Already at the age of fifteen Marko Ylönen, one of the most outstanding cellists of his generation, was one of the finalists in a national cello competition of Turku in Finland. In 1990 he was awarded 2nd prize at the Turku Scandinavian Cello Competition and later that year he became a finalist and a prizewinner in the Tchaikowsky Competition in Moscow. 1996 he won the first prize at the Concert Artist Guild Competition in New York.
Marko Ylönen has performed as a soloist and a chamber musician in Finland and other European countries as well as in China, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and North America. He plays regurlarly as soloist with the major Finnish orchestras. He has also played with such leading orchestras as Camerata Salzburg, the English Chamber Orchestra, the Prague Chamber Orchestra and the Netherlands Chamber orchestra. Among the conductors he has worked with, are Leif Segerstam, Jukka-Pekka Saraste, Juha Kangas, John Storgårds, Sakari Oramo, Okko Kamu, James de Priest, Mosche Atzmon, Alexander Vedernikov, Heinrich Schiff, Ben Wallfish, Susanna Mälkki, Osmo Vänskä, Olli Mustonen and Hannu Lintu. He has given recitals in many major halls e.g. Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in New York and Concertgebouw Kleine Zaal in Amsterdam.
As chamber musician, Marko Ylönen has played in various ensembles with a great number of world’s leading musicians like Natalia Gutman, Gerhard Schulz, Gary Hoffmann, Samuel Sanders, Leif Ove Andsnes and Hagai Shaham. He has also been invited Artistic Director of Korsholm Music Festival in 2003, 2008 and 2010-12 and LuostoClassic Festival in Finnish Lapland in 2014-2015 . From autumn 2009 mr. Ylönen is engaged as Professor of Chamber Music at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki.
Apart from classical repertoire, Marko Ylönen plays occassionally contemporary music. He has premiered several works by Finnish composers.
Marko Ylönen’s discography is mainly on four labels, ONDINE, BIS, ALBA and FINLANDIA, and it includes both modern concertos and traditional repertoire. The latest releases are Two Serious Melodies op. 77 for cello and orchestra by Sibelius (Lahti Symphony/dir. OsmoVänskä, BIS), Cello Concerto by Peteris Vasks (Tampere Filharmonia/dir. John Storgårds, ONDINE), Cello Concerto by Joonas Kokkonen ( Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra/dir. Sakari Oramo, Ondine), and Sonatas by Chopin and Rachmaninoff (with Arto Satukangas, Alba)
Marko Ylönen has studied with Csaba Szilvay, Erkki Rautio, Heikki Rautasalo and Heinrich Schiff. He plays a Cappa School cello from early 18th century.