Aalto University: Architecture inspired young composers

Listen, I’m composing! (Kuule, minä sävellän!) is a diverse educational project where children, young people and adults get the opportunity to compose for symphony orchestra instruments. They are supervised by professional composers, artists in various fields of art and students of different subject groups at the Sibelius Academy of the Uniarts Helsinki and a lecturer in music education.

In the period 2020–2021, the theme of the project was Curious Space and the composition to be performed was inspired by architecture. What unites music and architecture? The project was implemented in collaboration with Aalto University’s Department of Architecture, the Museum of Finnish Architecture and the Musica Nova Music Festival.

Aalto University’s architecture students introduced the young composers and Sibelius Academy students to the basic concepts of architecture and organized a workshop at the Museum of Architecture, which dealt with space, material, light and sound in the city through craft assignments and exercises. The composers were twelve junior high school students from Tapiola School and Vantaa International School, as well as Malmi School in Helsinki.

Architecture students were also scheduled to design a space installation for the concert, but the concert turned into a video recording due to pandemic restrictions. Students filmed and edited video presentations of the compositions and put them together with the music sections.

The Listen, I’m Composing collaboration is based on the New York Philharmonic’s Very Young Composers training program. In Finland, the project involves the Finnish National Opera and Ballet, the Sibelius Academy of the Uniarts Helsinki, the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra and the Helsinki Music Centre. The Kuule Ensemble, which consists of professional musicians from the collaborators, presents the new works to the public. Compositions performed through the project have already been performed in 13 concerts since 2011. Every year, there is a new perspective and a new target group in production.

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