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Born in Forssa, Finland, he studied composition at the Sibelius Academy under Einojuhani Rautavaara, receiving a diploma in 1971. He continued his studies for a year in Berlin with Boris Blacher. His teaching positions include music theory at the University of Helsinki from 1974–88, and a professorship at the Sibelius Academy from 1988–93. He was named composer-in-residence for the Lahti Symphony Orchestra in 1992, and conductor Osmo Vänskä has recorded many of his recent large-scale works with the orchestra. Aho has worked as a freelance composer, with a state scholarship, since 1993. He lives in Helsinki.
Known principally as a composer of large-scale works, to date Aho has composed seventeen symphonies, thirty-one concertos, five operas and several vocal works. His chamber music includes several quintets, quartets, sonatas and solo works. He first came to fame with his first symphony (1969) and second string quartet (1970).
His works of this time showed such neo-classical traits as a preoccupation with counterpoint (particularly fugues), and stylized renderings of older forms, such as the waltz. In the following decade he wrote in modernist and post-modernist styles. His use of irony and juxtaposition of contrasting moods and musical styles and genres has been compared to Gustav Mahler and Alfred Schnittke.
List of compositions
- "Kalevi Aho - Komponisten der Gegenwart (KDG)". Nachschlage.net. Retrieved 3 January 2018.
- "Fennica Gehrman - Composers - Finnish printed music". 13 February 2007. Archived from the original on 13 February 2007. Retrieved 3 January 2018.
- "Fimic - Suomalaisen musiikin tiedotuskeskus". 7 August 2011. Archived from the original on 7 August 2011. Retrieved 3 January 2018.
- Korhonen, Kimmo (1999). Kalevi Aho in Profile. Finnish Music Information Centre. Retrieved 8 February 2005.
- Oramo, Ilkka. "Aho, Kalevi." at Grove Music Online. Retrieved 21 September 2006.
- Music Finland Core | Kalevi Aho.
- Aho, Kalevi – Fennica German. Publisher’s website with audio samples and promotional scores.
- Kalevi Aho discography at MusicBrainz