L o t t a W e n n ä k o s k i


heikkituulen_potrettimvpieni.jpgLotta Wennäkoski (born 1970 in Helsinki, Finland) studied first violin, music theory and Hungarian folk music in the Béla Bartók Conservatory in Budapest. She then studied music theory and composition at the Sibelius Academy and got her diploma in 2000. Her main composition teachers have been Eero Hämeenniemi, Kaija Saariaho and Paavo Heininen. 1998-99 Wennäkoski studied in the Netherlands with Louis Andriessen.

Wennäkoski's debut concert took place in Musica Nova Helsinki festival in 1999. Her orchestral piece Sakara was commissioned by Esa-Pekka Salonen, who also conducted the premier with Helsinki Philharmonia in 2003. Lotta Wennäkoski!s stage work N! (Woman's love and life) was premiered in Helsinki Festival also in 2003, and was nominated for the Nordic Council Music Prize the next year. Important performances of Wennäkoski's works include the premier of the flute concerto Soie by Petri Alanko and the Finnish RSO in 2009  - chosen to the list of recommended works at the international rostrum of composers in 2012 - and the mini opera Lelele at the Musica Nova Helsinki 2011, performed by soprano Pia Freund and Plus Ensemble. The monodrama has later been performed in Maerzmusik (Berlin), Warsaw Autumn and Huddersfield festivals.

Lotta Wennäkoski was the artistic co-ordinator of Tampere Biennale festival 2008-2010. A CD of her chamber music, Culla d'aria, was published 2008 by Alba Records.  She was the composer-in-residence of Tapiola Sinfonietta during the season 2010-11. The orchestra then performed several of Wennäkoski's works and commissioned the song cycle Le miroir courbe, which was premiered in May 2011. In March 2012 Wennäkoski was one of the featured composers at the 17th Other Minds Festival in San Francisco.

In October 2012, the Finnish RSO and Dima Slobodeniouk premiered the 86-minute long Amor omnia - live music for silent film (Amor omnia, Finland 1922). The chamber orchestra piece, Jong, brings a very special soloist in front of the chamber orchestra - a juggler. The premier, Sakari Männistö as juggler, was played by the Lapland Chamber Orchestra in May 2013. In 2014 the work was nominated for the Nordic Council Music Prize.

The Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra has recorded Wennäkoski's orchestral music, and the CD Soie was released by the label Ondine in June 2015. The chamber orchestral piece Verdigriscommissioned and premiered by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra in October 2015, is a capricious fairy tale and a tribute to Jean Sibelius quoting some material from his tone poem En Saga.

Wennäkoski was the artistic planner for the Avanti! Summer Sounds Festival in 2017. The same year BBC commissioned her an orchestral work Flounce, the premier of which was at the Last Night of the Proms on September 9th, 2017; Sakari Oramo conducting the BBC Symphony Orchestra. Another festive premier, Uniin asti for male choir and orchestra, took place at Helsinki Music Center on December 6. The Polytech Choir and the Finnish RSO were conducted by Hannu Lintu. The next year the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra commissioned Wennäkoski a chamber work Hele, the premier of which took place in November 2018 in Walt Disney Hall. The concert was conducted by Susanna Mälkki.

In summer 2019 Wennäkoski was the guest composer at the Korsholm Music Festival. Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra commissioned her a new work Om fotspår och ljus, the premier of which took place in September 2019. Another commission is from the Savonlinna Opera Festival - the opera "Regine" tells the life story of Søren Kierkegaard's fiancé and is scheduled to be premiered in 2022.

(photo Heikki Tuuli)