Presenting our musicians: Piia Maunula
Musician interview 7.2.2018
Piia Maunula, like many other children, began her career with the recorder. Later she found her instrument in the oboe, and more specifically, in the Baroque oboe.
A former first soprano, a mediocre Renaissance person.
Tell us about yourself.
I was born one hour before 7.7.-77 in Turku in Finland Proper. I inherited genes fit for a musician from my parents – my father worked in the brewing industry, and my mother sang in a choir. My first hobby was boating – I was on a sailboat for the first time when two weeks old, and I have been told I was wedged in the bunk with fenders in order not to fall down during the most challenging moments.
As a first-grader in primary school, after winning third prize in the school’s singing competition with the song “Pii pii little bird”, I decided I wanted to be in the music class. During breaks we would play plastic recorders in the school playground, which paid off, because later on I also won a recorder speed competition organised by the music teacher.
When I started in the music class, music quickly became a lifestyle and a hobby that filled up the whole weekly schedule. I began playing the violin, and we frequently performed with the string orchestra and the choir – in Turku Cathedral, in the Castle, in Kakola Prison – whatever places there were in Turku.
How did you end up with your instrument? Who or what made you choose it?
I was a great fan of Agatha Christie as a child, and I had read all her books before I turned nine. These murder stories were also what I most enjoyed watching on TV– and I happened to fall in love with the sound of the oboe immediately when I heard it in the signature tune for the screen adaptation of Jane Marple.
I remember asking my mother what that instrument was, and fortunately she knew. Oboe was not, however, an option in the music classes in Turku back then, so before this dream came true I had to play the violin for seven years.
During my professional studies in the modern oboe, I was introduced to the Baroque oboe. Once graduated, I started studying again with the Baroque oboe as my main instrument.
What inspires you as a musician and in life?
Authenticity – both in the music and in my musician colleagues. Skill, inspiration, enthusiasm. Talent, living in the moment. Brilliant, inspirational and eager leaders, beautiful melodies, perfect harmonies. People who realise that doing this job is first and foremost a privilege.
What other art form is close to your heart?
As the one who creates: literature and writing. As the one who experiences: in addition to the previously mentioned, Renaissance painting, Art Nouveau architecture, dressing vintage and Finnish 1960s glass design.
Which is your greatest musical dream?
During my lifetime, I would like to perform all oboe cantatas by father Bach, and Gran Partita by Mozart Jr. with period instruments, and sing Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater once more. I would also like to be a good boy soprano.
Which is your favourite travel destination, and why?
Italy. I feel I was born in the wrong country, and I have some sort of a trans-identity what comes to nationality. It is always nice to go to Italy, and the Italian language is the most beautiful in the world.
In what kind of a place does your soul find rest?
In a vintage clothing store, in Turku archipelago, in a little Italian village.
How do you feel your art is affecting society at large?
I believe that as musicians, we have a great chance to affect, at least indirectly, by setting the example and by emphasizing certain values.
Why do you enjoy playing music that is over 300 years old?
The sensibilities and nuances, that period instruments at their best are capable of, are often notably richer that than those of 21st century modern mass produced instruments. On the other hand, the music of those times is so magical that I haven’t yet encountered anything superior.
Choose your favourite among FiBO’s spring 2018 concerts, and motivate your choice.
All concerts are lovely, but I especially look forward to Vergnügte Ruh, beliebte Seelenlust in February. Bach’s cantatas are possibly the most beautiful music in the world, and it’s always fantastic to play at the House of Nobility. And when the second concert is in Turku Cathedral, there is nothing more to wish for.
Do you have a “secret” special skill?
I have studied writing at the Critical Academy, I read Tarot cards, and I recently joined Mensa.
If you had to run the Cooper test or bake for a party of 30 people, which would you choose?
The run, please.