Aulis Sallinen

Aulis Sallinen (born 9 April 1935) is a Finnish contemporary classical music composer. His music has been variously described as "remorselessly harsh", a "beautifully crafted amalgam of several 20th-century styles", and "neo-romantic".[1][2] Sallinen studied at the Sibelius Academy, where his teachers included Joonas Kokkonen. He has had works commissioned by the Kronos Quartet, and has also written seven operas, eight symphonies, concertos for violin, cello, flute, horn and English horn as well as several chamber works. He won the Nordic Council Music Prize in 1978 for his opera Ratsumies (The Horseman).

Aulis Sallinen
Aulis Sallinen
Aulis Sallinen at the Academic Bookstore in Helsinki, Finland, in 2009
Born9 April 1935 (age 83)
Known forsymphonies
Notable work
Operas Ratsumies (The Horseman) and Punainen Viiva (The red Line)

Childhood and studies

Sallinen was born in Salmi. During his childhood the family moved several times for his father's work, and during Evacuation of Finnish Karelia in 1944 the family relocated in Uusikaupunki, where Aulis Sallinen attended his schools.[3]

His first instruments were violin and piano. He would play both jazz and classical music.[4] He was known to be extremely creative, and spent much time during his teenage years improvising. After a while, he began writing his ideas down on paper, and began to do serious composition. He attended the Sibelius Academy of Music, and studied with a number of prestigious teachers such as Aarre Merikanto and Joonas Kokkonen.[5]

Early career and operas

After graduating, Sallinen took a position as composition teacher at the Sibelius Academy, and continued composing. Among his pupils were i.e. the Austrian born Finnish composer Herman Rechberger and Jouni Kaipainen. He was appointed as the general manager of the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra in 1960, and held the position until 1969.[6] He was the chairman of the board of the Society of Finnish Composers between 1971-74.[7] Though he was a known teacher and was on many boards of directors, his compositions were not particularly noted until he was made "Artist Professor" by the Finnish government in 1976, letting him concentrate on composing.[8]

Sallinen's first opera Ratsumies (The Horseman) premiered at Savonlinna Opera Festival in 1975. Together with Joonas Kokkonen's The Last Temptations (1975) it started a golden era of modern Finnish opera. Second opera, Punainen viiva (The Red Line), was commissioned by the Finnish National Opera. Sallinen's next opera Kuningas lähtee Ranskaan (The King Goes Forth to France) was a joint commission by the Covent Garden and the Finnish National Opera.[4]

Later life

After receiving the lifelong art professorship, Sallinen devoted great amounts of time to his composing. He has revived standard forms and harmonies, but puts them together in very contemporary ways. He has received a number of commissions from some very renowned ensembles and has composed eight symphonies, including one using material from a proposed ballet on The Lord of the Rings and containing two mediaeval Finnish tunes from the Piae Cantiones. He has written seven operas and is well known as the composer of the title track of the Kronos Quartet's album Winter Was Hard.

Career highlights

Selected works




  • Mauermusik, Op. 7 (1963)
  • Variations for Orchestra, Op. 8 (1963)
  • Chorali, for wind orchestra, Op. 22 (1970)
  • Chamber Music I, for string orchestra, Op. 38 (1975)
  • Chamber Music II, for alto flute and string orchestra Op. 41 (1976)
  • Dies Irae, for soprano, bass, male choir and orchestra, Op. 47 (1978)
  • Shadows, prelude for orchestra, Op. 52 (1982)
  • Chamber Music III, The Nocturnal Dances of Don Juanquixote, for cello and string orchestra, Op. 58 (1985–86)
  • Sunrise Serenade, Op. 63 (1989)
  • Songs of Life and Death, for baritone, choir and orchestra, Op. 69 (1995)
  • Palace Rhapsody for wind orchestra, Op. 72 (1996)
  • Introduction and Tango Overture, for piano and string orchestra, Op. 74b (1997)
  • A Solemn Overture (King Lear), Op. 75 (1997)
  • Chamber Music IV, Metamorphoses of Elegy for Sebastian Knight, for piano and string orchestra, Op. 79 (2000)
  • Chamber Music V, Barabbas Variations, for accordion (or piano) and string orchestra, Op. 80 (2000)
  • Chamber Music VI, 3 invitations au voyage, for string quartet and string orchestra, Op. 88 (2006)
  • Chamber Music VII, Cruseliana, for wind quintet and string orchestra, Op. 93 (2007)
  • Chamber Music VIII, The Trees, All Their Green (Paavo Haavikko in memoriam), for cello and string orchestra, Op. 94 (2008)


  • Violin Concerto, Op. 18 (1968)
  • Cello Concerto, Op. 44 (1977)
  • Flute Concerto, Harlequin, Op. 70 (1995)
  • Horn Concerto, Campane ed Arie, Op. 82 (2002)
  • Chamber Concerto, for violin, piano, and string orchestra, Op. 87 (2005)
  • Concerto for Clarinet, Viola, and Chamber Orchestra, Op. 91 (2007) (also for clarinet, cello and chamber orchestra, Op. 91a)
  • English Horn Concerto, Op. 97 (2010–11)

Chamber music

  • String Quartet No. 1, Op. 2 (1958)
  • String Quartet No. 2 Canzona, Op. 4 (1960)
  • Quattro per quattro, Op. 12 (1965)
  • String Quartet No. 3 Some Aspects of Peltoniemi Hintrik's Funeral March, Op. 19 (1969)
  • Four Etudes for violin & piano, Op.21 (1970)
  • String Quartet No. 4 Quiet Songs, Op. 25 (1971)
  • Sonata for Solo Cello, Op. 26 (1971)
  • Metamorphora, for cello & piano, Op. 34 (1974)
  • String Quartet No. 5 Pieces of Mosaic, Op. 54 (1983)
  • From a Swan Song, for cello & piano, Op. 67 (1991)
  • Barabbus Dialogues,for vocalists, narrator & chamber ensemble, Op. 84 (2003)
  • Piano Quintet ...des morceaux oublies, Op. 85 (2004)
  • Cello Sonata, Op. 86 (2004)
  • Windy Winter in Provence for Tenor, Piano, Violin & Guitar, Op. 89 (2006)
  • Mistral Music for Solo Flute, Op. 90 (2005) (also for flute & string quartet, Op. 90a)
  • Piano Quintet No. 2 Three Kullervo Elegies, Op. 92 (2006)
  • Preludes and Fugues for Solo Accordion, Op. 95 (2009)
  • Piano Trio Les Visions Fugitives, Op. 96 (2010)
  • "Die Virtuose Tafelmusik von Don Juanquijote" for Accordion & Cello, Op. 98 (2011)
  • "...memories, memories..." for Children's Choir, Piano & Strings, Op. 99 (2011)
  • Five Portraits of Women for Soprano, Horn & Chamber Orchestra, Op. 100 (2012)
  • Baumgesang mit Epilog for Cello & Piano, Op. 101 (2013)
  • Three Adagios for Organ, Op. 102 (2013)
  • String Quartet No. 6, Op. 103 (2014)

Vocal and choral

  • Songs from the Sea, Op. 33 for unaccompanied children's choir, based on Finnish folk songs and a poem by the composer's two sons
  • Song Around a Song, Op. 50 (1980) - Four folk songs in Italian, Japanese, Finnish and English for unaccompanied children's choir
  • The Iron Age: Suite, Op. 55, arranged from music for Finnish TV series based on the Kalevala
  • The Beaufort Scale, Op. 56 (1984), humoresque for choir unaccompanied, based on the wind velocity scale


  1. ^ Donal Henahan, "Music: Finnish Opera Offers Sallinen's 'Red Line.'" The New York Times. April 29, 1983.
  2. ^ Jeremy Parsons, The Musical Times. Vol. 121, No. 1653 (Nov., 1980), pp. 693-695.
  3. ^ "Sallinen, Aulis (1935 - )". Biografiakeskus (in Finnish). Retrieved 27 October 2016. (Registration required (help)).
  4. ^ a b "Biography". all music guide. Retrieved 26 October 2016.
  5. ^ "Aulis Sallinen". Ondine. Retrieved 26 October 2016.
  6. ^ Antero Karttunen: Radion sinfoniaorkesteri 1927-2002, p. 78
  7. ^
  8. ^

External links

Bo Carpelan

Baron Bo Gustaf Bertelsson Carpelan (25 October 1926 – 11 February 2011) was a Finnish poet and author. He published his first book of poems in 1946, and received his Ph.D. in 1960. Carpelan, who wrote in Swedish, composed numerous books of verse, as well as several novels and short stories.In 1997, he won the Swedish Academy Nordic Prize, known as the 'little Nobel'. He is the only person yet to have received the Finlandia Prize twice. He won the 2006 European Prize for Literature. His poem, Winter was Hard, was set to music by composer Aulis Sallinen. He also wrote the libretto for Erik Bergman's only opera, Det sjungande trädet.Carpelan died of cancer on 11 February 2011. He is buried in the Hietaniemi Cemetery in Helsinki. He was a member of the Finnish noble family Carpelan.

Chamber Music III (Sallinen)

The Chamber Music III, The Nocturnal Dances of Don Juanquixote (sometimes Juanquijote or Juan Quixote; in Finnish: Kamarimusiikki III, Don Juanquijoten yölliset tanssit), Op. 58, is a concertante composition for cello and string orchestra by the Finnish composer Aulis Sallinen, who wrote the piece from 1985–86 on commission of the Naantali Music Festival. The piece was first performed by cellist Arto Noras (the dedicatee) on 15 June 1986 in Naantali, Finland, with Vladimir Ashkenazy conducting the English Chamber Orchestra. The pseudo-literary title—a compound of iconic, fictional characters Don Juan (the libertine and seducer) and Don Quixote (the bumbling knight-errant)—recalls, but does not quote, the Op. 20 and Op. 35 tone poems of Richard Strauss, respectively. The piece is the most popular and recorded of Sallinen's series of nine (as of 2018) Chamber Musics.


Horseman may refer to:

Horse rider; see Equestrianism

Wrangler (profession), in the United States

Stockman (Australia), who works with horses rather than with cattle or sheep

Horseman, Wisconsin, unincorporated community

The Horseman (opera) (Finnish: Ratsumies), a 1975 Finnish opera by Aulis Sallinen

Elaine Horseman (1925–1999), British author

BoJack Horseman, an animated sitcom.

Mark of medium and large format cameras of Komamura Corporation

Kullervo (Sallinen)

Kullervo is an opera in two acts, Op. 61 composed by Aulis Sallinen to his own libretto based on the story of Kullervo in the Finnish epic, Kalevala. The opera premiered on 25 February 1992 at the Los Angeles Music Center.

Kuningas Lear

Kuningas Lear (King Lear) is an opera in two acts by Aulis Sallinen, with a libretto by the composer, based on the play by William Shakespeare and premiered in 2000; it was Sallinen’s sixth opera.

Kuningas lähtee Ranskaan

Kuningas lähtee Ranskaan (English: The King Goes Forth to France) is an opera in three acts by Aulis Sallinen, based on the novel of the same title by Paavo Haavikko, who also wrote the libretto. The English singing version is by Stephen Oliver.

List of compositions by Aulis Sallinen

The following is a list of works by Aulis Sallinen (b. 1935), presented as a sortable table with eight parameters per composition: title, category (orchestral, chamber, or unaccompanied choral), catalogue number, average duration (in minutes), year of composition, genre, and—if applicable—text author(s); for some compositions, comments are provided, as well. The table's default ordering is by genre and, within a genre, by date. To assist with navigation, the infobox provides page-jumps to the first entry for each group.

Palatsi (opera)

Palatsi (The Palace) is an opera in three acts, Op. 68, composed by Aulis Sallinen, on a libretto by Irene Dische and Hans Magnus Enzensberger. The translation of the libretto into Finnish was by the composer.

Shadows (Sallinen)

Shadows, Op. 52, is an orchestral prelude by the Finnish composer Aulis Sallinen, who wrote the piece in 1982 on commission from the National Symphony Orchestra Association. The prelude's thematic material is closely related to Act III of Sallinen's third opera, The King Goes Forth to France, on which he also was at work in 1982, writing Shadows upon completion of Act II of the opera. Nevertheless, the composer has emphasized that Shadows is "an entirely independent orchestral work", albeit one whose "lyrical and dramatic ingredients reflect the philosophy of the opera". The National Symphony Orchestra (NSO) premiered the work on 30 November 1982 at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., under the direction of its music director, Mstislav Rostropovich. Shadows so impressed Rostropovich and his orchestra that the NSO requested Sallinen compose a symphony for them, the result of which would be the Fifth (1985).

Symphonies (Sallinen)

The Finnish composer Aulis Sallinen has composed eight symphonies, considered by some to be the core of his instrumental output.

Symphony No. 1 (Sallinen)

The Symphony No. 1 (originally titled: Sinfonia), Op. 24, is an orchestral composition by the Finnish composer Aulis Sallinen, who began writing the piece in 1970 when the City of Helsinki announced a composers' competition to mark the inauguration of Finlandia Hall. Completing the symphony in 1971, Sallinen was awarded First Prize in the contest; the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra and its music director, Jorma Panula, premiered the work at Finlandia Hall during the 2 December inaugural festivities.

Symphony No. 3 (Sallinen)

The Symphony No. 3, Op. 35, is an orchestral composition by the Finnish composer Aulis Sallinen, who wrote the piece from 1974–75 on commission from the Finnish Broadcasting Company. The Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra premiered the work on 8 April 1975 in Helsinki, under the direction of its principal conductor, Okko Kamu. The symphony was the first by Sallinen to depart from the single-movement structure he had utilized for his previous two essays in the form.

Symphony No. 4 (Sallinen)

The Symphony No. 4, Op. 49, is an orchestral composition by the Finnish composer Aulis Sallinen, who wrote the piece from 1978–79 for a commission from the City of Turku, to celebrate its 750th anniversary. The Turku Philharmonic Orchestra premiered the work on 9 August 1979, under the direction of its principal conductor, Pertti Pekkanen.

Symphony No. 5 (Sallinen)

The Symphony No. 5, Washington Mosaics, Op. 57, is an orchestral composition by the Finnish composer Aulis Sallinen, who wrote the piece from 1984–85, revising the finale in 1987. The National Symphony Orchestra, the commissioning institution, premiered the work in 10 October 1985 at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., under the direction of its music director, Mstislav Rostropovich.

Symphony No. 6 (Sallinen)

The Symphony No. 6, From a New Zealand Diary, Op. 65, is an orchestral composition by the Finnish composer Aulis Sallinen, who wrote the piece from 1989–90. The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, the commissioning institution, premiered the work on 6 September 1990 in Napier, under the baton of Sallinen's longtime advocate, Okko Kamu. Sallinen and his wife had vacationed in New Zealand the year prior, providing the composer with inspiration for the symphony, which—though properly symphonic in scope and in structure—has been described as involving "tone painting"; indeed, each of the four movements contains a descriptive title, unusual for a Sallinen symphony.

Symphony No. 8 (Sallinen)

The Symphony No. 8 Autumnal Fragments, Op. 81, is the eighth symphony by the Finnish composer Aulis Sallinen. The work was commissioned by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and was completed in October 2001. Its world premiere was given by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra conducted by Paavo Järvi at the Concertgebouw on April 16, 2004.

The Horseman (opera)

The Horseman (Finnish: Ratsumies, Swedish: Ryttaren) is an opera in three acts by Aulis Sallinen, based on a libretto by Paavo Haavikko. It was premiered by the Savonlinna Opera Festival on June 17, 1975 to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Olavinlinna Castle, and is the first of Sallinen's operas, and is replete with heavy symbolism and historical allegories. According to George Loomis writing in The New York Times, the work "is widely credited for helping to precipitate a wave of Finnish operas".A critic at the premiere described the work as a "timeless parable of a country and nation ground between, and harried by two mighty neighbours" (Sweden and Russia), depicting "the sufferings of individuals speak for the sufferings of a long downtrodden nation".Sallinen's music is described as "immediately and excitingly accessible... with powerful dramatic feeling."The work won the composer's prize of the Nordic Council (Nordic Council Music Prize) in 1978.

The Red Line

The Red Line (Punainen viiva) is an opera in two acts with music by Aulis Sallinen to a libretto by the composer, which premiered on 30 November 1978 at the Finnish National Opera.Based on the 1909 novel Punainen viiva by Ilmari Kianto (1874-1970), the opera – like the novel – is set in 1907, a watershed year in Finnish history during which its first elections were held, leading eventually to Finnish independence in 1917.

Winter Was Hard

Winter Was Hard is a studio album by the Kronos Quartet. It contains compositions by Aulis Sallinen, Terry Riley, Arvo Pärt, Anton Webern, John Zorn, John Lurie, Ástor Piazzolla, Alfred Schnittke, and Samuel Barber.

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