Professor Matti Rantanen (b.1952) is one of the leading figures on the international classical accordion scene. He has performed as a soloist and a chamber musician in many international music festivals around the world including Amsterdam, Moscow, Toronto, Reykjavik, Paris, Budapest and Helsinki.
Among the many celebrated musicians he has worked with can be named conductors Esa-Pekka Salonen, Sakari Oramo, Jorma Panula, Juha Kangas and John Storgårds, percussionist Tim Ferchen, flutist Mikael Helasvuo, barytone Jorma Hynninen, clarinetist Kari Kriikku, harpsichordist Jukka Tiensuu, cellist Marko Ylönen and New Helsinki- and Jean Sibelius-quartets. Matti Rantanen’s playing has inspired over 30 Finnish composers to write for accordion. Among of them are Einojuhani Rautavaara, Aulis Sallinen, Magnus Lindberg, Jukka Tiensuu, Harri Wessman, Jouni Kaipainen, Erkki Jokinen, Timo-Juhani Kyllönen, Per-Henrik Nordgren, Heikki Valpola, Jarmo Sermilä, Ilkka Kuusisto, Tapio Tuomela, Tapio Nevanlinna, Otto Romanowski and Harri Vuori.
He began playing at the age of five, and graduated from the University of Helsinki with degree in musicology, pedagogics and aesthetics in 1974. He also studied at the Royal Academy of Music in Copenhagen with Mogens Ellegaard. When the Sibelius-Academy made the decision to accept the accordion in 1977, Matti Rantanen was appointed the head of accordion studies. His school has built up a great international reputation, and its students have won ca. 20 first prizes in international competitions.