STORY: PAULIINA HAUSTEIN
REPORTER AND PHOTOS: TOMI HINKKANEN – LOS ANGELES
DATE: SEPT. 3RD, 2013
Cellist Pauliina Haustein is a member of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra this Summer.
Hollywood Bowl’s summer season is soon coming to an end. The spectacular outdoor venue again hosted some of the music world’s biggest stars, starting with the opening concert that starred Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler and Joe Perry, Patti Austin, and John Legend. The house orchestra of the bowl is called the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. Finnish cellist Pauliina Haustein won the coveted position as a stand-in player in the orchestra. Finntimes met the young cellist to talk about her life and music career.
Pauliina Haustein, neé Pölönen, was born in Klaukkala, Finland 26 years ago. She was a musical child from the very beginning.
– I have been told that I started to sing before talking. In the morning, when my eyes opened, I started singing and continued throughout the day. At five, I knew lyrics of 60 songs – all the verses, Pauliina laughs.
Music was in Pauliina’s blood from the very beginning.
When she was four, the family moved to Corvallis, Oregon, where her father Ilpo did his doctorate in sustainable agriculture. Meantime back at the ranch, her mother Jaana took care of the children. In the often rainy Oregon, Pauliina became bilingual. A year and a half later the family returned to Finland. To maintain her language skills, Pauliina was enrolled at the Kaivoksela English language elementary school.
Pauliina’s family came to see her perform at the Hollywood Bowl’s opening gala. From the left: Mother Jaana, father Ilpo, brother Perttu and husband Martin.
The Pölönen family has four children – Pauliina is the oldest. Her siblings are also musically talented. Sister Juulia is studying the 36 -string concert Kantele (harp), and brother Perttu film composing – both at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki. Though he also has an ear for music, second brother Pietu became an economist. Pauliina studied the cello at the Conservatory and then at the Sibelius Academy, graduating with a BA in music.
In the summer of 2009, Pauliina and her cello headed to Sárospatak Christian music festival in Hungary. On her penultimate day, she met a German man named Martin Haustein, who worked there as a volunteer.
– He is a native of Wilkau-Haßlau of the former East Germany. He was 10 years old when the wall came down, Pauliina tells. The couple hit it off at first glance.
-I was living in Finland and Martin in England, where he was making his doctoral dissertation in Neurobiology. He found me on Facebook and Skype. During the first six months we met a couple of times in both countries. We found out that it was serious enough between us to begin to date, even though we couldn’t live together for the first year, Pauliina chuckles.
They married August 6th, 2011. At the end of the month they moved to Los Angeles, where Martin had gotten a job as a researcher at UCLA. Pauliina began house hunting. In addition to having lived in Oregon as a child, she had toured the United States with the Chamber Ensemble Halo, but had never been to Los Angeles before.
Pauliina practices the cello for several hours a day.
-I got daily panic attacks in the LA traffic. Even the idea of having to leave the house and hit the road kept me awake at nights, she sighs.
Eventually they found a suitable apartment in West LA.
– Two days later I was sitting in the traffic and waiting at a red light. Someone rear-ended me at full speed. As a result, my car crashed into another vehicle.
It was a hit and run – the culprit fled the scene and was never caught.
– We had not yet paid for the car. So, every month we had to make payments on a car, which we didn’t have. Our insurance refused to pay for the damage that incurred to the other car. We had to hire an attorney and fight for almost a year before the insurance company finally agreed to pay, Pauliina fumes.
Pauliina suffered a whiplash injury.
-For several times a week for months I had to see a chiropractor. It took me six months to get back to the rehearsing rhythm, she recounts.
For a year Pauliina biked everywhere and through it learned the traffic patterns in different parts of the city at any given times. As we are driving toward Hollywood, she gives advise on what routes to take to avoid traffic jams as if she had lived here her entire life.
Pauliina has acclimated well to Los Angeles.
Haustein is practicing the cello up to four hours a day. She is also taking music lessons. Having recovered from the accident, she began building her musical career in the City of Angels.
-My friend, an Israeli-French pianist Pascal Solomon had married a woman who had a green card in the United States, and they had moved to Santa Barbara. We started putting together a concert program. Then I met local Finns. I got gigs through them, Pauliina gratefully acknowledges.
She then got wind of a TV series looking for musicians. There was no mention of the name of the show in the advert.
-I sent them an application with my picture attached. A month later, I got a call to come to the set of Glee at Paramount Studios. They sent me the song that I was to play the day before shooting. Based on that I wrote the notes for the cello, Pauliina explains.
Matthew Morrison is one of the stars of Glee.
The scene in question took place at the school’s gym. A string quartet played a song from the musical Jesus Christ Superstar. One of the actresses sang.
-The scene was filmed with four cameras from different angles. We worked on that three minute piece for eight hours. We played for real, but what is heard in the final episode was prerecorded somewhere else, the cellist explains.
-The Actors were nice and interested in the fact that I am from Finland. I had not seen the show before, so I wasn’t star-struck. Only afterwards I realized that the guy I spoke with for 15 minutes was one of the main stars.
The gig paid $320. She has revisited the series twice since.
-The compensation was not great, but how else could I have been involved in a Hollywood TV series, Pauliina asks rhetorically.
Pauliina Haustein has gained success in California in a very short time.
She has worked at a steady pace – weddings, retirement parties, church concerts, and as an assistant in local orchestras.
Hollywood Bowl is an amphitheater that seats 17,000 people.
Then, Pauliina heard that the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra was seeking musicians. Entrance exams were held at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. In the first round, 20 musicians played from behind a curtain, so that their appearance would not affect the jury. Pauliina and five others made it to the finals.
– At the end the jury applauded and congratulated us. Then they offered me an assistant position. I am now on the list as an assistant to the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, Pauliina smiles.
The orchestra consists of musicians from the Los Angeles Philharmonic, as well as studio musicians. To play with them at the world-famous Hollywood Bowl with 17 thousand people watching is definitely the greatest accomplishment so far in the young musician’s career. Pauliina played in the orchestra during the opening gala with Steve Tyler. The old crooner took a liking to the young statuesque Finn and winked at her. The summer 2013 season at the bowl concludes later in September.
Pauliina Haustein spent the Summer 2013 performing at the Hollywood Bowl.