Otto Tolonen's success in 20 international competitions between 1995 and 2009 has stood him in good stead during his career. He has given concerts all over Europe, North and South America, and Japan. Tolonen's repertoire ranges from Renaissance music to contemporary guitar works, and his interpretation of Hans Werner Henze's compositions for the instrument have earned him much international attention. Tolonen also teaches at the Sibelius Academy and the Espoo Music Institute, and has given masterclasses in Finland and abroad. Tolonen is an academic and is currently studying European guitar music in the last half of the 20th century. His teachers at the Sibelius Academy were Jukka Savijoki and Timo Korhonen, and he supplemented his studies with Raphaella Smits in Belgium, Thomas Müller-Peringi and Jürgen Ruck in Germany, and Oscar Ghiglia in Italy.