Latest publications & news

Composer and guitarist Kai Nieminen will have a profile concert in his home town Jyväskylä on 18  March. The musicians from the Jyväskylä City Orchestra will perform his chamber music in the concert  celebrating Nieminen's 70th birthday. Among the works performed is the Duo Sonata with Johanna Kärkkäinen (flute) and Olli Hirvanen (guitar). This piece – among other works by the composer – has recently been recorded by Pilfink Records.

Read more

The concerto for violin and orchestra was composed in 2005 for Erkki Palola. The inspiration of the "Nonexistent Knight" was found in literature (Calvino, Cervantes), in music (Monteverdi) and in the singing of birds. Solo part & piano reduction Buy now

Read more

Kai Nieminen’s two guitar pieces pay homage to 20th century French compositions: Le Tombeau de Darius Milhaud (2021) draws inspiration from Milhaud’s short guitar composition Segoviana (1957) and Joan Miro’s series of paintings called The Dutch Interiors (1928). Le Tombeau d’Albert Roussel (2020) utilises themes and harmonies from Roussel’s ballet-pantomime Le Festin de l’Araignée (The Spider’s Feast) op.17 written in 1912.
Le Tombeau de Darius Milhaud 55011-716-7, € 10,90 Buy now
Le Tombeau d'Albert Roussel 55011-718-1, € 11,90 Buy now

Read more

This piece for 12 musicians (symphonic wind instruments and percussion) explores the mental images of autumn, melancholy and freedom. The work is in one movement, this revised version dates from 2018.
Score & parts 55011-482-1, € 78,20 Buy now

Read more

The music of Kai Nieminen does not conform to any “isms”. He remarks: “I feel like I am a painter in music, who having seen or experienced something attempts to give that something a shape in music.” The flute concerto Palomar was written for Patrick Gallois and premiered 2001 in Milan, Italy.
Study score 55009-637-0, € 34,50 Buy now
Solo part & piano reduction 55011-613-9, € 29,90 Buy now

Read more

Kai Nieminen’s Fragmental Reflections (2018) draws on the melancholy mood of the Finnish folk song "Tein minä pillin pajupuusta" (I made a willow whistle), familiar to most Finns. The emotional scale of this 10-minute guitar fantasy ranges from a nostalgic striving for beauty to discordantly disruptive moments.
55011-593-4, € 13,20 Buy now

Read more

Three piano trios were commissioned by Trio LaRue and composed in 2004-2016.
In der Winterzeit (inspired by Paul Klee's painting Winterwinde) was composed in 2004 and revised in 2012.
Score and parts 55011-525-5, € 39,90 Buy now
Reflecting Landscapes (2011) is inspired by Emily Dickinson's poem "A Bird, came down the Walk".
Score and parts 55011-526-2, € 39,90 Buy now
Frammenti dal buio… (Inspirazioni Caravaggesche, 2016) got its inspiration from the paintings of Caravaggio.
Score and parts 55011-527-9, € 39,90 Buy now

Read more

Kai Nieminen's "Three Quartets of Winter" includes:
1. I Can Hear Northern Lights (1999) was inspired by arctic winter and northern lights. (score and parts) 55011-484-5, € 39,90
Buy now
2. Towards the Light (2014) was created out of the need to describe childhood memories and in distinction to polar nights. (score and parts) 55011-485-2, € 39,90
Buy now
3. Gestures of Winter... (Time around northern night skies) was a part of "Followers of Sibelius" project in 2017.
(score and parts) 55011-486-9, € 39,90 Buy now

Read more

Nieminen has written four pieces for organ published here for the first time: 1. From Winter’s Night, 2. Temple II, 3. Preghiera (di Francesco di Assisi), and 4. Pre-Inter-Post.
55011-474-6, € 29,90 Buy now

Read more

Hymnos II for solo horn, 55011-425-8, € 11,00 Buy now
Arioso for solo horn, 55011-426-5, € 11,00 Buy now
Elegy for horn and harp, 55011-427-2, € 20,00 Buy now
Ancient Songs... for horn and piano, 55011-428-9, € 16,50 Buy now

Read more

Palomar (Flute Concerto) (I Crepuscolo)
sol. Patrick Gallois
Through Shadows I Can Hear Ancient Voices (Clarinet Concerto) (III Don’t Seek and Don’t Believe)
sol. Mikko Raasakka
Vicoli in ombra
Sinfonia Finlandia Jyväskylä, cond. Patrick Gallois
(*Naxos 8.572061)

Unen maasta (for mixed choir)
1. Uni
2. Keiju
3. Auringon lasku
Cantus Novus Wien

Concert of chamber works on 9 August 2016
The Tale of Astolpho on the Moon
Julvers (Notturno II)
Poems of Stopped Time and Silence 
Pan & Waves of Sorrow
The Smile of the Flamboyant Wings
Uccelli della notte
Erkki Palola, violin, Tuomas Mali, piano

VIDEOS (YouTube):

String quartet no. 4 "Sogni del Mare" ("Meren unia", 2020)
Meri-Lapin jousikvartetti

Reflecting Landscapes
In der Winterzeit

Trio La Rue

A Walk to the mysterious Woods (Guitar Sonata)
Patrik Kleemola, guitar

Acquarelli della notte
Fragmentos de la vida del mar
Kai Nieminen, guitar

Night Preludes
Olli Hirvanen, guitar

Images of Fear
John Mills, guitar

*with permission of Naxos. To download the album, visit To purchase the CD, visit

Kai Nieminen

Kai Nieminen (born 17 March 1953) studied the guitar at the Conservatory of Central Finland and the Sibelius Academy and musicology at the University of Jyväskylä. He has also studied composition with Stepán Rak and Pekka Kostiainen and attended master classes with George Crumb, Paavo Heininen, Jukka Tiensuu and Theo Lowendie. As a guitarist Kai Nieminen has given recitals and appeared as soloist with several orchestras and acted as a member of the jury of the Fernando Sor Guitar Competition.

Nieminen has composed a number of orchestral works. He is especially known for his concertos, e.g. for the flute (Palomar, 2001), clarinet (Through Shadows I Can Hear Ancient Voices, 2002), violin (‘Il viaggio del cavaliere... (inexistente)’, 2005), piano (Reflections… In the Enchanted Waves of Time, 2005), oboe (Somni de Gaudi, 2008), guitar (‘If on a Winter's Night a Traveller’, 2009) as well as cello and accordion (Marcovaldo, 2012). His list of works also includes vocal music, a wealth of chamber music and works for solo instruments – especially the guitar, his own instrument.

Nieminen has composed three symphonies. The first, ‘La Selva’, which was commissioned by the Sinfonia Finlandia Jyväskylä and premiered on 13 November 2013 under the baton of Patrick Gallois. Symphony No. 2 'Nello specchio della notte' was premiered in 2015 at the Sääksmäki Soi Festival. The third symphony will have its premiere by the Joensuu Orchestra on 22 October 2020.

Nieminen does not fill his score to the brim but instead allows the instruments room to breathe. The delicate, fragile and airy texture of his orchestral works is often more in the nature of intimate chamber music allowing the various instruments to express their intrinsic characteristics and timbres. Kai Nieminen is inspired by cultural and temporal planes and linking the past with the present. He regards himself as a tone painter of fantasies from the life around him and finds his sources of inspiration often in literature, but also in the visual arts and nature. However, he has no desire to confine the listener to any programme. The aim of the extra-musical stimuli is at most to fire the listeners’ imagination and to make them savour musical visions with an open mind.

Naxos and Pilfink Records have released Kai Nieminen's works on CD. 

See: Kai Nieminen home page

Browse the publications in our web shop at Kirjavalitys.