The Finnish soprano Ilona Jokinen (b. 1981) graduated with a Master of Music from the Sibelius Academy’s Vocal Music Degree Program in 2009 with excellent grades. She began her vocal training in Lahti, Finland in 1997 with Leena Pulkki and completed the master studies with Pirkko Törnqvist-Paakkanen and Ritva Auvinen. Since then, she has intensified her music studies with Tom Krause and attended master classes by Dorothy Irving, Sherril Milnes, Joan Dornemann and Jorma Hynninen, to mention a few. Her instructors in Lied music include Heikki Pellinen, Ilmo Ranta and Rudolf Jansen.
Ilona Jokinen has been praised for her bright soprano, dazzling stage charisma, diverse vocal skills and versatile repertory. Jokinen won the third prize at the Toivo Kuula singing competition in 2012. She gained the special award at the Lappeenranta National Singing Competition in 2008 and won the third prize at the Merikanto Singing Competition at Art Center Salmela in 2005. In 2004, she was among the finalists in the Timo Mustakallio Singing Competition. Together with pianist Asta Onnila, they have won the first prize in the national series of the Nordic Pentti Koskimies Lied Competition and the second prize in the Erkki Melartin Lied Competition.
While at the university, Ilona Jokinen was selected for the joint sponsor program of Sibelius Academy and TeliaSonera Finland for the period of 2004 to 2007. She has also received art sponsorships from the Finnish Culture Foundation, the Arts Council of Finland, Selim Eskelin Foundation and Jorma&Märtha Sihvola Foundation.
Ilona Jokinen made her professional breakthrough at the Savonlinna Opera Festival in 2006 as Young Shepherd in Wagner’s Tannhäuser. A year later, she sang the role of Vera in Isän tyttö (Daddy’s Girl) by Olli Kortekangas. Her debut at the Finnish National Opera followed in the fall of 2007 as Fransquita in Bizet’s Carmen.
Ilona Jokinen has gained a larger audience by performing in new Finnish operas. In 2009-2013 she performed in Auringonkukat (Sunflowers) by Atso Almila in Finnish National Opera. In 2008, she sang the role of Thyra in Kimmo Hakola's Vierivä kivi (Rolling Stone) that had its world premiere on the historical Alhstrom's industry area in Noormarkku, Finland. In 2006, she sang the role of Kaisa in Pinus Sylvestris by Timo Alakotila. The opera had a successful tour around Finland.
In the opera productions at Sibelius Academy, Ilona Jokinen’s roles included: Susanna (Le nozze di Figaro), Serpetta (La finta giardiniera), Serpina (Pergolesi: La serva padrona) and Carolina (Cimarosa: Il matrimonio segreto).
Besides opera, Ilona Jokinen enjoys performing at the theater and on concert stages. In 2006, she did Hodel’s role in Fiddler on the Roof with Opera Verso and in 2009 she was seen as Katerina Cavalier in Amadeus at Lilla Teatern in Helsinki.
She has performed as a soloist in many major sacred works (e.g. J.S Bach's Passion of St. John, St. Matthew, Christmas Oratorio and Mozart's Requiem) with many Finnish main orchestras and choirs such as Sinfonia Lahti and Cantores Minores. Jokinen has been a guest artist at the Organ Night and Aria Festival in Espoo, Helsinki Organ Festival, Savonlinna Opera Festival as well as contemporary Riiflect-festival of Sellosali, in Espoo Finland.
Lied and Art Song also form an important part of Ilona Jokinen's concert repertoire, and she has sung many world premieres of contemporary classical music. In addition to performing in her homeland, she has sung recitals in Japan, Ireland, Spain and USA. Her first performance in the USA was Juan R. Ramírez's Suite Criolla, in April 2016 in Worcester. In August she sang as a soprano soloist in Brahms´ Ein Deutches Requiem with the Mastersingers of Worcester. December 2016 Ilona Jokinen gave an acclaimed recital in Nordic Hall, Newton MA.
Ilona Jokinen is also a popular performer in company and private parties. In addition to classical music, her wide repertoire includes lighter music and both musical and operetta tunes.
Aside from activities in performing arts, Ilona Jokinen conducts singing lessons. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Singing Education from Helsinki Polytechnic Stadia (2005).