Obituary: composer Einojuhani Rautavaara, 87

Posted on: July 29, 2016

“Einojuhani Rautavaara, arguably Finland’s most famous classical composer since the era of Jean Sibelius, has died at the age of 87,” writes Matti Huuhtanen in a Thursday (7/28) Associated Press obituary. “Reijo Kiilanen, managing director of Ondine Records [which] released most of his works, says Rautavaara died in a Helsinki hospital Wednesday following complications from hip surgery.” Rautavaara “produced eight symphonies, seven operas, 14 concertos and dozens of other orchestral and vocal compositions. He achieved international fame with his seventh symphony, ‘Angel of Light,’ in 1994. He was known for music that explored mystical and romantic themes, appreciated the mathematically precise application of 12-tone techniques, and employed innovative use of recorded bird song.… Rautavaara studied at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinski and the Juilliard School in New York. He oversaw a new generation of composers from 1976 to 1990 as professor of composition at the Sibelius Academy.… Rautavaara’s works have been widely performed abroad including by the Philadelphia Orchestra, which commissioned him to compose his eighth symphony, ‘The Journey,’ for its 100th anniversary celebrations.” Rautavaara is survived by his wife and two sons.

Posted July 29, 2016