Already at the age of fifteen Marko Ylönen was one of the finalists in a national cello competition 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 soloist and chamber musician in Finland and other European countries as well as in Japan, Australia, New Zealand and America. He plays regurlarly as soloist with all 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.
As chamber musician, Mr.Ylönen has played with a great number of worlds leading musicians in various ensembles at many music festivals. He has been invited Artistic Director of Korsholm Music Festival in 2008 and 2010, which position he successfully held also in 2003. From autumn 2000 Mr.Ylönen is engaged as lecturer of cello-and 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, the most recent of them was Jouni Kaipainen’s Celloconcerto in March 2003 with the Finnish Radio Symphony.
Marko Ylönen’s discography is mainly on three labels, ONDINE, BIS 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) and Cello Concerto by Joonas Kokkonen( Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra/dir. Sakari Oramo, Ondine). Marko Ylönen has studied with Csaba Szilvay, Erkki Rautio, Heikki Rautasalo and Heinrich Schiff. Ylönen plays a Matteo Goffriller-cello.