1965). His solutions do not bow to either tradition or experimentation; he explores the potential of music
from fresh and innovative perspectives. His music is characterised by a clash of intense and energetic
textures with quiet landscapes with a quite different timescale.
Puumala first made a name for himself with his String Quartet (1994). Since then, his output has included
the Chains tetralogy for orchestra, written in the 1990s (Chant Chains, Chains of Camenae, Soira,
Chainsprings), the piano concerto Seeds of Time that won the distinguished national Teosto Prize in
2005, and Mure (2008) for Susanna Mälkki and the Ensemble Intercontemporain. He also created a
radiophonic work named Rajamailla that won the Prix Italia in 2001.
Veli-Matti Puumala studied composition with Paavo Heininen at the Sibelius Academy and continued his
studies with Franco Donatoni in Siena. Though he is an avowed modernist, his musical idiom has come
to embrace modal elements too. His birthplace, Kaustinen, is home to a major annual folk music festival,
and echoes of this may occasionally be heard in his music.
Puumala was a late starter in writing vocal music. His first vocal work, Korkeat illat for soprano and piano,
was written in 2000. At the time, he was already working on the opera Anna Liisa, which is the source of
the folk music allusions in the Korkeat illat.
Veli-Matti Puumala's recent works include Rope (2012) for the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra,
Rime (2013) for the Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra and Tear (2013) commissioned by the Tapiola
Sinfonietta. He has been Professor of Composition at the Sibelius Academy since 2005.
Anna Liisa, opera in three acts
Helena Juntunen, soprano
Jorma Hynninen, baritone
Tanja Kauppinen, soprano
Ville Rusanen, baritone
Sanna Kurki-Suonio, ethno mazzo-soprano
Juha Hostikka, baritone
Anu Hostikka, soprano
Jouni Kokora, bass
Helsinki Chamber Choir
Jan Söderblom, conductor