Sten Heinoja is one of Estonia’s brightest musicians and internationally acclaimed pianist. He has been performing as a soloist as well as a chamber artist across the world, including India, China, United States, Israel, Russia, Japan and various European countries. Heinoja’s interpretation has been characterised by emotional intelligence, comprehensiveness and deep sense of musical development. His performances are thoughtful and full of excitement. It is his sincere enthusiasm for music that makes his performances so enjoyable.
Heinoja performs with various ensembles, orchestras and stage partners, which is why his yearly repertoire is varying and versatile. His musical approach is delicate, always searching for new prospects and sound qualities on the piano. A special place in his repertoire belongs to Viennese classics and solo and chamber music of the 20th century. As a solo pianist, he has performed works by Mozart, Beethoven and Scriabin, and as a chamber musician, he has performed works of various eras, among them French chamber music of the 20th century (Poulenc, Debussy, etc.). In recent years, his most important stage partner has been cellist Marcel Johannes Kits. Heinoja also belongs to the piano trio Hämarik with violinist Triin Ruubel-Lilleberg and cellist Theodor Sink. Their program includes works from the classical piano trio repertoire to the latest contemporary music.
In addition to chamber music, Heinoja often performs in front of orchestras, the most important of which are the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, Kymi Sinfonietta, Tallinn Chamber Orchestra, Tel Aviv Opera Orchestra, Järvi Academy Youth Orchestra, Moscow Chamber Orchestra, Estonian Sinfonietta, FLSO and Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra. Conductors under whom Heinoja has played include Olari Elts, Aldert Vermuelen, Andres Mustonen, Alexey Izmirliev, Eimear Noon, James Feddeck, Arvo Volmer, Tõnu Kaljuste and many others.
Heinojat has been successful in domestic as well as international competitions. In 2014, he won the VIII Estonian Pianist Competition (in addition, he was awarded 5 special prizes). In 2016, he was crowned the winner of the TV show Klassikatähed, which popularises classical music. His joy of making music and emphasis on the quality of a piano sound attracted a lot of attention from TV viewers. In 2018, he won first place at the Kendall Taylor Beethoven Competition in London. In the same year, Heinoja was selected to participate in the prestigious competition Honens 2018 in New York where he reached the quarterfinals. He has also been successful in chamber music competitions. In 2020 his duo with violinist Roberto Ruis won the prestigious Swiss Ambassador Award.
Heinoja became interested in playing the piano early in his childhood. Having seen a piano behind a shop window with his mother, a three-year-old Sten was sure that he wanted to play this instrument. He started taking piano lessons at the age of 4 at the Tallinn Music High School under the guidance of Maie Klesment, and continued at the same school in the piano class of Marju Roots. As a teenager, Heinoja began to be co-tutored by Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre professor Ivari Ilja, in whose class Sten obtained a bachelor’s degree cum laude in 2015. Heinoja was awarded a full scholarship at the Royal College of Music in London (supervised by Professor Vanessa Latarche and Sofya Gulyak). In 2017, he obtained a Master’s degree and in 2018 an Artist’s Diploma, both cum laude. Starting from 2021, Heinoja studies as a doctoral student at the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre and focuses on the possibilities of sound creation on the piano based on Mart Saare’s modernist piano compositions.
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