Latest News

“Own Fault” scores big success

Olli’s new monologue opera Oma vika (“Own Fault”), produced by Saaristo-ooppera (Opera Archipelago) was premiered in Turku in October, with three additional sold-out performances and exceptional media attention. Already dozen or so performances are being scheduled for different venues nationwide. The Helsinki premiere will take place on May 12, 2016 at the Finnish National Theatre.

Oma vika, with a libretto by Michael Baran, is based on the diaries of the renowned baritone singer Sauli Tiilikainen whose daughter committed suicide in 2008. Mr. Tiilikainen himself sang the only role of the opera in the premiere.

Read review in Helsingin Sanomat (in Finnish):

Seven Songs for Planet Earth – Midwest Premiere in Minneapolis

Seven Songs for Planet Earth, Olli’s symphonic cantata, will receive its Midwest premiere on the Earth Day weekend 2016 in Minneapolis, with Nicole Warner, mezzo-soprano, Aaron Larson, baritone, and the Masterworks Chorale of Augsburg College, conducted by Peter Hendrickson. The work was first performed in 2011 in Washington DC, and has since received both American and Finnish performances.

Birthday concert at Organo Novo

This year’s Organo Novo Festival will celebrate Olli’s 60th birthday with a concert in Helsinki on November 15. The program consists of six of his works, among them the World Premiere of Grace – Sonatina for Horn and Organ.

Award to Olli: Art Music Composer of the Year

In September 2015, Finnish Music Publishers’ Association awarded prizes to Finnish musicians in four categories. Olli was chosen as the Art Music Composer of the Year.

New CD: Stargazer – Works for Organ

Fuga Records recently released organ virtuoso Jan Lehtola’s new recording of Olli’s three sonatas and other works (Fuga-9397).

New Opera for Tampere

The Tampere Opera will host the world premiere of Olli’s new opera My Brother’s Keeper (Veljeni vartija) in February 2018 – his tenth opera to date. The librettist and the stage director is Tuomas Parkkinen. This large-scale commission by the Tampere Opera commemorates the battles of the Finnish Civil War in Tampere in 1918 describing the events from the perspectives of two siblings that drift to the opposite sides. The opera is an epic, symphonic drama about crushed dreams, difficult choices and great emotions, and although it tackles major events in Finland’s history, the focus is in the personal histories within one family. The Tampere Philharmonic will be conducted by Santtu-Matias Rouvali, and the top cast of soloists will include Marjukka Tepponen, Ville Rusanen, Juha Kotilainen, Päivi Nisula and Tuomas Katajala.

Read the press release (in Finnish):

Minnesota Orchestra announces 2015/16 season – Olli’s Migrations performed and recorded

The Minnesota Orchestra’s 2015/16 season includes the world premiere of Olli’s Migrations, with the YL Male Voice Choir and mezzo Lilli Paasikivi singing text by Duluth-based poet Sheila Packa in three concerts on February 4, 5 and 6. They will also record the work for a future release.

Opera premiere in late October

Olli is currently working on his newest opera, the monologue Oma vika (Own Fault) which will be produced by the independent Opera Archipelago in Turku. The premiere is scheduled for October 31. The subject of the opera is the death of one’s child, and the libretto – written by Michael Baran – is based on the diaries of opera-singer Sauli Tiilikainen. Sauli himself will also sing in the production.

New works

Five new works by Olli will be premiered during the late fall and winter. His Clarinet Concerto will be premiered on October 30 in Oulu by Christoffer Sundqvist and Oulu Sinfonia, conducted by Johannes Gustavsson. Jan Lehtola will play Organ Sonata No. 3 in Helsinki in early November. On March 27, a new children’s opera called Janne’s Secret will be premiered at the Finnish National Opera, and on March 30, a new choral work to a text by one of Olli’s all-time favorite poets Wendell Berry, The Return, will be heard for the first time by the Tapiola Chamber Choir. Still another premiere will take place on April 11 by the YL Male Voice Choir.

FinnFest in Minneapolis: Olli’s music on display

In early August, Minneapolis will host FinnFest, the annual Finnish American festival, also marking the 150th anniversary of modern Finnish immigration to North America. There will be several performances of Olli’s works, including the World Premiere of his Two Old Finnish Hymns on August 3 by Nicole Warner, mezzo-soprano, and Mark Sedio, organ. Olli’s brand-new cantata Migrations, commissioned by the Minnesota Orchestra, also thematically connected to the themes of the festival, will be premiered during the 2015-16 season.

Chops and Swells in Uusikaupunki

Olli’s Chops and Swells, subtitled Scherzo acquatico, will be premiered at the Crusell Music Festival in Uusikaupunki on July 30. The performers are José Luis Estellés, clarinet, and the Jousia Quartet.

Commissions for Naantali and Tampere

Olli’s been commissioned to write a large-scale sacred work by the Church of Finland to be premiered in Naantali in June 2017. The Tampere Hall and the Tampere Opera will host the world premiere of Olli’s and librettist Tuomas Parkkinen’s new opera in March 2018, commemorating the battles of the Finnish Civil War in Tampere in 1918.

Seven Songs for Planet Earth: Finnish premiere on September 13

Olli’s symphonic cantata Seven Songs for Planet Earth which received its world premiere in Washington DC in May 2011 was performed by the Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus, along with the Pirkanpojat boys’ choir. The soloists will be Tuija Knihtilä and Aarne Pelkonen, and the performance will be conducted by Jani Sivén.

Commission for Minnesota

Osmo Vänskä and the Minnesota Orchestra have commissioned Olli to write an orchestral work for the autumn 2014 season. It is to be scored for mezzo-soprano, symphony orchestra and male choir and the theme will be immigration.

“An opera for the future” – One Night Stand reviewed by Opera Now

“Taking such a relevant and insightful libretto about the ills of our time 
(which could easily stand on its own as a play) and turning it into a 
successful opera was a challenge which Olli Kortekangas met. His music 
not only added depth, breadth, and feeling to the opera, but emotional 
heft to the characters: you really cared what happened to these kids. 
Drawing inspiration from a variety of musical and operatic genres, he
 skillfully navigated through a sea of diverse vocal waters, from grand
opera arias and dynamic coloratura, Greek Chorus-like recitative 
(speaking snippets of cell phone conversations) to cabaret, Broadway 
musicals, tango music, and modern jazz.
This is a 21st century opera that speaks to a 21st century audience in 
its language and music. It is fast-paced, almost chaotic in places, 
and so relevant for today’s youth that it promises to bring down the
 average age of the typical operagoer by 30 years. This is an opera for 
the future.”
(Karyl Charna Lynn, Opera Now, December 2011)