The naturally high and clear tone of Simo Mäkinen's lyric tenor voice is enhanced by his energetic stage presence and his versatile musicianship. Simo's varied and extensive repertoire encompasses opera, theatre, chamber music, oratorio and modern vocal music.
Simo Mäkinen (born in Finland in 1982) graduated as a Master of Music from the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, where he studied with Monica Groop and Anssi Hirvonen. Simo then worked with Susanna Eken at the Copenhagen Royal Academy. He has participated in numerous masterclasses, most notable were those led by Karita Mattila, Elisabeth Werres, and Sir Thomas Allen, and he took part in the Académie du Festival d'Aix-en-Provence.
During his studies and through experience gained from masterclasses Simo developed a real affinity for the music of J.S. Bach and of Benjamin Britten. His voice is also very well suited to modern repertoire.
Since Simo's Finnish National Opera debut in 2010, where he sang in Ilkka Kuusisto's Gabriel, tule takaisin! (Gabriel, come back!), he has performed more than 20 opera roles, including the title role in Britten's Albert Herring. At Sibelius Academy, Simo sang the main role in Olli Kortekangas' One Night Stand and, at the Seinäjoki City Theatre, Simo was seen in the role of Hassan in Ryästö Lakeurelta (a Finnish theatre version of Mozart's Die Entführung aus dem Serail where Simo's role was Pedrillo). In 2015 Simo made his debut as Don Ottavio in Mozart’s Don Giovanni at Jyväskylä Theatre where his performance in the production was very well received. During Summer 2016 Simo performed at Ilmajoki Music Festival where he could be heard in two roles (Robert Kajanus and Aarre Merikanto) in Jaakko Kuusisto’s opera about the Finnish composer Oskar Merikanto.
In addition to his extensive experience in opera, Simo is a sought-after and accomplished oratorio singer (specialising in Bach's Passions) though he is just as proficient and skilled within the chamber music repertoire. Simo has performed with the Lahti Symphony Orchestra, Tapiola Sinfonietta, Oulu Symphony Orchestra, Jyväskylä Symphony Orchestra, the Oratorio Orchestra, the Finnish Chamber Orchestra, the Finnish Baroque Orchestra, the Sibelius Academy Baroque Orchestra and Mikkeli’s city orchestra St. Michel Strings, working with such well-respected musicians as Mikko Franck, Peter Schreier, Hannu Lintu, Marc Soustrot, Thomas Hannikainen, Ismo Eskelinen, Ville Matvejeff, both Jaakko and Pekka Kuusisto, and Pasi Hyökki.
Simo has cooperated on Lied projects with pianists Ralf Gothoni and Ilmo Ranta, and with guitarist Otto Tolonen.
Simo's musical education started at an early age as, before becoming a singer, he played violin. Simo studied to become a violin teacher and he graduated with a Bachelor of Music from Helsinki Polytechnic Stadia. These early studies have given him a solid and rich musical foundation, and he is confident working in English, German and Swedish.
Simo can be heard on Ondine's recording of Berio's Sinfonia for 8 voices and orchestra, with Hannu Lintu conducting the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra. Simo has also performed as a soloist on the 2012 recording of Lux Aurumque with the YL Male Voice Choir, and on Helsinki Academic Male Choir's 2013 recording of Larin-Kyösti's Elämän kertoja (The Narrator of Life).
In 2008 Simo won third prize in the Kangasniemi Singing Competition. He was awarded a scholarship from the Martti Talvela Foundation, and given a Pro Musica scholarship.
When he is not performing Simo can be found fly fishing and spending time with his family.