Featured Works

Juhani T. Vesikkala

Selected early works
  [for recordings, see right side or Soundcloud page]
wRm-bLt (2012)
ColoCordatura (2011 / rev. 2012)

Vesikkala’s output thus far consists of works in the soloistic, chamber, ensemble, sinfonietta, vocal, choral, and electronic mediums.

See Catalog of Works (last updated Feb 2016)

The Composer’s Social Statement

For me at this point, ambivalences of concept, paradoxes in the entire range of human experience, essay-like and nonlinear forms, psychoacoustics, and European postcolonial perspectives are inspirational influences for musical expression.

The music I compose today aims at serving the lives of people of our time and of the future – to make the next generations receive even more from music than ours did. One of the many goals of music in general is to make humans notice enriching alternatives in their lives. I see the ongoing story of music and all the arts as a narrative that in part refines itself on the way in order to cater to as many kinds of people as possible. An important tool to this end is the inclusion of all kinds of listeners, themes, and interdisciplinarity. Any existing music should be available to every living person sooner or later, as it was originally conceived for humans.
My music singularly cannot cater to all the people, thus I strive for the coexistence alongside many different musics. In keeping with this, I don’t encourage anyone to put resources into composing a piece of music that essentially has been done multiple times already and has an identical effect on the listener.

I also acknowledge I have undergone a thoroughly European education. As a composer writing current music in the so-called western fashion I will face very different dilemmas and challenges compared to composers from, say, the Global South ever will when deciding to compose in the western medium. As a further aspiration for inclusivity, I will continue to question the necessity of certain ingrained ways of European thinking in art music, any possibly elitist aspects that are unnecessarily distancing or prohibiting some people from accessing our shared music at a moment when they need it. I am equally critical of the overly commodified, the unconcernedly/callous conflated and dominant western-originating but non-original popular music which leaves people without a possibility not to hear it.

In creating new compositions I see an overlapping interest in individual choice, human rights, and wellbeing. Perhaps an old-fashioned ideal, so be it, and still composing music sometimes has this kind of an active political intention for me.

    JT Vesikkala, June 2015

   A few more thoughts on my compositional attitude, from late 2013:

I have aimed at creating music in a so-called avantgardistic idiom, for some ten years already. The meaning of ‘avant-garde’, or ‘the current’, is, by definition something that frequently has to be defined anew. The demands on the relation between the current music and composer-performer-listener-communication are something more constant. The current music the living composers create and ardent listeners expect to hear necessarily has to react to the challenges of the current living environment around us. In the complex world of ours, that may indeed often imply the risk of new music not being easily perceived (or, understood?) at once, which requirement of some audiences might then be deemed impossible to fulfil. One could from all the different kinds of music readily accessible and “understood”, at least develop new ways of listening by combining any of the previous ones, all of which is difficult and might eventually not work. For me, finding ways to listen is one of the most fascinating parts of encountering fresh pieces of music.

The alignment, outlook, preference, and attitude are qualities of receiving music that the listener is more or less privileged to develop separately for almost each Modern and current piece of music (but luckily, not in the middle of a particular piece of music. It is considered our responsibility towards the listener, and simply compositional worksmanship, to clearly state an alignment, a safe receptive angle, for the listener right in the beginning of our music and not to overthrow it completely at any given future moment).

There is no need to strive after inventing something completely new to spice up our learned ways of listening, after all. In many genres and on many instruments we’ve reached a stage where no imaginable, separate musical phenomenon or substance seems to receive the status of ‘the new’ or ‘the genuine’. Now it comes down to combinations. In my music I want to combine effective and interesting concepts of earlier music in a way that reflects our current living environment and reveals new aspects for and about it.