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Timo-Veikko 'Tipi' Valve grew up in Helsinki, surrounded by a family who were “musical, but not musicians”, and who wanted music lessons to be a part of their children’s lives. Tipi was encouraged to pick up the cello because one of the teachers at the local music school, upon seeing him as a toddler, declared that he “looks like a cellist.” Tipi is still not sure what this actually means.

Tipi describes the Australian Chamber Orchestra as his “first and only job to date”. His audition for the Orchestra was also his first and only professional audition, done while he was nearing the end of his studies at the Edsberg Music Institute in Stockholm. He jokes that it was appealing that the audition was for a position in Australia, because if he “totally crashed and burned”, no-one at home would ever find out.

Tipi has been the Principal Cello of the ACO for fourteen years. He describes playing with a small, tightly-knit community of people as the natural habitat for someone with his musical personality, and says the close relationship he formed with his ACO colleagues, old and new, was instant.

He currently plays a 1616 Brothers Amati cello which is lent to him exclusively from the ACO Instrument Fund. Valve contributed in finding the instrument for the fund and himself, which he says is important, because the relationship between a player and their instrument is like “a marriage of some sort.” He says, “I’ve been playing the Amati for over three years now, which in the lifespan of a relationship between a musician and their instrument is early days. We’re still getting to know each other, but I knew immediately it was an instrument of immense power and great agility. The combination makes for a sound that is completely transformative.”

Tipi describes the cello as a flexible and adaptive instrument, both in its role in an ensemble or as a soloist across all forms of music. As a player Tipi reflects this versatility, enjoying a varied career as a musician across Australia and abroad.

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