Rautavaara’s death leaves a huge void in Finnish contemporary music

Rautavaara’s death leaves a huge void in Finnish contemporary music

"Rautavaara's original output and considerable success serve to remind us of a principle of his that applies to all composers of whichever generation: Dare to be yourself in your music." Kalevi Aho writes about Einojuhani Rautavaara (1928-2016).
Choral developers

Choral developers

The Helsinki Chamber Choir has always been an ambassador for the most demanding contemporary vocal music and for Finnish music. In summer 2016, the choir is busy hosting the International Einojuhani Rautavaara Workshop and Competition and the Tenso Days festival in Helsinki in August. BY Merja Hottinen   Founded in...
Erkki Melartin: rediscovering a remarkable Finnish composer

Erkki Melartin: rediscovering a remarkable Finnish composer

For decades, composer Erkki Melartin faded slowly into obscurity. Today, he is the subject of more research than ever.
The multiple aesthetic aspects of Melartin

The multiple aesthetic aspects of Melartin

"Producing premiere recordings of Traumgesicht and two other key works by Melartin is an act of high cultural merit."
The sky's the limit

The sky’s the limit

Dima Slobodeniouk will begin his post as the Principal Conductor of the Lahti Symphony Orchestra this autumn. It is a busy time for the conductor who has climbed to the top the long way. His hectic lifestyle is balanced by his passion for aviation.
Silence Festival – The art of collaboration

Silence Festival – The art of collaboration

“The best collaborations empower or even improve their participants. Whenever guitarist Marzi Nyman stepped up during Silence Festival he seemed to lift the creative discourse to another level with his gregarious, joyous musicianship.”
Der Wanderer

Der Wanderer

Ville Matvejeff is one of the most successful classical musicians in Finland today. He performs as a conductor and pianist around the world, he is artistic director or musical advisor at festivals, and he has composition commissions lined up for several years to come. His career is exceptionally diverse and...
A map of personal relations

A map of personal relations

Cooperation between contemporary music operators in Finland and Russia depends on networks of personal connections built up over a long time. Although there are surprisingly few joint projects, existing relationships continually foster new interaction between the two neighbouring countries, which in turn makes it easier for other contemporary musicians to...
Helsinki - St Petersburg, Allegro con spirito

Helsinki – St Petersburg, Allegro con spirito

From the 1950s through to the 1980s, Russian songs in Finnish translation made their way into Finnish ears through record players and radio waves. Today, it is possible to dance to live Russian-language music in Finland, partly thanks to the Tusovka Association, established in 1998.
Picture this!

Picture this!

Concert promoter, journalist and music export researcher Dr Greg Goldenzwaig takes a look at the import-export of rock and pop music between Finland and Russia. Some things have changed for sure in the past ten years.
Taking Note Spring 2016: Borderland riches and explorers' instincts

Taking Note Spring 2016: Borderland riches and explorers’ instincts

"Cultural exchange is a win-win proposition, and there are plenty of paths to explore for newcomers and old hands alike."
Shared roots

Shared roots

The nature of folk music has always included the shameless borrowing of refreshing material from elsewhere - right now Baltic Finnish influences are rising to the top in Finland.
Music of the Finnish Romani: roaming and singing

Music of the Finnish Romani: roaming and singing

Music is strongly associated with the Romani people. Singing was always a part of travelling with horse-drawn wagons or sleighs, or resting by the campfire. Music still occupies a large role in the lives of many Romani today, even as traditional lifestyles are being replaced by modern ones.
Music research in Finland looks east

Music research in Finland looks east

In the academic world, Finland boasts a high level of expertise in all things Russian. Over the past decade, musicologists too have begun to show an increasing interest in our eastern neighbour and above all in its history.
Passion against rule(r)s

Passion against rule(r)s

Estonian musicologist Heli Reimann has come a long way, from a country village in Soviet Estonia via Florida to the University of Helsinki. As a musician and a scholar, she immersed herself in Estonian jazz culture in the Stalin era, delving into the reminiscences of musicians of the time and...
FMQ Spring 2016 Notes & Letters: Borderline sounds

FMQ Spring 2016 Notes & Letters: Borderline sounds

Interesting things happen in the borderlands between music and sound art. Sub-genres of electronic music, field recordings, studies in improvisation and graphic notation and sound installations continue to open up new pathways for musicians in all genres.
The Tampere Biennale showcases the plurality of today’s music

The Tampere Biennale showcases the plurality of today’s music

The Tampere Biennale celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. Launched in 1986 and held in April in even-numbered years, its profile is that of a domestic review of contemporary classical music, with commissioned works and premieres. It alternates with Musica nova Helsinki, which is more international in content and is...
FMQ Spring 2016 Guest Column: Similar but different

FMQ Spring 2016 Guest Column: Similar but different

"The Estonian and Finnish contemporary music scenes share many similarities but also have considerable differences. I can say this from my own first-hand experience as an Estonian composer who has lived and studied in Finland for a long time. The differences may come as quite a surprise, considering how close...
Curiosity cannot be outsourced

Curiosity cannot be outsourced

Progress is all about trying out new things, as every forward-thinking artist intrinsically knows. Nevertheless, a case could be made that it is not enough if only the vanguard embraces the unknown. Perhaps all could take a page out of Pepa Päivinen, Janne Tuomi and other open-minded musicians’ book.
Learn music around the clock

Learn music around the clock

Music student Perttu Pölönen had an idea. There are 12 notes in the classical Western scale -what would happen if you placed those notes on a clock face?
Sound blessing

Sound blessing

"The sound they achieve together on their third album is quite a blessing, and Timonen offers both jazzy atmosphere as well as some traditional playing."
Sunlight therapy straight into the heart

Sunlight therapy straight into the heart

"The music is colourful and captivates the listener, because every sound on the album works – from three fiddlers breathing in unison to the grunge of the rock trio to rich keyboard timbres to the sampled sounds of a jetty squeaking in the waves."
Feel the folk song

Feel the folk song

"What’s a folk song? Freija’s answer is broad enough to include both songs in Kalevala metre and evergreens, and both fit the band very well."
Having some defun

Having some defun

"defunensemble is a Finnish group specialising in electroacoustic music. This new double CD introduces the ensemble’s versatility. One of the discs displays works for solo instruments and electronics, while the other is built around various ensemble configurations."
A beguiling and compulsive musical journey

A beguiling and compulsive musical journey

"It’s enough to say 'this is Sanna' because that means, as ever, a beguiling and compulsive musical journey."
Democracy in the music education of the future

Democracy in the music education of the future

What does democratic education look like from the perspective of music? In October, the ArtsEqual research initiative was launched to survey equality in various branches of the arts. At its centre is Resonaari, a music institute leading by example to show what potential musicianship may be found in the margins...
Finland's love affair with melancholy Russian melodies

Finland’s love affair with melancholy Russian melodies

Finns have long had a deep affinity for music of Russian origin. Perhaps that says something about the Finnish mental landscape or "national psyche". But it should also be noted that the status of Russian music in Finland has fluctuated over time and according to political circumstances.
Finland and Estonia - Brothers in Music

Finland and Estonia – Brothers in Music

Tallinn Music Week is the self-proclaimed "largest indoor festival of the Baltic-Nordic region" and the first logical step abroad for many Estonian artists is their north-western neighbour, Finland. But what kind of a spiritual bond has been built up between the countries since the collapse of the Iron Curtain.
Sounds of shadow and light

Sounds of shadow and light

Kaija Saariaho has composed a new opera, Only the Sound Remains, to be premiered in March. One of the significant roles is assigned to the kantele, an instrument never before used by Saariaho in her music.
Chamber Music, Communality and Eco-Social Justice:  The Case of Our Festival

Chamber Music, Communality and Eco-Social Justice: The Case of Our Festival

"Through its themes and concert practices, Our Festival keeps building on the experience of living in a shared world and facing common problems."
One of a kind

One of a kind

"It is impossible to pigeon-hole Kalle Vainio’s compositions into any particular genre; they take in everything from classical minimalism to film music and Nordic folk music."
Guest column: Losing idealism in translation?

Guest column: Losing idealism in translation?

Johan Tallgren’s FMQ guest column on Sibelius’s birthday, the Day of Finnish Music 2015.
Svänging Sibelius

Svänging Sibelius

"Sväng, the Finnish harmonica quartet, blows fresh air to Sibelius celebrations with arrangements of composer’s well-known works."
Sibelius's published piano works by Mertanen

Sibelius’s published piano works by Mertanen

"Janne Mertanen is a reliable guide to this unfailingly attractive and sometimes moving repertoire: his rhythms are precise and his textures clear."
W(h)ither  arts support?

W(h)ither arts support?

The Finnish arts subsidy system is considered efficient and effective by international standards. However, a recent report by the Finnish Cultural Foundation reveals that the structure is beginning to show its age. Change is desired by many, but sweeping visions for the future are offered by few, the FCF says....
Give some get some

Give some get some

Art does not just magically appear in the world as a gift of grace that comes from divine inspiration. It is created through persistent and devoted work. This work is always funded by someone who has their own expectations of what to receive in return for their support. BY Olli...
Taking note 3-4/2015: How to fund a festival startup

Taking note 3-4/2015: How to fund a festival startup

"The funding as of now is fragmented into bits and pieces, making every edition for the new event still trying to find its ground a very insecure undertaking."
Notes & Letters column: Blues owes me money

Notes & Letters column: Blues owes me money

BY Erja Lyytinen I was three and a half years old when I performed for the first time, at my father’s employer’s Christmas party. One of the guests gave me a Finnish ten-mark note.  It seemed like a lot of money – especially for singing! We sang at home all...
Taking musicals seriously

Taking musicals seriously

Is music theatre a cash cow or a quality art form, or something in between? Who should perform musicals and why? Some Finnish institutions have become a cog in the machine of the international music industry.
Finding and financing an instrument

Finding and financing an instrument

A high-value instrument should be the principal tool of any top musician, but the real gems are available only to a select few. Tomas Djupsjöbacka set up an investment company with nine other shareholders, thus securing himself a rare cello for the duration of his active performing career. BY Elina...
UMO stands the test of time

UMO stands the test of time

2015 has been a milestone year for the 40-year-old UMO Jazz Orchestra. We invited three key figures to look back on the history of the internationally acclaimed big band.
Composing, music and society at large

Composing, music and society at large

Composing always has a social dimension, because composers engage in it in the context created by society. Yet composers’ views on the relationship between music and society have varied a great deal over the centuries. What do today’s composers think about their work in relation to current social and political...
The hidden market of second-hand vinyl

The hidden market of second-hand vinyl

Vinyl might be even bigger than we’re told. But is it nostalgia, retro or hipster? Perhaps something else, at least according to Matti Nives.
Spells, blood and bliss

Spells, blood and bliss

Singing with the voice of old men and playing the jouhikko, an ancient bowed lyre, Pekko Käppi is hot stuff in Finland and abroad with his band. The archaic boogie performed by K:H:H:L seems to resonate with an incredible variety of audiences. Käppi is on the front line in the...
Paying the piper

Paying the piper

Rock star, bohemian, busker, creative genius, contemporary composer, pop singer, session player. Our images of music and musicians are easily associated with images of money and wealth, or the absence of same. Some of these people seem to be filthy rich, while others do not have two pennies to rub...
The importance of artistic freedom

The importance of artistic freedom

“Without an artist grant, I would not be able to work as intensely as I do. I am very grateful for the existence of this system and for being admitted into it. This has enabled me to do my own thing, and I am trying to use my time as...
Busy, but in a good way

Busy, but in a good way

Suvi Oskala has a lot going on. She plays the violin and sings but also writes music, teaches, produces and runs her own record label. Involved in both avant-garde art folk music and traditional folk music, she keeps her bands going through active performance sales and with grants.
Reaching for a composer’s career

Reaching for a composer’s career

Being a freelance composer is much like being an entrepreneur – for one thing, your career development is entirely in your own hands. “You cannot wait and expect someone else to do it for you,” says composer Sebastian Hilli.
A freelancer’s principal occupation is everything

A freelancer’s principal occupation is everything

“I am an entrepreneur without an enterprise: I am only paid for the work I do, and even that often long after the fact. Over the years, I have grown to love this freedom, the downside of which is the absence of a safety net,” says Kaija Kärkinen, a singer-songwriter...
Success comes through collaboration

Success comes through collaboration

Helena Juntunen, one of Finland’s most sought-after opera singers, appears in a variety of roles and concert productions with many ensembles, but her busy freelancer’s schedule will be replaced by maternity leave in October
Economy stalls – music export grows

Economy stalls – music export grows

Music Finland’s latest report on the market value of music export shows that it continues to be a growing industry. Compiling music statistics is not without its problems, but the figures portray a clear message about the importance of investing in music export.
Latest entries
Rautavaara’s death leaves a huge void in Finnish contemporary music

Rautavaara’s death leaves a huge void in Finnish contemporary music

"Rautavaara's original output and considerable success serve to remind us of a principle of his that applies to all composers of whichever generation: Dare to be yourself in your music." Kalevi Aho writes about Einojuhani Rautavaara (1928-2016).
Choral developers

Choral developers

The Helsinki Chamber Choir has always been an ambassador for the most demanding contemporary vocal music and for Finnish music. In summer 2016, the choir is busy hosting the International Einojuhani Rautavaara Workshop and Competition and the Tenso Days festival in Helsinki in August. BY Merja Hottinen   Founded in 1962 as the Finnish Radio...
Erkki Melartin: rediscovering a remarkable Finnish composer

Erkki Melartin: rediscovering a remarkable Finnish composer

For decades, composer Erkki Melartin faded slowly into obscurity. Today, he is the subject of more research than ever.
The multiple aesthetic aspects of Melartin

The multiple aesthetic aspects of Melartin

"Producing premiere recordings of Traumgesicht and two other key works by Melartin is an act of high cultural merit."
The sky's the limit

The sky’s the limit

Dima Slobodeniouk will begin his post as the Principal Conductor of the Lahti Symphony Orchestra this autumn. It is a busy time for the conductor who has climbed to the top the long way. His hectic lifestyle is balanced by his passion for aviation.
Silence Festival – The art of collaboration

Silence Festival – The art of collaboration

“The best collaborations empower or even improve their participants. Whenever guitarist Marzi Nyman stepped up during Silence Festival he seemed to lift the creative discourse to another level with his gregarious, joyous musicianship.”
Around the world

Around the world

"Multi-instrumentalist Teho Majamäki has spent the past fifteen years collecting musical influences, tunes and sounds on his travels around the world."
Der Wanderer

Der Wanderer

Ville Matvejeff is one of the most successful classical musicians in Finland today. He performs as a conductor and pianist around the world, he is artistic director or musical advisor at festivals, and he has composition commissions lined up for several years to come. His career is exceptionally diverse and wide-ranging.
A map of personal relations

A map of personal relations

Cooperation between contemporary music operators in Finland and Russia depends on networks of personal connections built up over a long time. Although there are surprisingly few joint projects, existing relationships continually foster new interaction between the two neighbouring countries, which in turn makes it easier for other contemporary musicians to cross the border.
Helsinki - St Petersburg, Allegro con spirito

Helsinki – St Petersburg, Allegro con spirito

From the 1950s through to the 1980s, Russian songs in Finnish translation made their way into Finnish ears through record players and radio waves. Today, it is possible to dance to live Russian-language music in Finland, partly thanks to the Tusovka Association, established in 1998.
Picture this!

Picture this!

Concert promoter, journalist and music export researcher Dr Greg Goldenzwaig takes a look at the import-export of rock and pop music between Finland and Russia. Some things have changed for sure in the past ten years.
Taking Note Spring 2016: Borderland riches and explorers' instincts

Taking Note Spring 2016: Borderland riches and explorers’ instincts

"Cultural exchange is a win-win proposition, and there are plenty of paths to explore for newcomers and old hands alike."