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Some Finnish composers and their works
in a nutshell
- Kalevi Aho (1949-) studied with Einojuhani Rautavaara at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki and with Boris Blacher in Berlin. Was influenced especially by Mahler and Shostakovich.
- Teacher, Helsinki University 1974-88, Sibelius Academy 1988-93. Freelance composer from 1993, a 15-year composition grant from the Finnish state. 'Composer in residence' of the Lahti Symphony Orchestra.
- Most important works include ten symphonies (symphony no. 1, symphony no. 8 for organ and orchestra, symphony no. 9 for trombone and orchestra), violin concerto, cello concerto, Silence (for orchestra), two chamber symphonies for strings and two operas.
- Einar Englund (1916-1999) studied with Bengt Carlsson and Leo Funtek at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki and with Aaron Copland in Tanglewood. Was influenced especially by Stravinsky, Bartók and Shostakovich.
- Excellent pianist and improviser. Music critic, Hufvudstadsbladet (leading Swedish language daily in Finland) 1957-76. Teacher, Sibelius Academy 1957-81.
- Most important works include seven symphonies (Symphony no. 2, Blackbird - Symphony no. 3), two piano concertos (piano concerto no. 1), violin concerto, flute concerto, cello concerto, concerto for 12 cellos, Epinikia (symphonic poem).
- Paavo Heininen (1938-) studied with Aarre Merikanto, Einojuhani Rautavaara, Einar Englund and Joonas Kokkonen at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, with Bernt Alois Zimmermann in Cologne and with Vincent Persichetti at the Juilliard School of Music in New York.
- Pianist, the Finnish National Opera 1959-60. Teacher, Turku College of Music 1963-66, Sibelius Academy from 1966.
- Most important works include four symphonies (Petite symphonie joyeuse), three piano concertos, orchestral works Adagio, Preambolo and Tripartita, piano sonata and two operas.
- Uuno Klami (1900-1961) studied with Erkki Melartin at the Helsinki College of Music (now the Sibelius Academy) and with Maurice Ravel and Florent Schmitt in Paris. Was influenced especially by Debussy, Ravel and young Stravinsky.
- Music critic, Helsingin Sanomat (the leading Finnish daily) 1932-59. Member of the Finnish Academy 1959.
- Most important works include two symphonies, two piano concertos (no. 1, "A Night on Montmartre", 1925, with jazz influences), violin concerto, Kalevala Suite, Lemminkäinen's Island Adventures (symphonic poem), Sea Pictures (suite), Karelian Rhapsody, The Cobblers on the Heath and King Lear (overtures), Cheremissian Fantasy (for cello and orchestra), Psalmus (oratorio).
- Joonas Kokkonen (1921-1996) studied at the Helsinki University and with Sulho Ranta and Selim Palmgren at the Sibelius Academy.
- Teacher, Sibelius Academy 1948-63. Music critic, Ilta-Sanomat and Uusi Suomi (newspapers) 1947-63. Member of the Finnish Academy 1963.
- Most important works include four symphonies (symphony no. 4), Music for String Orchestra, cello concerto, Sinfonia da camera, ...durch einen Spiegel..., three string quartets, Requiem and the opera The Last Temptations (interludes).
- Magnus Lindberg (1958-) studied with Einojuhani Rautavaara and Paavo Heininen at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki and with Vinko Globokar and Gerard Grisey in Paris.
- Pianist, one of the founder members in 1982 of the avant-garde Toimii! ensemble.
- Most important works include orchestral works Drama, Sculpture II, Kraft, Kinetics, Marea and Joy, Action-Situation-Signification (synthesis of chamber music and concrete material), Zona (for cello and chamber ensemble) and UR (chamber work).
- Leevi Madetoja (1887-1947) studied at the Helsinki University, with Armas Järnefelt and Erik Furuhjelm at Helsinki College of Music (now the Sibelius Academy), privately with Jean Sibelius, with Vincent d'Indy in Paris and with Robert Fuchs in Vienna.
- Conductor in Viipuri 1914-16. Music critic, Helsingin Sanomat (the leading Finnish daily) 1916-32. Teacher, Helsinki University 1928.
- Most important works include three symphonies (symphony no. 3), Kullervo (symphonic poem), Okon Fuoko (ballet pantomime) and the operas Pohjalaisia (The Ostrobothnians) and Juha.
- Aarre Merikanto (1893-1958) studied with Erkki Melartin in Helsinki, with Max Reger in Leipzig and with Sergei Vasilenko in Moscow.
- Teacher, Sibelius Academy in Helsinki from 1936.
- Most important works include three symphonies, three piano concertos, four violin concertos, two cello concertos, orchestral works Fantasy for Orchestra, Pan, Notturno, Symphonic Study and Intrada, "Schott Concerto" (for violin, clarinet, french horn and string sextet), nonet (for flute, english horn, clarinet, piano and string quintet) and the opera Juha.
- Selim Palmgren (1878-1951) studied in Helsinki and Berlin and with Ferruccio Busoni in Weimar.
- Excellent pianist, was called the "Chopin of the North" or the "Finnish Chopin".
- Teacher, Eastman School of Music in Rochester 1921-26 and Helsinki Conservatory (became Sibelius Academy in 1939) from 1927.
- Most important works include five piano concertos (piano concerto no. 2 , The River) and the opera Daniel Hjort. Composed over 300 works for piano including a sonata, etudes, preludes and other short pieces, of which the most famous is May Night. There are many pearls among his 130 choral songs and 100 solo songs.
- Väinö Raitio (1891-1945) studied with Erkki Melartin and Erik Furuhjelm at the Helsinki College of Music (now the Sibelius Academy), with A. Iljinsky in Moscow and in Berlin and Paris.
- Teacher, Viipuri College of Music 1926-32.
- Most important works include orchestral compositions The Swans, Fantasia estatica, Fantasia poetica and Moonshine in Jupiter, the ballet Column Fountain, incidental music for Antigone and four operas.
- Einojuhani Rautavaara (1928-) studied at the Helsinki University, with Aarre Merikanto at the Sibelius Academy, with Vincent Persichetti at the Juilliard School of Music in New York, with Roger Sessions and Aaron Copland in Tanglewood, with Wladimir Vogel in Ascona and with Rudolf Petzold in Cologne.
- Teacher, Sibelius Academy 1966-1990. Government's professor of arts 1971-76.
- Most important works include seven symphonies (symphony no. 7, Angel of Light), seven concertos for various solo instruments and orchestra, Cantus arcticus (for orchestra and tape), A Requiem in Our Time (for brass instruments and percussion), two piano sonatas, the piano suites The Fiddlers (also version for string orchestra) and The Icons and seven operas including Thomas and Vincent.
- Aulis Sallinen (1935-) studied with Aarre Merikanto and Joonas Kokkonen at the Sibelius Academy.
- General manager, Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra 1960-70. Teacher, Sibelius Academy 1963-76. Government's professor of arts 1976.
- Most important compositions include six symphonies (symphony no. 1, symphony no. 3), cello concerto, orchestral works Mauermusik and Shadows, Chorali (for symphonic wind orchestra), The Nocturnal Dances of Don Juanquixote (for cello and string orchestra), Some Aspects of Hintrikki Peltoniemi's Funeral March (string quartet no. 3, also version for string orchestra) and the operas The Horseman, The Red Line, The King Goes Forth to France, Kullervo and The Palace.
- Jean Sibelius (1865-1957) studied with Martin Wegelius at the Helsinki College of Music (now the Sibelius Academy), with Albert Becker in Berlin and with Karl Goldmark and Robert Fuchs in Vienna.
- Most important compositions include seven symphonies, Kullervo (choral symphony in five movements based on Kalevala, the Finnish national epic, for soprano, baritone, male choir and orchestra), violin concerto, symphonic poems En saga, The Wood Nymph, Finlandia, Pohjola's daughter, Oceanides, and Tapiola, Lemminkäinen or Four Legends (suite of four symphonic poems based on Kalevala: Lemminkäinen and the maidens of the island, Lemminkäinen in Tuonela, The Swan of Tuonela and Lemminkäinen's return), Karelia Suite, The Tempest (suites I and II) and Valse triste.
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