I was born in 1965 into a family of artists. My parents were onstage acrobats, who were touring in Finland in the 1950s and 1960s with their own show. Then later after the family grew, they still continued their touring but this time as an acrobat family where my sisters and brothers were also performing on a stage together with them.
My parents in Helsinki, 1950.
Chess, Music and Italy
I started writing music and playing the piano when I was about 12 years old. I remember how I did put my fingers the first time on the keyboard, and right away, the profound connection made me start to write my own melodies. It must be something that comes from somewhere I just cannot explain, and luckily this has continued all through my life until today. Around that time, I found my second true passion, playing chess! I used to spend countless hours studying the secrets of that game. Music started to fade out of my life in the years to come.
Studying chess at home, 1979.
I started writing music and playing the piano when I was about 12 years old. I remember how I did put my fingers the first time on the keyboard, and right away, the profound connection made me start to write my own melodies. It must be something that comes from somewhere I just cannot explain, and luckily this has continued all through my life until today.
During my high school years I started composing, studying classical music, and exploring all kinds of contemporary composing techniques. At that time, I had the idea of having the first concert of my own compositions. For this idea to become a reality, I felt that I needed to explore new countries and cultures to be inspired for writing new music. My sister who was already staying in Italy invited me to visit there… So I found Italy in my life. This thing would affect me significantly in the future…
The First Concert, Exhibition and Poetry
I spent the first winter in Italy in 1986 and kept writing new material for my concert. After returning back in Finland I found a professional composer in my hometown to who I could show all my sketches and compositions and share ideas with him. He helped me with my first serious compositions and giving some valuable tips for the creative process. I am grateful for all that – you can never have enough help at the beginning of your career.
My first composition concert was held in the spring of 1987 and it was organized in collaboration with my hometown’s symphony orchestra. I was performing as a pianist and conductor at the concert. The program included my latest works for string quartet, quintetto, string orchestra, and a piece for solo piano. The style of my music at that time was still more traditional in many aspects.
As a bonus element in my concert, I was projecting art photographs on the screen behind the orchestra. Maybe that was already a hint of my hidden desire to break classical boundaries and mix different elements to create something interesting.
Composing in Florence, 1986.
In 1988 we had the first exhibition in Finland. It included sculptures from my mother, art photographies from my brother and the music that I composed for our exhibition. A really nice and interesting artistic collaboration!
Slowly I became interested in poetry and French poets like Baudelaire and Rimbaud, etc. I was already writing my earliest poems during the first winter in Italy, but after finding those poets, I was truly inspired by them, so I began to write a new kind of music based on a poem by Charles Baudelaire. Read more about my poetry here.
The First Composition Award
The upcoming piece was titled ”Tales for string quartet,” and with that work, my original intention was to attend the composition competition that was held in 1988 in Finland. The jury included two famous Finnish composers, who found my idea and the whole concept of the composition interesting. Besides that, they appreciated my innovative, versatile approach and experimental techniques of string quartet too. Almost one hundred works have attended the competition anonymously, and I shared the Second Prize. According to the jury, all the awarded compositions were of high-quality work.
After that award, I kept studying music and writing new materials. I became inspired by various composers and styles but was still trying to find my own musical language. In 1990, I attended the composing course called ”Time of Music”. The teacher was a famous French composer, Jean-Claude Risset, best known for his pioneering contributions to computer music. He was a fantastic, very interesting and most sympathetic person, who brought so many new aspects to the table about the creative process and composing itself. You can learn more from him here.
More Concerts, Russia and Studying
The new and exciting chapter in my profound Biography is Russia. My next concert was held in Moscow in 1991. The program included my latest string quartet and also a composition for solo piano. I had an excellent opportunity to get the pianist, Dmitri Klimov, from Moscow to perform that composition. It was also my first experience with Russian musicians, and it opened me some collaboration chances with these fantastic world-class musicians. The following year in 1992, I had a chance to perform in Russia again but this time as a pianist. I was playing my solo piano composition in St. Petersburg ’92 festival. Below on the left: In Finland, 1987, on the middle: In Moscow, 1991 and on the right: Practicing in Helsinki, 1992.
The next world-class Russian musician I got to know was a multi-award-winning cellist Alexei Massarsky. He performed my new solo cello composition titled ”Nostalghia” which was inspired by Andrei Tarkovsky’s film.
That same year, I attended the ”Time of Music” composing course again. This time the teacher was a multi-award winning and critically acclaimed composer, York Höller, from Germany. Once again, just like with Jean-Claude, from him, I learned not only a new approach for composing but also different views and things about being a composer. You can learn more from him here.
The Second Award, New Challenges and Evolving
In 2001 I got my second award when I attended the INNOSUOMI competition in Finland. I was awarded the third prize with my innovative multimedia project called “Verla”. including these following multimedia elements: old photographs and films, panoramas, graphics, and music.
After that award, I have kept going on my endless artist journey. I have been developing and expanding as much as possible my musical langue, palette, and techniques while also sharing my time with my poetry and all kind of visual art, mixing editing techniques to create art.
The colors of inspiration in Portugal, 2017.