Born: December 18, 1869 - Turku, Finland
Died: February 4, 1947 - Helsinki, Finland
The pianist, conductor, arranger, teacher and critic, Karl Ludvig Ekman, was born to the Kantor Berndt Ludvig Ekman and Charlotta Nyström. Ekman graduated from high school in 1889 and studied German language and aesthetics at the University of Helsinki from 1889 to 1892. He studied piano playing and music first studied with Turussa Vivika Ekmanin, who was not related to his pupil. He sudied at the Helsinki Music Institute from 1889 to 1892; among his teachers there were Ferruccio Busoni, William Dayes, Richard Faltin and Martin Wegelius. He continued his studies from 1892 to 1895 in Berlin, piano playing and composition with Hans Barth and Albert Becker, as well as in Vienna with Alfred Grünfeldin. Later, he studied also in Paris and Rome.
Karl Ekman began his professional career as a piano teacher at the Helsinki Music College in 1895 and then served from 1907 to 1912. From 1912 to 1920 he directed the Turku Music Society Orchestra, and from 1920 to 1930 he was music critic of Hufvudstadsblabet. In the capital, he led the symphony concerts and organized for a number of years the chamber music series. He also served as conductor of the Swedish Theatre. In who received the title of professor.
For a long time, Karl Ekman was considered Finland's most respected concert pianist and an accomplished orchestral soloist, who was the first in Finland to start the modern piano technique teaching. He got married in 1895 with soprano Ida Morduchin. They made a number of tours in their homeland and abroad. The performed in Scandinavia, Spain and Portugal.
Karl Ekman arranged and published the folk songs for piano, violin, voice, mixed choir, male choir and string orchestra. He collected folk songs and folk poetry, especially from the Åland Islands. In addition, he arranged J.S. Bach's compositions for piano, including the 31 Preludes and Fugues. He also made arrangements for piano and orchestra, including of Sibelius's piano pieces.
Karl Ekman played once chamber music concert with Jean Sibelius. It happened in Tammisaaressa (the Oak Island) in the summer of 1891. Both were short of money, so they decided to organize a concert. The programme included the premiere of Sibelius's Romance for violin and piano, Op. 2.
Karl and Ida Ekmanís son is the historian Karl Ekman.