#11: An Introduction with Outi Tarkiainen

The BBC Proms season has started! There’s a host of world premieres in the programme, so we’re running a series of very short introductions to some of the new pieces in this season. Our first introduction is to Midnight Sun Variations by Finnish composer Outi Tarkiainen. The piece will be performed by John Storgårds and the BBC Philharmonic in Prom 22 on Sunday 4th August, alongside Rachmaninoff’s Isle of the Dead and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 11. You can also hear our presenter, Leah, speaking in the interval for this concert!

© Sigel Eschkol

Outi Tarkianen was born in Rovaniemi in Finnish Lapland, a place that has proved a constant source of inspiration for her. She has long been drawn to the expressive power of the human voice, but has written vocal, chamber and solo instrumental works as well as works for orchestra and soloist. ‘I see music as a force of nature that can flood over a person and even change entire destinies’, she once said.

Outi’s music has been heard in cities from Tallinn to Tokyo. Her collaboration with the Finnish vocalist Aili Ikonen culminated in a series of jazz orchestra works including Into the Woodland Silence (2013), a score that combined the composer’s sense of natural mysticism with the distinctive textures of the jazz orchestra tradition. The pained lyricism of her orchestral song cycle to texts by Sami poets The Earth, Spring’s Daughter (2015) showed her capabilities on a larger scale and revealed her strong feelings about Sami emancipation in music of distinct originality and individuality. Outi’s saxophone concerto Saivo (2016), written for the saxophonist Jukka Perko, was nominated for the Nordic Council Music Prize in 2018, explored ideas of duality and illusion in both the instrument and in concerto form itself.

Outi studied composition at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, the Guildhall School in London and at the University of Miami. She as been composer in residence at the Festival de Musique Classique d’Uzerche in France and was for four years co-artistic director of the Silence Festival in Lapland.

To find out more about Outi, please visit her website.

The theme tune is ‘Dusty Rag’ by May Aufderheide. Performed by Joanna Goldstein for Centaur. This podcast is licensed by PRS for Music (www.prsformusic.com).