|Kalevi Aho, composer, Chairman of the Jury
|Magnus Lindberg, composer
|Erkki-Sven Tüür, composer
|Yasuo Shinozaki, conductor
(Photo: Maarit Kytöharju)
KALEVI AHO (b. 1949)
|Kalevi Aho (s. 1949), one of Finland’s foremost contemporary composers, commenced violin studies in his hometown at the age of ten, and his first compositions also date from this time. From the autumn 1968 he studied the violin and composition at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki; his composition teacher was Einojuhani Rautavaara.
After graduating as a composer (1971), Kalevi Aho continued his studies in Berlin as a pupil of Boris Blacher at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik and darstellende Kunst. From 1974 until 1988 he was a lecturer in musicology at Helsinki University, and from 1988 until 1993 he was a professor of composition at the Sibelius Academy. Since the autumn of 1993 he has worked in Helsinki as a freelance composer, and in 1994 he was awarded a fifteen-year grant from the Finnish state.
The central focus of Aho’s work consists of large-scaled orchestral, chamber and vocal works; to date his output includes five operas (1977-2013), fifteen symphonies (1969-2010), nineteen concertos (1981-2011), three chamber symphonies for string orchestra, other orchestral and vocal music and a large amount of music for chamber ensembles and solo instruments.
He has also made a number of arrangements and orchestrations of works by other composers. The most important of these is the completion of Uuno Klami’s unfinished ballet Pyörteitä (Whirls). Since 1992 Aho has been composer-of-residence of the Lahti Symphony Orchestra, and 2011 he was nominated to the honorary composer of that orchestra.
In Finland Aho has also gained a reputation as an assiduous writer on music. He has also occupied a number of important positions in Finnish cultural life.
(Photo: Saara Vuorjoki)
MAGNUS LINDBERG (b. 1958)
|Magnus Lindberg (b. 1958) is one the leading musical influences and composers of his generation in Finland today. He studied composition with Einojuhani Rautavaara and Paavo Heininen at the Sibelius Academy. The latter encouraged his pupils to look beyond the prevailing Finnish aesthetics, and to explore the works of the European avant-garde. This led around 1980 to the founding of the informal grouping known as the Ears Open Society which aimed to encourage a greater awareness of mainstream modernism.
His compositional breakthrough came with two large-scale works, Action-Situation-Signification (1982) and Kraft (1983-85), which were inextricably linked with his founding of the experimental Toimii Ensemble. His works at this time combined experimentalism, complexity and primitivism. During the late 1980s his music transformed itself towards a new modernist classicism.
Lindberg's output has positioned him at the forefront of orchestral composition, including the concert-opener Feria (1997), large-scale statements such as Fresco (1997), Cantigas (1999) Concerto for Orchestra (2002-3) and Sculpture (2005), and concertos for cello (1999), clarinet (2002) and violin (2006). Recent works include Seht die Sonne (2007), commissioned by the Berlin Philharmonic and his first choral-orchestral work GRAFFITI, premiered in Helsinki in May 2009.
Lindberg was Composer-in-Residence of the New York Philharmonic between 2009 and 2012, with new works including EXPO, Al Largo for orchestra, Souvenir for ensemble, and the Piano Concerto no. 2 premiered in 2012. In 2003 Lindberg was awarded the prestigious Wihuri Sibelius Prize.
ERKKI-SVEN TÜÜR (b. 1959)
Erkki-Sven Tüür (b. 1959) studied percussion and flute at Tallinn Georg Ots Music High School (1976–1980) and composition with Professor Jaan Rääts at the Tallinn Conservatoire (1980–1984). He also took private lessons from Professor Lepo Sumera in Tallinn and trained in electronic music in Karlsruhe. In the latter half of the 1980s he started working as a professional composer.
Instrumental music makes up the main body of Tüür’s work. He has written eight symphonies, several instrumental concertos, a considerable volume of chamber music and an opera. He uses a broad spectrum of compositional techniques, and has been interested in Gregorian chant and minimalism, linear polyphony and microtonality, twelve-tone music and web technique.
Tüür's favourite medium for composition is the symphony orchestra; his works have been performed all over the world and among others by the BBC Symphony Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Munich Philharmonic, NDR Symphony Orchestra, Chicago and Detroit Symphony Orchestras.
Tüür is one of the artistic directors of the International New Music Festival NYYD and an honorary doctor of the Estonian Academy of Music. He has received the annual Estonian Music Prize (1987, 1988), Estonian Culture Prize (1997), Baltic Assembly Culture Prize (1998), Great Bear Prize (1996, 1997), Second Class Order of the White Star (2000), Annual Prize of the Estonian Music Council (2003) and has twice been awarded the Annual Prize of the Endowment for Music of the Cultural Endowment of Estonia.
Erkki-Sven Tüür’s works are published by Edition Peters. Recordings of his music have been released by ECM, Virgin, Teldec, BIS, Erdenklang, Ondine and others.
Yasuo Shinozaki was born and began his conducting studies in Japan. He then continued with Leopold Hager at the Vienna Music Academy, with Myung-Whun Chung at the Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Siena and Seiji Ozawa and Bernard Haitink at Tanglewood.
In 2000 Yasuo Shinozaki took the second prize in the Second International Sibelius Conducting Competition, conducting a memorable, emotional performance of Sibelius's Symphony no. 2. He immediately received invitations from the Helsinki and Turku Philharmonic orchestras. At the beginning of 2007 he took up his position as Chief Conductor / Artistic Director of the Kymi Sinfonietta. Here in Finland he has also worked with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Tampere Philharmonic and the Tapiola Sinfonietta.
As Assistant Conductor to Esa-Pekka Salonen at the Los Angeles Philharmonic between August 2001 and September 2004 Shinozaki conducted more than 40 concerts. In addition to subscription concerts at the new Walt Disney Concert Hall, he conducted the orchestra on regional tours, at the Hollywood Bowl and elsewhere. He also performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group.
In his native Japan Shinozaki, who now lives in the UK, has worked with such orchestras as the Tokyo Philharmonic and the New Japan Philharmonic and conducted at the Tokyo Nikikai Opera and Japan National Opera, where he made his operatic debut with Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro. In the UK he has collaborated with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and BBC Philharmonic.
Yasuo Shinozaki has established a great reputation in South Africa, recently conducting the Cape Philharmonic, Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra and the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra.