Timo Alakotila
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Timo Alakotila


Composer, arranger / Piano, harmonium







News


2012

April 10, 2012
Timo Alakotila and accordionist Tuuli Sarnio perform at Club Liberte, Kolmas Linja 34, Helsinki, on April 23,  in celebration of the release of the new Sarnio CD featuring Alakotila.


Timo  Alakotila's composition "Bamuecco Terno" will be performed by Cornucopia Trio on May 28, 2012. This premiere will take place at Metropolia Concert Hall, Ruohalahdentori 6, Helsinki.

On June 2, a new Alakotila composition will premiere at Musiikkitalo, Helsinki, performed by Helsinki Folk Big Band

April 8, 2012
The Timo Alakotila and Anna-Karin Korhonen notebook  "Koralli" is now published. The publishing party is celebrated on April 12, 19:00 at Sandels Music School, Sandelshuset, Topeliusgatan 2, Helsinki

March 20, 2012
Åkerö CD by Maria Kalaniemi / Timo Alakotila jumps to Number 4 position on the World Music Charts Europe. WMCE


Feb 20:
Åkerö, the new album by Maria Kalaniemi and Timo Alakotila enters the World Music Charts Europe at Number 16. WMCE

Jan 3:
Upcoming Timo Alakotila concerts
Jan 14: 19.00  Oulu, Finland - Tangon Juhlaviikko  (UNTO Tango Orchestra)
Feb 15: 19.00 Helsnki, Finland -  Kanneltalo (UNTO Tango Orchestra)
Feb
16: 19.00 Järvenpää, Finland - Järvenpää-talo  (UNTO Tango Orchestra)
Feb 17: 21.00 Espoo, Finland - Sellosali - (Maria Kalaniemi / Timo Alakotila)
Mar 16: 19.00 Mikkeli, Finland -  (UNTO Tango Orchestra)
Mar 17: 19.00  Imatra, Finland - Karelia-sali  (UNTO Tango Orchestra)
Mar 23: 20.30 Esslingen, Germany - Folk und  Worldmusik im Kulturzentrum Dieselstrasse (Karen Tweed / Timo Alakotila May Monday)
Apr 17: 19.00 Hyvinkää, Finland - Hyvinkää-sali (UNTO Tango Orchestra)
Apr
18: 19.00 Pieksämäki, Finland - Poleeni (UNTO Tango Orchestra)

2011

Nov 24:
On Dec 6, Timo Alakotila and Maria Kalaniemi release their new duo album Åkerö in Finland. The album contains new compositions for accordion and piano. The release is supported by a concert at Musiikkitalo, Black Box, Helsinki on the same day.

Aug 16:
Timo Alakotila has received his third five year artistic grant from 
Taiteen Keskustoimikunta (Arts Council of Finland) beginning January 2012.

He has also been elected Artist Professor by the Arts Council of  Finland alongside other three other artists: Jukka Linkola, Eero Hämeenniemi and Kari Kriikku.
 
Feb 15:
JPP performs in Hamburg 15.2.2011

Feb 13:
In Germany, Meta4 String Quartet perfofms  Alakotila's 
composition String Quartet nr 1: "Fiddler Jusslin's Tune" in Hamburg 13.2 2011.

Feb 13:
Norddeutsche Sinfonietta performs Timo's composition Concerto 
Grosso in Germany, Rendsburg and Kiel 13. and 16.2 2011.

Feb 10
Pekka Kuusisto (violin and director) is touring with Irish Chamber 
Orchestra and performing Timo's composition "Sketches from Folkscenes "
in Limerick, Waterford and Dublin, Ireland 10-12.2 2011

Feb 7: Timo Alakotila's new work "Concerto for Harpsichord and String Trio" 
will be premiered in  Berlin 7.2 2011. Soloist is Marianna Henriksson.

Jan 7: JPP releases their new album Live in Duluth.
Their new double album was recorded in Minnesota, USA in 2007

More news:
Timo is  producing a new album for Päivi Hirvonen (violin) and Paavo 
Kettunen (guitar), the CD launch will be later this year.

Lily Neill's (Irish harp) new album is recorded and will be 
released in January 2011. Alakotila plays on two tracks (piano,harmonium).

Tuuli Saarnio's (accordion) new CD is nearly finished,  Timo is the co-producer ans plays on five pieces on (piano).

Las Chicas Del Tango (Johanna Juhola, Milla Viljamaa, Kukka-Maaria 
Ahonen) are recording their new album, Timo is co-producing.

Timos new piece "Work" is now recorded and will be on Piia 
Kleemola's new album, released in summer 2011.

Piia Kleemola is solist on Timo's new violin concerto,  to premiere in 
Haapavesi Festival, summer 2011.

Contradance the new album from Nordik Tree (Alaktolia, Järvelä, Kennamark) was named one of the titles in the "Album of  the Year "  list in "Dagens Nyheter", the main newspaper in Sweden.

2010

UNTO CD released:
The second album from UNTO Tango Orchestra, Kylmä Rakkaus  -  "Cold Love" was released in autumn 2010 by Arc Music label (EUCD 2281). The album was produced by Alakotila and the band features pianist Alakotila, singer Pirjo Aittomäki, accordionist Johanna Juhola, violinist Mauno Järvelä, bassist Hannu Rantanen, guitarist Petri Hakala. Songs include five pieces composed or arranged by Alakotila.  UNTO MySpace.


Concert news:
Oct 24 – Nov 10: Japan (Nordik Tree and JPP)
Nov 26-Dec 5: Germany and Netherlands (Nordik Tree)
Feb 2-6, 2011:  Montmagny, Canada  - Carrefour mondial de l'accordeon-festval  (Timo Alakotila /  Karen Tweed)
--------------See Timo Alakotila MySpace for full concert listings---------

Premieres (composing, arranging):
-String quartet nr 1 played by Meta 4 (Sheffield and Belfast, February 2010)
-String quartet nr 2 played by Felis-quartet (Sipoo and Pernaja, July 2010)
- Unen Poika (music with texts from Kanteletar) in Sommelo Festival, Finland, July 2010. Musicians: Minna-Liisa Tammela (voc), Mauno and Esko Järvelä (vl), Tuomas Logren (gtr), Ilkka Heinonen (bass), Timo Alakotila (piano),
-Aikaratas (70 min trad piece arranged by Alakotila, choreography Petri Kauppinen) in Tampere, Pispalan Sottiisi
- Sketches from Folkscenes (Minneapolis, 2010)
- Sketches from Folkscenes (Australian Chamber Orchestra leading by Pekka Kuusisto, Australia 2009)

Book published:
Tämmäysopas book was published in Kaustinen, Finland in 2010, (instructional book to learn to play harmonium in folk music) from Timo Alakotila and Timo Valo.

New compositions:
-Alakotila is writing a new harpsichord piece for Marianna Henriksson, premiere in Berlin 2011.
-Violin concerto for Piia Kleemola, premiere in Haapavesi, July, 2011.
-Work for solo clarinet, accordion, marimba, bass and bassoon for Kaisa Mäenpää, premier autumn 2011.

Arrangements:
-“Sarastus” (comp Pekka Lehti) for  chamber orchestra (Haapaveden kamariorkesteri, joht Timo Hannula), 
bass (Pekka Lehti) and accordion (Markku Lepistö) in Haapavesi festival, 2010.

-“Napoleon” (trad) for oboe, flute, clarinet, horn, bassoon, fiddles, guitar, mandolin, trumpet, piano, harmonium, bass and two accordions (August 2010)

June 2007:
Timo has several CDs now under his production to be released this year. Including:
-Johanna Juhola and Milla Viljamaa (Texicalli)
-Las Chicas del Tango (Texicalli)
-new album by Tallari (Texicalli)
-Johanna Juhola / Timo Alakotila (Texicalli)
-Timo Alakotila / Karen Tweed  - Midnight May Monday
-debut album by The Kouhot  “Ryhmäterapia” / “Group Therapy”


May 2007:
Timo co-arranged and co-produced music (composed by Hannu Kella), “Pohjan Pidot” for Eurovision Song Contest semifinal interval.


Biography


TIMO ALAKOTILA (b. July 15, 1959) holds the position as one of Finland’s busiest, most versatile and most in-demand musicians, primarily in the thriving contemporary folk music scene but also expanding steadily into other areas, for example jazz and classical.

His musical history goes back to 1982 in the small Ostrobothnian village of Kaustinen where he started his career in folk music as harmonium player and founder member of the fiddle group JPP. This excellent ensemble quickly established themselves as the best and most innovative folk music group in Finland, due firstly to the superb technical skills of the players but primarily because of the unique and captivating arrangements and original compositions by Timo and colleague Arto Järvelä. During their twenty-five year career, JPP has released nine albums, five of which, DEVIL’S POLSKA, KAUSTINEN RHAPSODY, STRING TEASE, HISTORY and ARTOLOGY were released in North America. They’ve toured the world, including Thailand, Egypt, North America and all over Scandinavia and Europe. Highlights for 1998 included the recording of their sixth album plus an April appearance at the 11th annual Old Settlers Festival in Austin, Texas with top American artists Bela Fleck, Jerry Douglas, Peter Rowan, Tony Rice and Mollie O’Brien. 1999 has also been a busy year with two tours of USA and concerts around Europe.

Ever searching for new avenues of musical absorption and expression, Timo involves himself with numerous other projects. He works with Helsinki Pop & Jazz Conservatory as teacher of composition and music theory while simultaneously holding a similar post at the Sibelius Academy Folk Music Department, teaching improvisation, arranging, harmonium and piano.

In 1994, Timo formed the group Aldargaz, with of one of Finland’s top contemporary accordionists Maria Kalaniemi. As pianist, composer and arranger for the group, Timo played an integral role in the ensemble’s concept and sound and it’s the additional chemistry with Maria that gave the band a highly sophisticated yet deeply personal style. Aldargaz released two albums, the first of which, IHO, was released worldwide (outside Finland) by the Ryko/Hannibal label receiving mounds of glowing reviews. IHO was a major accomplishment for Aldargaz, incorporating Timo’s intricate and emotionally moving string and horn arrangements. Aldargaz’ second album AHMA was a progression from IHO, even more complex and sophisticated. Aldargaz enjoyed a healthy reputation in Finland and abroad, performing over the years mainly in Europe and including a concert at London’s Barbican Centre, where the band also performed at a private reception for Queen Elizabeth and Finnish President Ahtisaari. Work with Kalaniemi continues to this day in the form of the duo Ambra, with one album released and the Maria Kalaniemi Trio whose Tokyo Concerts CD was released in early 2004.

Timo is also harmonium player with folk music quintet Troka. For a short spell, he was pianist with the ensemble Luna Nova, featuring vocalist Tellu Virkkala.

Timo is involved in countless outside projects where he is in great demand as composer and/or arranger. Various albums that have been graced with his exquisite arranging skills include the Christmas album by Värttinä sisters Sari and Mari Kaasinen, albums by singer Hannu Ilmolahti with Järvelän Näppärit, plus concert performances by the string sextet Feeniks. He also arranged strings for Värttinä’s song “Uskottu ei uupuvani” on their VIHMA album and worked with Finnish female vocal group Kaira, composing and arranging material for their album.

Outside Finland, Timo made an arrangement for American singer Mollie O’Brien and JPP for a performance of the piece “Having Myself a Time”, a big highlight at the Old Settlers’ Festival in Austin, TX in 1998. Timo also collaborated as arranger, composer, player with British accordionist Karen Tweed, releasing the duo album “May Monday”. He also wrote string arrangements for British accordionist Bill Jones on her album “Panchpuran”. For Japanese singer Halo, Alakotila composed and arranged for her three albums “Yellow”, “Green” and “Blue”, all also featuring Maria Kalaniemi. He also performed as piano accompanist on the 2001 Nordic Accordion Master Meeting tour of Nordic countries featuring Maria Kalaniemi and other players.

Timo is also a respected producer, having produced several Finnish folk music albums, including Aldargaz, Tallari, Hannu Seppänen, Burlakat, Loituma, Tsuumi, Johanna Juhola/ Milla Vilajamaa, Las Chicas del Tango, The Kouhot and others.

Three of Timo’s biggest projects were “Folkmoods West”, an extended four part work for big band, string orchestra, guitars and accordion, with composition and arrangements by himself. The work was successfully performed twice in Finland, first in Vaasa then again in 1996 to a sell out crowd in Helsinki which was followed by ecstatic critics in the press. Featured performers include the popular UMO Jazz Orchestra, the 14 piece JPP String Orchestra, guitarists Jarmo Saari and Petri Hakala, pianist Seppo Kantonen and accordionist Minna Luoma. “Folkmoods West” made a third appearance in Helsinki at Savoy Theatre in April 1998 for a repeat performance as part of the “Sirpalesinfonia” (Shattered Symphony) contemporary composers concert series, where Timo was a featured artist.

Subsequent to “Folkmoods West” Alakotila composed “Concerto for Accordion”, performed in Haapaves and Helsinki with chamber orchestra and Troka accordionist Johanna Juhola. More recently, “Sinfonia Concertante” for UMO big band and accordionist Maria Kalaniemi, was performed in Helsinki in 2003. Alakotila also composed and arranged music for the Tsuumi dance group, an extended work entitled “Laulu Tulipunaisesta Kukasta”.

UNTOTango Orchestra is another recent avenue for Alakotila’s piano and arranging skills. Their CD released in 2003 salutes the grand old men of Finnish tango, such as Toivo Kärki and Unto Mononen. Unto musicians include JPP’s Mauno Järvelä, accordionist Maria Kalaniemi, Värttinä bassist Hannu Rantanen, Aldargaz’s Petri Hakala and singer Pirjo Aittomäki.

In 2004, he was commissioned to compose new music, "Moraine",  for the BBC Concert Orchestra for a special concert on September 30 in London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall with the Orchestra and guest star, accordionist Maria Kalaniemi.

Alakotila arranged music by the famous composer Viljami Niittykoski for the Tempera string quartet and is currently arranging and playing piano parts for internationally known opera singer Jorma Hynninen.

One more new massive project from Alakotila is "Valkoinen Peura", a ninety minute composition for ten musicians. The world premiere performance was in Lapland, August 2004.

Alakotila has also been commissioned by Sibelius Academy Folk Music Department to compose sixty minutes of new music for their upcoming 20 Year Anniversary Concert.

Latest folk music news for 2004: Alakotila, JPP cohort Arto Järvelä and Swedish fiddler Hans Kennemark (from the influential group Forsmark Tre) have recorded an album in Helsinki. Alakotila plays harmonium and arranges. Finally, Alakotila collaborated with Swedish guitarist Roger Tallroth (from the group Väsen) for a concert collaboration in USA.

2005:
Orchestral project "Valkoinen Peura", composed by Alakotila, ran 2 months 2004-2005 Äkäslompolo (Lapland).

Composed music for cello and piano, “Demian”.

Arranged “Juhlapoloneesi” for brass and reed orchestra, to be performed in 2007 by Hyvinkään Music School.

Taught improvisation workshop in Bristol, UK at Distil seminar for professional musicians. Taught improvisation for workshop in Viljandi, Estonia.

Composed music to lyrics by Heli Laaksonen for Vissinki group. Song “Kiviairan Sammal” released on CD 2005.

Awarded second consecutive five year composer’s grant from Ministry of Education.

Played harmonium in performances with SAMA Baroque Ensemble in Turku, Helsinki and Haapavesi.

Composed music for two kanteles, “Cirrus”, performed and recorded for YLE national Finnish radio by Eva Alkula and Eija Kankaanranta. 

2006
Mixed the debut album by Järvelä / Alakotila / Kennemark trio. Nordik Tree.

Release of the third album by Troka, Raharinki.

Release of album by JPP, Artology.

Composed one piece “Du-Dun-Du”, for the popular acappella group Rajaton, performed at Helsinki Festival 2006.

Arranged the Abba song “Thank You for the Music” performed by Kokkola ensemble Quardia Neuva and singer Johanna Rusanen.

Composed baroque violin concerto for solo violinist Kreeta-Maria Kentala and ensemble. Premiered Turku Finland 2006, to be recorded in 2008.

Performed with JPP and Johanna Juhola and Pori Sinfonietta at Pori Folk Festival.

Performed in Nordic Roots Festival, Minneapolis, Timo Alakotila and Friends with Karen Tweed, Maria Kalaniemi, Olli Varis and others. 

Composed and arranged music for Pinus Sylvestris Metsäooppera, peformed 24 times in Helsinki and around Finland.

Arranged song “Sua Vierellä Vien” for Seminaariäen Mieslaulajat CD, Laulut ja Tarinat.

Arranged and played piano on Christmas CD by Kotilanpyörteitä, Vihdoinkin Joulu.

Composed classical piece for piano, flute, violin, cello “Kangastuksia”, performed by Hyvinkää music school ensemble. Premiere 2007.

Composed solo piece for Anna Karvonen, voice and violin.

Arranged seven new pieces for UNTO Tango Orchestra. Performed in France and Germany.

Composed “Bruciato” and arranged tango pieces including “Rannalla” and performed these with JPP and Stavanger Symphony at "Stavanger 2008" festival,  Stavanger, Norway, Nov 2006. 

Arranged two classical pieces for Tsuumi dance group.

Composed two songs for forthcoming album by Timo Alakotila / Hannu Kella (Tsuumi Sound System).

Arranged three songs for Tallari, string quartet and guest singers Helena Juntunen and Pauliina Kumpulainen. Album released 2007.

Composed wedding march, “Tuulin ja Hannun Häämarssi” for chamber orchestra and vocal ensemble for Hannu Kella’s wedding.

Live concert in November with Karen Tweed in Dublin Ireland, broadcast live by Irish Radio.

Live TV broadcast in Espoo, Finland on Finnish Independence Day, Dec 6, with Maria Kalaniemi Trio.

2007
Co-arranged and co-produced music (composed by Hannu Kella), “Pohjan Pidot” for Eurovision Song Contest semifinal interval.

Alakotila’s “Concerto for Accordion” was performed in Germany , Folk-Baltica Festival, and Denmark by Johanna Juhola and Nord-Deutscher Sinfonietta . Recorded by radio in Flensburg Germany.

Composed and performed new composition “Minuet” for SAMA Folk Baroque Ensemble, violinists Minna Pensola and Antti Tikkanen, in Sysmän Suvisoitto in Sysmä.

Taught improvisation and piano in Limerick, Ireland  at Limerick University, leader Micheal O Suilleabhain.

Produced album by Johanna Juhola and Milla Viljamaa, released this year by Texicalli label of Finland.

Produced album by Las Chicas del Tango, released this year by Texicalli.

Produced and arranged songs for the new Tallari album, released July 2007 by Texicalli.

Produced and performed on debut album, entitled “Ryhmäterapia” (“Group Therapy”) by The Kouhot group.

Produced, composed and performed  on new album by Johanna Juhola / Timo Alakotila , released 2007 by Texicalli.

Plays piano on new album by Erik Hokkanen and Lumisudet, released 2007.

Producing, composing and performing on new album by Alakotila / Karen Tweed, Midnight May Monday, released 2007.

October premiere in Helsinki for Alakotila composition  “Concerto Grosso” by Vox Artis Chamber Orchestra.

Composing and arranging one piece for American double bassist Evan Premo and chamber orchestra.

Arranging music for chamber orchestra and saxophone for Jukka Perko.

Composing and arranging music for album by saxophonist Jouni Järvelä.

Composing and arranging concerto for bassoonist Ursula Levaeux and Scottish Chamber orchestra, to be premiered in 2009.


BANDS / GROUPS / ENSEMBLES:

2010-  Anna-Karin Korhonen & Timo Alakotila
2008-  Terhi Puronaho & Timo Alakotila
2006-  Johanna Juhola / Timo Alakotila duo
2005-  SAMA folk baroque ensemble
2003-  Nordik Tree trio Hans Kennemark, Arto Järvelä, Timo Alakotila
2001-  Karen Tweed / Timo Alakotila: May Monday
1998-  Tango-orkesteri Unto
1997-2001 Luna Nova
1993-  Troka
1993-2001 Maria Kalaniemi ja Aldargaz
1992-  Maria kalaniemi Trio / Duo
1982-  Järvelän pikkupelimannit / JPP
1980-1994 Hot Club De Kairela
1973-  Järvelän pelimannit
1973-1984 Isät ja pojat
 

Awards


1982: JPP: Folk Music Group Championship, Mäntsälä.

1986: JPP: Band of the Year, Kaustinen Festival.

1988: JPP: Second album, Finnish Radio "Tunnustus Prize". Also received same prize for Jukka Tiensuu, “Fantastinen Cembalo”.

1988: JPP: Helsingin Sanomat "Album of the Year" award ("JPP" album).

1992: JPP: 23rd International Short Film Festival, Video Competition Special Prize, Tampere Finland, ("Puikkoristikko" video).

1993: Received award for Troka, winner of folk music group championship in Mäntsälä.

1995: Maria Kalaniemi & Aldargaz: Prize of Finland award for artistic achievement, “Taiteen Nuori Suomi” prize.

1996: Alakotila arrangement “Ranskalaiset korot” performed by Raimo Sirkiä harmonica quartet (with Kimmo Pohjonen) wins first prize for European competition.

1997: Vuoden tekijä prize in Kerava, Finland

1998: JPP wins Keski-Pohjanmaan cultural grant prize.

1999: Composer's grant (five years) from Finnish Ministry of  Education.

2001: Ambra album with Maria Kalaniemi , Album of the Year by Helsingin Sanomat.

2001: Toni Edelmann “Korpirastas” Album of the Year by Helsingin Sanomat, features Alakotila and Jaakko Salo arrangements.

2004: Maria Kalaniemi Trio – Tokyo Concerts, Album of the Year by Helsingin Sanomat.

2005: Second five-year composers grant awarded by Ministry of Education.

2006: Awarded gold and platinum CDs by Jorma Hynninen for his album “Kyllä Tukkipoika Tunnetaan” .

Note: Players wanting to learn improvisation from Timo Alakotila can do so at www.etno.net



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