Saturday, 7 December 2019

Tundo! - Finnish Premiere by Kuopio Symphony

Kuopio Symphony giving Tundo! its Finnish premiere. Photo by Katariina Kummala

What an incredible week comes to an end! This week my piece "Tundo!" got its Finnish premiere December 5th and I made me debut with Kuopion kaupunginorkesteri conducted by the marvellous Jaakko Kuusisto! It was also the first time I visited Kuopio, which immediately became one of my favourite cities in Finland. Great concert hall, great and also friendly orchestra, wonderful atmosphere both at work and in town. I got to live on an address named after one of my idols, Minna Canth street, and after I got home my piece as well as the concert got a great review (of which you only can see a small part in the pic) in Savon Sanomat by Jussi Mattila. This was my last concert in Finland this season, quite an ending indeed!

Conductor Jaakko Kuusisto, me, accordionist Niko Kumpuvaara and
composer & percussionist Arttu Takalo after a successful concert!
Photo by Katariina Kummala

Great review (in Finnish) in Savon Sanomat by Jussi Mattila

Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Tarja Halonen recommends

Next Sunday 1st of December there will be a panel discussion at 2PM about equality in music with Wilhelm KvistEriikka Maalismaa, Kaarina Hazard, Juha Ahonen and yours truly moderated by Robin Lindeberg. And at 3PM TampereRaw will play a wonderful concert at Camerata at Musiikkitalo with the same topic, including my first piano quintet "Minna - Pictures from the life of Minna Canth". Oh yeah and our former president Tarja Halonen (in the picture) recommends this concert, so I guess you should come and listen! ūüėŹ

Maria Itkonen, former president Tarja Halonen and me. Photo by Anna Angervo

Monday, 11 November 2019

New York debut!

It's Monday and a new exciting week is here; including two performances of my opera Djurens planet, in Oulu and Viitasaari and my first piece ever played in the USA! My friend Matti Pulkki will give my solo accordion piece "Shapes" it's US premiere on Tuesday at 7:30 PM at ASF + Scandinavia House! He is also going to give a lecture about writing for accordion (also including talking about "Shapes") at the Manhattan School of Music on Thursday! Friends in New York, hope you can go! I would if I could!

Friday, 8 November 2019

World premiere of "Requiem for our Earth" by Lyran

Yesterday my 30 minute piece "Requiem for our Earth" got its world premiere by Akademiska Damk√∂ren Lyran conducted by Jutta Seppinen, and what a world premiere it was! I had been stressed about this piece for ages because I definitely had gone way beyond my comfort zone: electronics, lights, moving choir, a new video projection by Marek Waldemar Pluciennik - so many things that potentially could go wrong - and everything went simply PERFECTLY! So happy and grateful to have the privilege to compose such a large scale work and get it performed by amazing performers to a sold out venue! THANK YOU TO EVERYONE!

And getting so wonderful reviews by both HS – Helsingin Sanomat and Hbl - Hufvudstadsbladet makes me feel even more flabbergasted! "The highlight of the metropolitan area's concert season" Susanna V√§lim√§ki wrote and Wilhelm Kvist's heartwarming words "My instant impression is that the piece is the most important thing I have seen in a long time"!
THANK YOU!ūü§©ūü§©ūü§©ūü§©ūü§©ūü§©ūü§©ūü§©ūü§© 

Thursday, 31 October 2019

Nostalgia Lane

Steiner education, is based on the educational philosophy of Rudolf Steiner, the founder of Anthroposophy. Its pedagogy strives to develop pupils' intellectual, artistic, and practical skills in an integrated and holistic manner. The cultivation of pupils' imagination and creativity is a central focus.

I'm very happy I was given the opportunity to go to a Steiner school for all my basic education 1995-2008. We did a lot of theatre and it's now 20 years ago that I wrote music to one of our first plays "Ronja R√∂vardotter", that time aged 11. I got the opportunity to paint, do wood work, internship on an organic farm, biology trip to Lapland, cultural class excursion to Portugal... to name only a few things during my 13 years.

But the best part was of course to be part of a idealistic school full of wonderful people whom I since then can call friends, real friends.

And idealism has stayed with me as much as with the Steiner school, so I was very happy to get the opportunity today to watch classes 5&6 from the Helsinki Steiner School perform "Djurens planet", a opera about treating animals and other humans well, at the Finnish National Opera. A lot of things change with time, but some things never do - let's keep trying to make this world a better place. ❤️

Photo by Marthe Veian

Tuesday, 29 October 2019

"Our house is on fire"

"Our house is on fire. I'm here to say our house is on fire." -Greta Thunberg
My new piece "Requiem for our Earth" for female choir and electronics contains parts of Gretas speech in Davos January 2018, snippets from different speeches by Pope Francis as well as bleaching coral. It contains whistling and lights. It contains video projection by Marek Pluciennik. World premiere next week 7th of November! And this concert also includes an other world premiere by composer Perttu Haapanen. The whole concert is sung by the wonderful Akademiska Damkören Lyran and conducted by the fantastic Jutta Seppinen. Come and see for your self next week! Welcome!

Friday, 25 October 2019

Djurens planet autumn 2019

Happy world opera day to everyone! After seven great performances of my third children opera "Vickan & Väinö" by Opera Box Helsinki it's time to head next week to The Finnish National Opera for more performances of my second children opera "Djurens planet"!

Photo by Heikki Tuuli
Most inspiring story of last week: my friend has a 2 year old daughter who saw my opera Djurens Planet last spring. The 2 year old daughter likes the scene of the dragon (which she calles "Kra Kra") so much that she wants to watch it everyday from an iPad! ūüėć Hearing that makes me feel like my job does make a difference after all. ❤️
Photo by Heikki Tuuli

Djurens planet more performances coming up again in the following weeks!
29.10 at 6 PM, Children from Granhultsskola, at Almi Hall, The Finnish National Opera
30.10 at 6 PM, Children from Rudolf Steinerskolan i Helsingfors, at Almi Hall, The Finnish National Opera

31.10 at 6 PM, Children from Mårtendalsskola, at Almi Hall, The Finnish National Opera
1.11 at 6 PM, Children from Grännässkolan, at Almi Hall, The Finnish National Opera
4.11 at 6 PM, Children from Hyvinge svenska skola, at Almi Hall, The Finnish National Opera
5.11 at 6 PM, Children from Boxby skola, at Almi Hall, The Finnish National Opera
7.11 at 6 PM, Children from Mikaelsskolan, at Sigurd Snåre Salen, Ekenäs
12.11 at 6 PM, Children from Oulun normaalikoulu, at Oulun normaalikoulu, Koskela
14.11 at 6 PM, Children from Haapaniemenkoulu, at Haapaniemenkoulu, Viitasaari
19.11 at 6 PM, Children from Svenska samskolan i Tammerfors, at Svenska samskolan i Tammerfors, Tampere
21.11 at 6 PM, Children from Vatialan koulu, at Monitoimihalli, Kangasala
26.11 at 6 PM, Children from Björneborgs svenska samskola, at Björneborgs svenska samskola, Pori
28.11 at 6 PM, Children from Kristinestads skola, at Kristinestad

Photo by Heikki Tuuli

Monday, 14 October 2019

Premiere week!

Today's HS – Helsingin Sanomat tells us PREMIERE WEEK is here! New bilingual children opera  Vickan & V√§in√∂ set up by Opera BOX at Helsinki Aleksanterin teatteri! TERVETULAO! V√ĄLKOMMEN!
Music by yours truly
Libretto & stage directing by Marina Motaleff-Kelly
Scenography & costume design: Tarmo Tanttu
Soprano: Hedvig PauligAnna Sandstr√∂m
Tenore: Ville SalonenTopias Lundell
Barytone: Markus NieminenAku Rantama
Accordion: Janne Valkeajoki
17.10.2019 at 10 AM
17.10.2019 at 12 PM
17.10.2019 at 6 PM
18.10.2019 at 10 AM
18.10.2019 at 12 PM
18.10.2019 at 6 PM
19.10.2019 at 1 PM

Thursday, 29 August 2019

Anniversary of Letters!

Exactly one year ago my second string quartet "Letters" was premiered by the amazing Brodsky Quartet at the wonderful Stift International Music Festival in Holland! Thank you once again Daniel Rowland - violin for this amazing commission and opportunity!
Since then Letters has been performed by Lapland String Quartet and at the festivals such as Musik vid havet / Meri ja musiikki (Music by the Sea, Inkoo), Kokonainen (Janakkala) and last week twice at the Tampering Festival (Tampere).
The version by Tampering ensemble is in Aamulehti's live stream available for subscribers until Friday. But I now share with you this video of last years world premiere by the Brodsky Quartet available for everyone! Hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Quintet "Minna" on the Radio again

Last March my first Piano Quintet "Minna - Pictures from the Life of Minna Canth" was performed by the amazing musicians of TampereRaw! It was broadcast back then  by the Finnish Broadcasting Company Yle. The radio programme "Aikamme suomalaista musiikkia" ("Finnish music of our time") is playing the recording in their latest program, so it is again online and can now be streamed all around the world for the next month! A presentation of Minna (in Finnish) begins at about 8:25 min and the actual piece begins at 11:50 min. Have a listen!

The program also contains pieces by my talented colleagues Jennah Vainio and Veli Kujala. For Finnish speaking friends I recommend you to listen to the very interesting commentary by the composer Aki Yli-Salom√§ki

Find the program online by clicking here!

Photo by Marthe Veian

Monday, 15 July 2019

Time of Music 2019

What a incredibleI had at Time of Music! So much great music, great lessons, great rehearsals, great sauna evenings and most important of all: great people!
Thank you Kaija Saariaho for such an inspiring master class and Uusinta Ensemble for a great premiere of my string trio Nisus 7.7 at Time of Music!

Kaija Saariaho and me at Time of Music, Viitasaari July 7th 2019

It was quite an unforgettable moment when the bow of Max Savikangas broke in the middle of my piece...! Luckily he had a spare bow with him and all ended well and the whole piece got it's premiere.
Thank you Camilla Hoitenga, John Butcher, Uusinta Ensemble, defunensemble, Peter Herresthal, Christian Karlsen, Thomas Kellner, Aliisa Neige Barri√®re, Jakob Kullberg, Petri Kumela, Tuuli Lindeberg, Thomas R. Moore, Alexander Schubert, Klaas Verpoest, Thomas Lehn, Aleksi Barri√®re and of course Kaija Saariaho and Djuro ŇĹivkovińá for so many great concerts!
Thank you to everyone for so many great discussions and good sauna moments!

Time of Music 2019, Viitasaari, Finland

Friday, 12 April 2019

My Choral Music in Concert

This weekend is CHOIR weekend!
EMO Ensemble © Photo by Antti Kangassalo
My latest piece Vidk√§nningar for female choir to the poems by Henrika Ringbom will get its premiere by Den akademiska damk√∂ren Linnea conducted by Merete Ellegaard today at 7PM in Link√∂ping, Sweden! They are also going to perform the piece on Saturday 13.4 in √Ötvindaberg, on Monday 15.4 in Brokind and on the 27.4 again in Link√∂ping! Friends in Link√∂ping, welcome!

Den akademiska Damkören Linnea

On Monday 15.4 at 7PM my piece Angor (which won the VocalEspoo composition competition in 2016) will be performed again by the wonderful EMO Ensemble conducted by Pasi Hy√∂kki at Kino Soi in Kino Tapiola. A wonderful program of new choral music, a strong recommendation to all friends in Finland!
EMO Ensemble © Photo by Antti Kangassalo

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

Lucrum in Germany Next Month!

Very happy that my piece "Lucrum" for symphony orchestra will get its German premiere in exactly one month, conducted by the fantastic Janne Valkeajoki!
Conductor Janne Valkeajoki.
Photo by Marthe Veian Photography
This is my first piece published by Gehrmans Musikförlag, and all has worked out smoother than I could ever have dreamt about! Very thankful for everyone at the publisher Gehrmans for this!
Orchestra score and pocket score of  my piece Lucrum,
straight from the publisher to the conductor.

Valkeajoki will in the same concert also conduct Elgars's Cello Concerto played by the fantastic professor Niklas Eppinger and Brahms' First Symphony, an amazing program indeed!

Wellcome on the 9th of May at 7:30PM to W√ľrzburg!

Sunday, 31 March 2019

My Quintet "Minna" on the Radio

One week ago on the 24th of March my first Piano Quintet "Minna - Pictures from the Life of Minna Canth" was performed by the amazing musicians of TampereRaw! On Thursday the 28th of March it was radio broadcast by the Finnish Broadcasting Company Yle and can now be heard all around the world for the next month! Minna begins at about 7:20 min, the concert also contains pieces by my dear colleagues Lotta Wennäkoski and Minna Leinonen, which are conducted by the wonderful Maria Itkonen. For Finnish speaking friends I can also recommend you to listen to the very interesting commentary by Kaarina Hazard! Find the program online by clicking here!

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Radio recommendation: Ajassa soi

I was asked by Ainomaija Pennanen if I would like to recommend a contemporary piece of music for the radio program Ajassa soi. I chose Voice verser, one of the first piece I heard live (in Tampere) by one of my favourite composers Jukka Tiensuu

The program is available world wide for one month, so I warmly recommend all my friends around the globe to have a listen to Voice verser, starting at about 7:20 min though clicking here.

A picture of Jukka Tiensuu which I took at Sävellyspaja 2011, Finland.

Sunday, 17 March 2019

Debut at the Finnish National Opera

Debut at the Finnish National Opera done! What an incredible journey it has been! From being commissioned in February one year ago, seeing Monica Vikstr√∂m-Jokela create a wonderful story about sustainability and animal right from the ideas by the children at √Ösh√∂jdens Musikklasser involved in the process, composing the 45 minute opera last autumn, seeing Anna Kontek create a whole own visual world for the opera together with lights by Vesa Pohjalainen and seeing Martina Roos work with each person on the cast for making them perfect in character on stage! Two intense weeks of stage rehearsals, an OUTSTANDING premiere and two performances! How empty life feels after this wonderful emotional journey! Looking so much forward to hearing more performances next autumn again! 

Damström: Djurens planet. Photo by Heikki Tuuli

THANK YOU everyone involved! It has been such a pleasure to work with everyone in the production and in the cast! Thank you Elli Vallinoja and Katariina Heikkil√§ for putting your heart in the role of the child Joy! Thank you Saara Kiiveri and Hedvig Paulig for finding your inner dog for making the dog Jack as real as possible on stage! Thank you Riku Pelo and Tiitus Ylip√§√§ for making each of your three roles with as much effort and ease! Thank you Anna Schultz and Anna Nora for supervising 43 children and teaching them a whole opera of music! Thank you Martin Segerstr√•le and Tuomas Juutilainen for correpetition as well as outstanding shows and together with Anna Nora conducting the whole show! Thank you Taavi Kiviranta and Otto Kentala for putting yourself into my music! Thank you all 43 children from √Ösh√∂jdens musikklasser for dedicated work! Thank you Timo Mokkila, Tero Riipi and Petri Peltovako for making all technique on stage work! 

Damström: Djurens planet. Photo by Heikki Tuuli
Thank you to all my friends and family who came and saw the show and shared this important experience with me! It meant so much to me to see so many familiar faces in the audience!
Damström: Djurens planet. Photo by Heikki Tuuli
Thank you to the sponsors who have been one of the main reasons this all happened in the first place: Föreningen Konstsamfundet, Svenska kulturfonden, Svenska kulturfonden i Björneborg, Stiftelsen Brita Maria Renlunds minne, Svenska folkskolans vänner and Stiftelsen Tre Smeder. Also a big thank you to all wonderful articles and radio programmes that have been written and made about Djurens planet!

Damström: Djurens planet. Photo by Heikki Tuuli
And last but not least: a big thank you to the Finnish National Opera for this enormous opportunity to write an opera for you! Thank you Tuula Jukola-Nuorteva, Lauri Pokkinen, Lilli Paasikivi and Gita Kadambi for your trust and support! It has been a pleasure!

Damström: Djurens planet. Photo by Heikki Tuuli


All photos by Heikki Tuuli