Lars Karlsson (born 24 January 1953) graduated from the Sibelius Academy in both church music and composition, having studied the latter under Einar Englund, Paavo Heininen and Einojuhani Rautavaara, and in West Berlin under Witold Szalonek. He has taught at the Sibelius Academy since 1976 and has also been a music critic.
Following his own distinctive route on the Finnish contemporary music scene, Karlsson has composed in a traditional, neotonal vein. He has also been called a ‘romantic modernist’ – a path that has sometimes been narrow in the intellectually-oriented postserialist framework.
Karlsson began his career in the 1970s with Five Aphorisms for piano, a work that has remained steadily popular. He has composed two symphonies (1997-99, 2005), a Violin Concerto (1991/93) and a number of choral, vocal and chamber works, including the Suite for Helena (1994) for wind quintet, and the String Quartet (1997). He has also written many works for his own instrument, the organ such as the Toccata, Variations and Fugue on the Chorale “Den blomstertid nu kommer”. His large-scale works include the oratorio Ludus latrunculorum (The Game of Slaves) and the opera Rödhamn (Redhaven), set in his native Åland and staged at the Finnish National Opera in 2002. Latest works include the Clarinet Concerto commissioned by the Lapland Symphony Orchestra and premiered in 2016.