Fennica Gehrman
Fennica Gehrman: composer Mikko Heiniö

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Heiniö's Organ Concerto meets with enthusiasm

Mikko Heiniö's Organ Concerto, commissioned by the Katedraali soi festival, was  premiered on 11 February 2016 at Turku Cathedral. The soloist was Jan Lehtola, with the Turku Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Leif Segerstam.

According to the critics there was sacral beauty in Heiniö's concerto. "The Summer Hymn [Suvivirsi] is catchy starting point for the concerto, which makes pleasingly colourful use of the theme material, drawing on the vast range of timbres and volumes of both orchestra and organ. The concerto could be described as bright and tranquil, beautiful in a sacral way."


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Mikko Heiniö: Five Preludes for Guitar

This suite of five pieces for solo guitar was commissioned by Patrik Kleemola. The premiere of these preludes took place at the Gionate Festival in Milan, Italy in March 2014.
55011-227-8, € 22,20 Buy now

Audio samples

 Symphony No. 2 (Songs of Night and Love)
(II Silence of the Sea)

Turku Philharmonic Orchestra, cond. Petri Sakari, sol. Tommi Hakala
(Sony Music 88697 630212)

 Alla madre, Concerto for Violin and Orchestra
(II Aura)

Turku Philharmonic Orchestra, cond. Petri Sakari, sol. Kurt Nikkanen
(Sony Music 88697 630212)

 The Knight and the Dragon (Act 2, Scene 4)
Turku Philharmonic Orchestra, Turku Opera Chorus, cond. Ulf Söderblom, sol. Charlotte Hellekant, Helena Juntunen, Curt Appelgren, Rúni Brattaberg etc.
(BIS Records CD-1246)

 Possible Worlds (IV Mobile e sonore)
Turku Philharmonic Orchestra, cond. Jacques Mercier
(Finlandia Records CD-3984-23404-2)

 Vuelo de alambre (IV Fué anoche)
Turku Philharmonic Orchestra, cond. Jacques Mercier, sol. Karita Mattila
(Finlandia Records CD-3984-23404-2)

Tomumieli (Mind of Dust)
for TTBB choir and djebe drum
YL Male Voice Choir, cond. Matti Hyökki
(Finlandia Records CD-3984-23404-2)

Mikko Heiniö

Mikko Heiniö (b. 1948) studied composition with Joonas Kokkonen in Finland and Witold Szalonek in West Berlin, gaining his composition diploma from the Sibelius Academy in 1977. He also studied musicology and in 1984 earned a doctorate in the subject from the University of Helsinki, where worked as an assistant 1977-1985. He was Professor of musicology at the University of Turku 1986-2005 and Chairman of the Society of Finnish Composers 1992-2010. He is Deputy Chairman of the Finnish Composers' Copyright Society Teosto since 1999. Heiniö is also composer-in-residence of the Turku Philharmonic Orchestra.

The main items in Heiniö’s oeuvre include nine piano concertos, the orchestral song cycle Vuelo de alambre (1983), the symphonies Possible Worlds (1987) and Songs of the Night and Love (1997), and Wind Pictures for choir and orchestra (1991). Among his greatest and most frequently performed chamber works are Framtidens skugga (The Shadow of the Future) for soprano and brass ensemble (1980), Minimba for four guitars (1982), the Piano Trio (1988), Piano Quintet (1993) and the Sextet (2000) for baritone and ensemble. Heiniö is also the composer of choral music, such as Three Folk Songs (1977), Landet som icke är (The Land that is Not, 1980) and Luceat (1992).

Heiniö has composed three operas: the church opera Riddaren och draken (The Knight and the Dragon, 2000) was written for Turku Cathedral’s 700th anniversary celebrations and it has been recorded on the BIS label. His second opera Käärmeen hetki (The Hour of the Serpent) was commissioned by the Finnish National Opera and premiered in September 2006. His third opera Erik XIV is a commission from the City of Turku, and it tells about the Swedish King Eric XIV (1533-1577) and his wife, Karin Månsdotter. Heiniö’s other works include Envelope (2002) for trumpet and orchestra, intended to be performed before and after the Haydn Trumpet Concerto in Eb, Three Morning Songs (2003) for baritone and piano, The Bishop’s Spring Dream (2005) for five male voices and Sonata da chiesa (2005) scored for brass, celesta and percussion. Heiniö’s recent large-scale works include Alla madre for violin and orchestra, Late Summer Song for soloist and orchestra (or piano), Moon Concerto (Piano Concerto No. 7 for mezzo-soprano, piano and orchestra) commissioned by the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra and Nonno (Piano Concerto No. 9 for amplified piano and big band) commissioned by the UMO Jazz Orchestra.

As the basis for his harmonies and melodies Mikko Heiniö takes a set of material, either modal or 12-note, that is always strictly bounded and that is given free-tonal rather than atonal treatment. Despite these constructivist tendencies, his music could be described as strongly emotional and easily accessible. Basic features of his style are its colourful, impressionistic sonority and energetic rhythms displaying the influence of Latin-American music, jazz and rock. In the 1980s, particularly, he went in for marked contrasts of style within one and the same work (as in Possible Worlds). Some of his works are a combination of genres: the fourth piano concerto (Through the Evening) is also a choral work. Both the sixth and the seventh piano concerto (Hermes, 1994 and Khora, 2001) were composed for a dance theatre; in the former the piano is accompanied by strings and a soprano and in the latter by five percussionists.

Heiniö also has a reputation as a music scholar, as the author of several books and nearly two hundred articles. He specialises in new Finnish music, a subject on which he has written works focusing on the history of ideas (such as his doctoral dissertation The Idea of Innovation and Tradition, 1984) and the history of composition. His book Aikamme musiikki (1995) is volume 4 of the history of Finnish music that won the Finlandia Prize for non-fiction in 1997. Sanat sävelistä (1997) is a treatise on his own composition, his views on aesthetics and cultural policy, and his latest book, Karvalakki kansakunnan kaapin päällä (1999), deals with the public image of Finnish opera.

2011 © Fennica Gehrman, PO Box 158, FI-00121 Helsinki, Finland, info@fennicagehrman.fi

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