Outi Tarkiainen - Säveltäjä


Earth, Spring's Daughter / Saivo -levyn kansi

The Earth, Spring’s Daughter / Saivo (2020)
Virpi Räisänen, mezzo-soprano; Jukka Perko, saxophone; Lapland Chamber Orchestra; John Storgårds

Ondine Records 2020

Cover artwork by Outi Pieski

The song cycle Eanan, giđa nieida (The Earth, Spring's Daughter, 2014–2015) presents a sizeable collage of contemporary Sámi poetry (by Rauni Magga Lukkari, Rose-Marie Huuva and others) and glows in the bright, clear colours of the far north. In striking contrast to this are the archaic aural illusions of the saxophone concerto Saivo (2016) nominated for the Nordic Council Music Prize in 2018. The album was nominated for the Classical Emma Award (the Finnish Grammys) in 2021.


1. Prologa / Prologue 2:30
2. I. Eanan, giđa nieida / The Earth, spring's daughter 5:04
3. II. Dáid galbma guovlluid mii johtit / In these cold lands we migrate 3:07
4. III. Áhččamet opmodat lea odne juhkkojuvvon / Our father's estate has been divided up today 5:12
5. IV. Dát guhkes idjadiimmu / This late evening hour 5:41
6. V. In nu njuolgat / Not so straight 4:59
7. VI. Boađe ja čájehan suoli dáid bálgáid / Come and I will show you secretly these paths 3:02
8. VII. Mun sárggun dáid govaid / I inscribe these images 5:11
9. Epiloga / Epilogue 6:52
Saivo, concerto for soprano saxophone, effects and orchestra 28:38
10. Image of You 7:08
11. In the Water 3:35
12. In the Ashes 7:31
13. Reflection 3:15
14. Fissure 7:09

The album can be purchased from here.

“The Finn depicts her country’s landscape in this concerto, presenting the instrument in eerie new light. It’s paired with a haunting song cycle that utilizes every force of the orchestra.” (Freya Parr, BBC Music Magazine – December 2020)

“Outi Tarkiainen is a composer of rare moral conviction and geographical attachment, with a longing for the far north (...) …songs of pain, longing and fleeting beauty, the mezzo-soprano becomes one with the earth; the music is sucked up into a vortex and thwacking chords echo the final transmigration of the soul into nature, à la Sibelius’s Fifth.” (Andrew Mellor, Gramophone)

“In her song cycle “Eanan, giđa nieida (The Earth, Spring’s Daughter) Outi Tarkiainen clothes vast topics – Arctic nature and the fate of the Sámi people – in sound that has space, an icy glint, ritualistic perseverance and the doom-laden visions of the present day. Tarkiainen’s music seems to be trying to break free from gravity, upwards to freedom.” (Jukka Isopuro, Helsingin Sanomat October 6, 2020, Critic’s choice ****)

“The music of Outi Tarkiainen is honest modernism. It abounds in timbres and a sensuality that can be experienced even without a profound familiarity with contemporary musical aesthetics.” (Risto Nordell, Suomen Kuvalehti)

“Tarkiainen has established a personal musical idiom. (…) Her disc of captivating music presents two works with a strong ethical undercurrent and connected with Sámi culture and communication with nature.” Harri Kuusisaari, Rondo Classic (Record of the Month 09/2020)

“Outi Tarkiainen’s work for chamber orchestra is both subtle and sensual.” Mats Liljeroos, Hufvudstadsbladet September 9, 2020

“The Earth, Spring’s Daughter is dramatic and gorgeously sounding. Saivo elegantly combines contemporary aesthetics, associations to nature, and a mythological dimension. There is no doublt that Tarkiainen writes brilliant music!” (Anna Pulkkis, Finnish Music Quarterly, August 27, 2020)

Beyond Poems album cover

Chamber Music of Outi Tarkiainen: Beyond Poems (2017)
Kamus String Quartet; Tuuli Lindeberg; Lauri Sallinen; Maria Puusaari; Emil Holmström; Markus Hohti; Veli Kujala

Alba Records 2017

Album cover by Antti Hannuniemi
Cover photo by Sigel Eschkol

Finland’s leading contemporary music professionals play poetry-inspired chamber music by Outi Tarkiainen. The works are tinged with the mythical, archaic colours of the north intermixed with the translucency of contemporary music, the sensuality of poetry and the force of tradition. The distinctive recording creates a delicate, telling synthesis of lyricism and contemporary music.


1.–3. Trois poèmes (Kamus String Quartet) 11:29
4. Sans paroles (Lauri Sallinen, clarinet) 8:36
5. Until the Stone Splits (Maria Puusaari, violin) 6:08
6.–8. Baudelaire Songs (Tuuli Lindeberg, soprano, Emil Holmström, piano) 15:32
9. Thy Words, Submerged in Stone (Markus Hohti, cello) 8:07
10. Into the Woodland Silence (Tuuli Lindeberg, Lauri Sallinen, Markus Hohti, Emil Holmström) 17:10
7. 11. …And They Begun to Sing (Veli Kujala, accordion) 6:19

The album can be purchased from here.

“Outi Tarkiainen has long since learned the lessons of her chosen poets: to be true to oneself. That results in outstanding music of meticulous clarity and frequent emotional strain. It needs heartfelt and considered performances, and gets them here.” (Andrew Mellor, Finnish Music Quarterly 2017)

“Our fastest-rising contemporary composer” (Finnish Broadcasting Company 10-2017)

“A rising, distinctive composer reveals herself in this first album of concert music as a lyricist with a leaning towards the mystic and fascinated by verbalisation and non-linguistic tension.” (Rondo Classic 12-2017)

“The emotional scale points in the direction of nostalgia, inexplicability and universal humanity, and the intensity is generally born of something other than volume.” (Finnish Broadcasting Company)

“Tuuli Lindeberg is the ideal interpreter of Tarkiainen’s organically decorative vocal music.” (Rondo Classic 12-2017)

“…linking together the multi-hued and -nuanced worlds of sound are lines of poetry by Rauni Magga Lukkari, Eeva-Liisa Manner and others. […] The inspiration provided by Nature and the North is a strong theme.” (Keskisuomalainen, Elina Salin)

“The disc is, as a whole, the most cogent proof that true contemporary music has lost none of its expressiveness.” (Finnish Broadcasting Company)

Unpainted Portraits album cover

Unpainted Portraits (2018)
Outi Tarkiainen & Norrbotten Big Band

Prophone Records 2018

Album cover by Marie Lundgren
Cover photo by Saara Salmi

The second album, Unpainted Portraits, released by Sweden’s Norrbotten Big Band – one of the most celebrated of its kind in Europe – and Outi Tarkiainen is devoted to works composed by her while she was Composer in Residence in 2017. The musical portraits of female artists of different eras represent a natural combination of Nordic freshness and architectural thinking with the fullness of the big band tradition. The impressive solos by members of the Norrbotten Big Band provide unique, distinctive frames for the portraits.


1. Mrs. Dalloway 9:02
2. Prayer 8:36
3. Suffragette Dance 7:23
4. Our Heritage 10:20
5. Born On Another Star 7:25
6. Minna's Dream 8:50
7. Primroses 6:08
8. First Steps 8:34

The album can be purchased from here.

“Outi Tarkiainen is an experienced, expert, highly-acclaimed big-band composer, and one with a distinctive voice of her own.” (Finnish Broadcasting Company)

“Tarkiainen’s modern jazz portraits are painted using firm, highly-personal techniques, from melodic brass and woodwind tinting to detailed layers steeped in colour.” (Lapin Kansa)

“There is plenty of improvising individualism in the pieces’ many solos, but at the same time they follow the music’s poetic charge with instinctive sensitivity.” (Rondo Classic, 02/2019)

“Tarkiainen always gets the best out of her players and their fresh, Nordic sound.” (Rondo Classic, 02/2019)

Into the Woodland Silence album cover

Into the Woodland Silence (2013)
Outi Tarkiainen & Norrbotten Big Band with Aili Ikonen

Fredriksson Music 2013

Album cover by Pekka Tuppurainen

One of the most distinguished jazz orchestras in Europe, Swedish Norrbotten Big Band, and a versatile Finnish vocalist Aili Ikonen interpret Outi Tarkiainen's compositions in the album Into the Woodland Silence. The result is melodical and lyrical expression that draws the listener to the mystical dimensions of the North, combining big band traditions, the transparency of classical music and the unpredictability of modern music.


1. Oglütz 8:02
2. Arco Íris 5:54
3. Contemplations 11:31
4. Vapautensa antanut (Freedom Surrendered) 9:13
5. Cayo Coco 4:49
6. Thus the Fairies Disappear 6:57
7. Into the Woodland Silence 17:13
8. Mörkö (Bugbear) 6:23

The album can be purchased from here.

“The largely through-composed work [Into the Woodland Silence], dedicated to the featured singer Aili Ikonen, is as much contemporary classical as jazz.” (Finnish Music Quarterly)

“Born and bred in Rovaniemi, Outi Tarkiainen has proceeded determinedly and firmly to the front line of the Finnish jazz composers [...]. Tarkiainen's compositions, conducted by her, provide Norrbotten Big Band an excellent frame to show off their individual and collective skills” (Helsingin Sanomat)

“A big band performance of international quality” (Blues Finland)

“Tarkiainen's musical language draws from the mysticism and melancholy of Northern nature.” (Lapin Kansa)

“From the very first moment [the album Into the Woodland Silence] rages over you like a summer storm” (Satakunnan kansa)

“[The album Into the Woodland Silence] explores the possibilities of a big band apparatus from rapidly flowing swing continuums to sudden turns and the harmonic sharpness of modern music.” (Keskisuomalainen)

Photograph by Saara Salmi