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Matthew Whittall has been commissioned to compose a work for the National Viola Competition in Tampere in September. Lasting ten minutes, it will be...

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Hannu Pohjannoro

Hannu Pohjannoro (b. 1963) has made a name for himself as a composer of restrained music reduced to the bare essentials and “engraved with a sonorous quill pen”, as someone once put it; and he is in thrall to pianissimo. The most interesting thing in music is, he says, being strange, not extreme: the encounter of the recognisable and unrecognisable, ambiguity. A confessed modernist, he also stresses the importance in composing of a familiarity with and understanding of (all kinds of) traditions: his musical thinking has been most influenced by such composers as Beethoven and Cage.

Pohjannoro, who holds a Doctorate in music, studied at the Sibelius Academy as a pupil of Einojuhani Rautavaara, Kalevi Aho and Paavo Heininen, at the Berlin University of the Arts with Dieter Schnebel, and in many masterclasses in Darmstadt, Viitasaari and elsewhere. His output comprises some fifty works: instrumental music from solo to orchestral, songs and choral works, and music for the stage. Music by him has been performed by many front-line musicians and ensembles at a number of festivals both Finnish and foreign.

In addition to composing, Pohjannoro has played an active role in such organisations as Korvat Auki (Ears Open), Ung Nordisk Musik, the Society of Finnish Composers and the Finnish Composers’ Copyright Society (Teosto). He has taught composition and music theory at the Sibelius Academy, the Helsinki Conservatory and the University of Helsinki, Department of Musicology and has been a senior lecturer at the Tampere University of Applied Sciences since 2005.

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