Folke Gräsbeck studied the piano at the Turku Conservatory from 1962 until 1974 as a pupil of Tarmo Huovinen, and won first prize in the Maj Lind Competition in 1973, at the age of seventeen. He has also made several study trips to London, where he was a private pupil of Maria Curcio-Diamand, who in her turn was a pupil of Arthur Schnabel. At the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki his teachers included Erik T. Tawaststjerna. Gräsbeck gained his M. Mus. degree from the Sibelius Academy in 1997, and his D. Mus. there in 2008 on the subject of ‘The Piano in Sibelius’s Youth Production’. Since 1985 Gräsbeck has worked as a permanent accompanist/lecturer at the Sibelius Academy. He has performed more than thirty piano concertos, and in 1971 he made his Helsinki début with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Okko Kamu. In May 2014 Gräsbeck performed Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Lebanese Philharmonic Orchestra. He has appeared as a recitalist, chamber musician and Lieder accompanist in countries including the USA, Egypt, Israel, United Arab Emirates, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mexico and Japan.
Gräsbeck plays a major part in the complete Sibelius Edition project for BIS Records, participating on 24 discs including the complete solo piano music (10 CDs) and discs of songs, works with solo instruments and with choir. He also gave the first piano recital at the Sibelius Hall in Lahti in 2000, with a programme consisting exclusively of Sibelius piano music premières. His repertoire also includes Sibelius’s Piano Quintet, four piano quartets and five piano trios. Gräsbeck has performed 397 out of Sibelius’s total of approx. 600 works, plus fragments, and has given the first performances of 90 of them. Among his distinctions are the Order of the Lion of Finland (2009) and the Sibelius Medal of the Sibelius Society of Finland (2014). Since 2002 he has been artistic director of the Sibelius in Korpo festival.