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He listens to his singer, he is obviously aware of the texts of the songs and through color and dynamic variation manages to be much more than an accompanist. He can set a mood instantly. Often a piano is an inadequate substitute for an orchestra in Mahlers songs, but not so here. His first-rate playing elicits ravishing sounds from the piano setting the scenes perfectly. Swedish pianist Matti Hirvonen has specialized as a collaborative pianist since he was a student, and is today widely regarded as one of the leading accompanists in Scandinavia, equally comfortable in all forms of chamber music. Hirvonen studied piano, accompaniment, and chamber music at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, Royal College of Music in Stockholm, and privately in London. He has also performed extensively in Japan. Previously, he was professor of accompaniment at the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo and has held similar positions at the Royal Colleges of Music in London and Stockholm.