| Saara Salmi

Outi Tarkiainen


Outi Tarkiainen

(Born in 1985)

Outi Tarkianen was born in Rovaniemi in Finnish Lapland, a place that has proved a constant source of inspiration for her. She has long been drawn to the expressive power of the human voice, but has written vocal, chamber, and solo instrumental works as well as works for orchestra and soloist. “I see music as a force of nature that can flood over a person and even change entire destinies,” she once said.

Outi has been commissioned by orchestras including the San Francisco Symphony, BBC Symphony, BBC Philharmonic, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, and Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestras, and her music has been taken up by the symphony orchestras of St Louis, Detroit, and Houston, among others. Her early work with jazz orchestras culminated in Into the Woodland Silence (2013), a score that combined the composer’s sense of natural mysticism with the distinctive textures of the jazz orchestra tradition. Major works since include an orchestral song cycle to texts by Sami poets The Earth, Spring’s Daughter (2015), the saxophone concerto Saivo (2016, nominated for the Nordic Council Music Prize), and Midnight Sun Variations premiered at the BBC Proms in 2019 (nominated for the Fondation Prince Pierre de Monaco’s Musical Composition Prize). Her first full-length opera, A Room of One’s Own (2021), was commissioned and premiered by Theater Hagen in Germany.

Outi studied composition at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, the Guildhall School in London and at the University of Miami. She has been composer-in-residence at the Festival de Musique Classique d’Uzerche in France and was for four years co-artistic director of the Silence Festival in Lapland. 

By Andrew Mellor