Einojuhani Rautavaara

Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara passed away yesterday, 27 July, in Helsinki. He was one of the most important composers of our time.

Rautavaara was born in Helsinki in 1928. He studied with at the Helsinki Academy and at the Juilliard School in New York. He first came to international attention in 1955 when the neo-classical A Requiem in Our Time for brass and percussion won the Thor Johnson Composer’s Competition in Cincinnati. He studied serialism and soon integrated twelve note techniques, without displacing his essential Romanticism.

In the late 1960s Rautavaara distanced himself from serialism and his mystical character came more to the fore in music of rich colour and sweeping melodic profile, at once accessible and evocative.

His operas have often explored issues of creativity and madness, such as Vincent (1986-87), Aleksis Kivi (1995-96) and Rasputin (2001-03), and his symphonies and concerti have increasingly been commissioned by orchestras outside his native Finland.

His compositions comprise eight symphonies, 14 concertos, choral works chamber music, choral works and operas.


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