Tapio Tuomela (born 11 October 1958) graduated from the Sibelius Academy with diploma degrees in piano and conducting. He continued his piano and conducting studies in Soviet Union and his composition studies at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York receiving the Master of Music degree in 1990. He has also studied composition at Hochschule der Kunste in Berlin, at master classes by Witold Lutoslawski, George Crumb, Klaus Huber, Brian Ferneyhough and at the summer course of IRCAM in Paris.
Tuomela’s main works are the stage works The Ear’s Tale, Mothers and Daughters and Antti Puuhaara, his two symphonies and his orchestral pieces. His oeuvre also includes vocal works such as Vuohenki Luohti (The Song of Vuohenki) for mezzo-soprano and orchestra. His works often have a connection to the Kalevala (e.g. Lemminkäinen, 2002) or Lapland’s nature and culture (Jokk, 1995). He has also written a Piano Concerto for Iiro Rantala in 2008. Recent orchestral works include Swap – Concerto for Saxophone and Sinfonietta, premiered by Joonatan Rautiola and the Joensuu Orchestra in April 2013. His latest opera Neljäntuulentie (Crossing of Four Roads), based on the best-seller novel of the Finnish writer Tommi Kinnunen, had ten sold-out performances at the Oulu Opera in 2017. Part of the material was reworked for his 3rd symphony 'Crossroads', which was first performed by the Lahti Symphony Orchestra in their concert jubilating the centenary of the Finnish Independence in December 2017. Tuomela has also composed choral music as well as several chamber and instrumental works which are popular repertoire of many a musician.
Tuomela's works have been performed at several international festivals of contemporary music (World Music Days, Moscow Forum, Gulbenkian, Présences, Sibelius&Beyond (London), Scandinavia Today (N.Y.), and Nordic Music Days, among others. His compositions have been twice selected by the UNESCO Rostrum, and he has received commissions by orchestras or ensembles in Scandinavia, France, Germany, Spain, Portugal, and Russia. He has had portrait concerts at the Helsinki Festival summer series 1991, at the Finnish Institute of Antwerp in 1998 and Paris in 2003, at the Sibelius-Academy series in Helsinki and in Turku (Aboa Nova 2008). He was invited as a featured composer in the Nordic Music Festival in St Petersburg in 2005 and Festival Musiques Demésurées, Clermont-Ferrand in 2006.
Tapio Tuomela received the Kalevala Prize in 2005 for integration of the Finnish "rune" heritage in his contemporary musical language. His opera Mothers and Daughters was the Finnish candidate for the Nordic Music Prize in 2004 and its recording appeared in the "Top five" of the Magazine Fanfare classical music new recordings of 2009.
Tuomela's latest large scale works include music to the silent film Noidan kirot (Spell of the Sorcerer, 77 min), commissioned and performed by the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra in October 2010, and the chamber opera/melodrama Antti Puuhaara, 2009, which has been performed nearly 30 times by Ensemble Musicatreize. The latest performances were at the Bastille opera (Young audiences -program at the Auditorium in December 2011), at Musée d'Orsay (Concert series of the Gallen-Kallela exhibition, March 2012), and at the Helsinki Music Centre, December 2012.
Two CDs of Tuomela were published in 2010: Antti Puuhaara (along a book with illustrations by Hannu Väisänen) and Spells, choral music by Tuomela, performed by the Helsinki Chamber Choir.
As a part of his doctoral studies at the Sibelius-Academy, Tuomela has combined academic research and artistic work with the bilingual song cycle Song Pairs. The first one was premiered by Soile Isokoski and Marita Viitasalo-Pohjola in September 2008; the more recent ones include the Song Pair No. 3 performed at the Helsinki Music Centre in December 2011, No. 4 performed at the Kuopio Music Centre in November 2012, and No. 2 performed at the Wäinö Aaltonen Museum, Turku in February 2013.
Tuomela held the position of Artistic Director of the Time of Music Festival between 1999 and 2008. During 2008-2013, he was Composer-in-Residence of the Joensuu Orchestra, and in 2010-2014 Chairman of the Society of Finnish Composers. He still appears as conductor at times, with contemporary music and opera as his specialities, and has performed with professional orchestras in all Scandinavian countries, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Russia, and Lithuania.