Jaakko’s tradition has been to thank the Oulu University Hospital staff for treatment exemplary in all respects, and we will now continue that tradition.
Embrace your loved ones!

Picture from lake Saimaa, August 2021


  • Russell Ward says:

    The material from which we are made was born in the stars; it is the stars to which we return.

  • Susan Bradley says:

    Heartbreaking to read. I hope things work out in whatever way they can for you.

  • Bonetti Micaela says:

    Auguri di cuore, Jaakko.
    Grazie, Pekko. Che bella persona è, Lei!
    Coraggio a tutti e due e ai vostri cari!

  • dd says:

    encore une fois a la Dmitri Hvorostovsky…
    emf dangers have been documented since the 1950’s…

    Mobile Phones Cause Heat Tumors, Court Rules
    2020-01-15, Newsweek…

    On Wednesday, a Turin, Italy court of appeals agreed with a 2017 lower court ruling stating that excessive mobile phone usage causes brain tumors. “There are solid elements to affirm a causal role between the exposure of the person to radio frequencies from mobile phones and the disease that arose,” read the ruling in part, translation from Italian provided by The Guardian . The case in question was filed by former Telecom Italia worker Roberto Romeo, 59, against Italy’s National Institute for Insurance Against Workplace Accidents (INAIL), a national insurance provider. Romeo testified that he used cell phones for four to five hours daily during the average work week. He was employed by Telecom Italia for 15 years before he was diagnosed with a benign tumor, neurinoma of the acoustic nerve. He contracted meningitis after the removal of the nerve, as well as suffering damage to 23 percent of his other bodily functions.
    … Two court-appointed doctors subsequently provided testimony for Romeo’s case during the appeals process, producing studies which declared that individuals who spoke on their phones for an average of 30 minutes a day … increased their risk of developing head tumors.

  • JoAnn Falletta says:

    Dearest Jaakko
    We treasure the week you gave us in Buffalo, and the wonderful trumpet concerto you wrote for Alex. That piece, like your violin concerto which we premiered in New York, will live forever. The musicians of the Buffalo Philharmonic and I send you our deepest thanks and love. May love surround you always, dear friend

  • Leonardo Godefroid says:

    I was just now listening to the music of Sibelius performed by Kuusisto, when I read this sad message. I wish comfort for the whole family.

  • Geoff Hayes says:

    My thoughts are with you Jaakko. You were the Leader of the Lahti Symphony Orchestra when I was an audience member from Australia during several memorable Sibelius Festivals. You were kind enough to autograph one of my programme books after a concert. Recently Benjamin Northey of the Melbourne Symphony persuaded me to order a CD of your Violin Concerto. (Benjamin was previously a musician studying in Helsinki for some years)

  • Gary R Principato says:

    May Jesus Christ bless you and comfort you.