Kai Nieminen

Kai Nieminen (born 17 March 1953) studied the guitar at the Conservatory of Central Finland and the Sibelius Academy, and musicology at the University of Jyväskylä. He also studied composition with Stepán Rak and Pekka Kostiainen, and attended master classes with George Crumb, Paavo Heininen, Jukka Tiensuu and Theo Lowendie. As a guitarist, Kai Nieminen has given recitals and appeared as soloist with several orchestras and acted as a member of the jury of the Fernando Sor Guitar Competition.

Nieminen has composed a number of orchestral works. He is especially known for his concertos, e.g. for the flute (Palomar, 2001), clarinet (Through Shadows I Can Hear Ancient Voices, 2002), violin (‘Il viaggio del cavaliere… (inexistente)’, 2005), piano (Reflections… In the Enchanted Waves of Time, 2005), oboe (Somni de Gaudi, 2008), guitar (‘If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller’, 2009) as well as cello and accordion (Marcovaldo, 2012). His list of works also includes vocal music, a wealth of chamber music, including seven string quartets, and works for solo instruments – especially the guitar, his own instrument.

Nieminen has composed three symphonies. The first, ‘La Selva’, was commissioned by the Sinfonia Finlandia Jyväskylä and premiered on 13 November 2013 under the baton of Patrick Gallois. Symphony No. 2 ‘Nello specchio della notte’ was premiered in 2015 at the Sääksmäki Soi Festival. The third symphony was premiered by the Joensuu Orchestra on 22 October 2020 under the baton of Eero Lehtimäki.

Kai Nieminen regards Japanese composer Toru Takemitsu as his closest musical and spiritual model. Nieminen’s music combines a northern sensibility and Mediterranean, particularly Italian, influences. As the titles of his works indicate, he often finds inspiration in extra-musical sources such as visual arts or literature, from Cervantes to Gaudí.

Photo © Saara Vuorijoki/Music Finland.

http://kainieminen.net     http://core.musicfinland.fi/composers/kai-nieminen     http://pilfink.fi