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.
Andrew Mellor, 2019
Critical AcclaimOur fastest-rising contemporary composer -Kare Eskola, Finnish Broadcasting Company
The extreme quiet of the forest is perhaps the most beautiful silence there is. Sibelius knew that, and so does the ever fascinating Finnish composer Outi Tarkiainen, whose fusion of silence and music, as well as jazz and classical idioms, draws on her Lapland roots and on the mystery and melancholy of life in the north - Andrew Mellor, Gramophone
Outi was born in Rovaniemi in Finnish Lapland, which has proved a constant source of inspiration for her. She studied composition at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki with Eero Hämeenniemi and Veli-Matti Puumala, at the University of Miami with Ron Miller and at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London with Malcolm Singer. Since 2017 her music has been published by Edition Wilhelm Hansen.
Since her student days, Outi has been drawn to the expressive power and natural truths of the human voice. After making her name as a composer-conductor with some of Europe’s leading jazz orchestras, Outi collaborated with the Finnish vocalist Aili Ikonen on 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, and was recorded for Fredriksson Music. More recently, her saxophone concerto Saivo (2016), written for the saxophonist Jukka Perko, explores ideas of duality and illusion – in both the saxophone and in concerto form itself. It was nominated for the Nordic Council Music Prize in 2018.
Outi has composed vocal, chamber and solo instrumental works as well as works for orchestra and soloist. In September 2016, the Lapland Chamber Orchestra, conductor John Storgårds and mezzo-soprano Virpi Räisänen gave the first performance of her biggest work to date, an orchestral song cycle to texts by Sami poets entitled The Earth, Spring’s Daughter (2015). The work’s structural finesse underlined the composer’s handling of large-scale forms while its pained lyricism revealed both her strong feelings about Sami emancipation and her love for the music of Alban Berg. In 2017, Outi was composer-in-residence at the Norrbotten Big Band, resulting in the Prophone Records album Unpainted Portraits (2018).
Outi has worked with ensembles including the Norrbotten Chamber Orchestra, the Lapland Chamber Orchestra, the Arctic Philharmonic, the Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra, Tapiola Sinfoinetta, the Uusinta Ensemble, the Zagros Ensemble, the Moscow Contemporary Music Ensemble, the Henry Mancini Institute Chamber Orchestra, the Slovenian Radio Big Band, the Norrbotten Big Band, the Umo Jazz Orchestra and the Metropole Orchestra. She won First Prize in the International Jazzverk Big Band Composition Competition in Sweden in 2008 with her piece Oglütz.
Outi has also worked with some of the most distinguished conductors and musicians in the Nordic region and beyond. She has collaborated with jazz legends David Liebman, Randy Brecker, Conrad Herwig, Peter Erskine and Dick Oatts. Her music has been heard in cities from Tallinn to Tokyo. In 2015 Outi was composer-in-residence at the Festival de Musique Classique d’Uzerche in France.
Her heart, however, remains in the north. ‘I have a fundamental longing for the northernmost regions within me’, she has said. That longing was satisfied during her co-artistic directorship of the annual Silence Festival in Lapland from 2014-18, and more recently by her move to the far northern town of Ivalo, 300km north of Rovaniemi. It continues to find expression in her music’s fascinating mix of beauty and brutality, of richness and sparseness.
Andrew Mellor, 2019
18th March 2021Streamed event
- The Ring of Fire and LoveWorld Premiere
- Johanna Wallroth, soprano
- Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra
- Sakari Oramo
- Konserthuset Stockholm, Stockholm, Sweden
25th March 2021Streamed event
- Jukka Perko
- Oulu Symphony Orchestra
- Jaakko Kuusisto
- Oulu Music Centre, Oulu, Finland
- Outi Tarkiainen, unveiling the music
- Read our interview with Outi Tarkiainen, as she discusses her music inspirations and composing.