Vesa-Matti Leppänen is Concertmaster of the NZSO. After completing his studies at the Turku Conservatory and Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, he joined the Turku Philharmonic Orchestra, one of the oldest symphony orchestras in Europe. At only 16 years of age, he won the prestigious Heinonen National Violin Competition for young violinists and the same year joined Concordo String Quartet, which went on to win a special prize at the 1989 Tulindberg International String Quartet Competition. Since moving to New Zealand in 2000, Vesa-Matti Leppänen has toured the country as NZSO Concertmaster, soloist and chamber musician, working alongside internationally renowned soloists such as Pinchas Zukerman, Hillary Hahn and Lang-Lang. Leppänen has also performed as a featured soloist with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Auckland Philharmonia and Christchurch Symphony and his solo engagements in New Zealand have included concertos by Mozart, Sibelius, Lalo and Prokofiev.