As you know from previous posts of mine, I usually like to elaborate and give you a good insight into what I’m doing. But with the world being in such turmoil, pandemic, war and all, I’ll keep this one short, this time. Somehow I feel, that all words are too much.
So, here is just to inform you on what’s coming, and I’m hoping you will be able to share some of these moments with me. I’d like to consider these moments our contribution to creating peaceful and joyful experiences in this life. I don’t know – maybe I sound totally blue-eyed….
Anyhow; a lot of nice and interesting things are happening in 2023: – the solo piano improvisation concerts continue, starting on January 11th, each Wednesday, as they have since 2001. On April 12th, 2023 it will be the 600th time that I play solo in Temppeliaukio Church.
– on April 14th the Sointi Jazz Orchestra will play a retrospective concert of my bigband compositions, including two first performances and including the ‘Tango Morbido Y Cinico’ that won me the first prize at the Scrivere in Jazz composition composition in Sassari, Italy, in 2008. (Get your tickets in time here.)
– between April 18th and 23rd I will be touring the Netherlands. This is the first time in about twenty years that I’m visiting the country where I studied 1987-1994. I am very excited about the four concerts that I am going to play with some excellent musicians: pianist Jeroen van Vliet, flautist Mark Alban Lotz, guitarist Marc van Vugt and singer Ineke van Doorn and my former teacher, legendary pianist Bert van den Brink. (Check the gig page for more info.)
– our great trio F# (Hille-Huhtala-Ketola) has been chosen by the Finnish jazz federation to play a concert tour, where they organize about ten concerts for us in October 2023. On this tour we will be joined by the legendary Finnish saxophonist Pepa Päivinen. (F# feat Pepa – dates tba). F# has been unstoppable and continues its avantgardistic work. After some wild concerts last November with our Austrian friend, saxophonist Herbert Könighofer, we filmed two music videos as a trio. These films will be published during this spring. We’ll keep you posted. We’re also working on an Austria-tour and a couple of concerts in Germany. (Check or subscribe to the F#-facebook page, if you want to be amongst the first to hear about it.)
Friends, stay safe and enjoy life (we’ve only got this one – as far as we know)! Thanks for stopping by and if you want to hear some music, you can find my the latest releases on CD, vinyl or download on my bandcamp page.
The first performance of my composition ‘Begehren’ for mezzo soprano and string quartet (2020) at the Radio Symphony Orchestra’s chamber music festival ‘MIND’, on February 4th, 2022 Virpi Räisänen – mezzo soprano Laura Vikman – violin Ville Koponen – violin Ezra Woo – viola Tomas Nuñez – cello
These three songs are based on poems by the German poetress Gertrud Kolmar (1894-1943) 1. Märchen 2. Liebende 3. Die Verlassene
in the middle of my summer break (that is only interrupted by a gig at the Pori Jazz Festival, next Saturday, July 16th, and a few spontaneous ‘surprise’ solo concerts in Temppeliaukio Church) I would like to share with you this wonderful video:
on May 20th, 2022 I played a duo concert with the Swedish shakuhachi master Gunnar Linder as part of the ‘Two Moons chamber concerts‘ series. Sigurdur Rognvaldsson filmed the concert and Ossi Nurmela recorded and mixed it. The result is so beautiful that I am considering to also publish the concert as a CD…., we’ll see.
But here for now, it is on video: the complete improvised concert, for you to enjoy! Feel free to share and tell your friends about it.
Okay, it’s true: this has been way too long. More than a year since my last blog which I wrote in December 2020. What happened to 2021?
Well, the year sort of raced past me. I turned 60. I finished the piece for choir, saxophone and string quintet called ‘Eines Morgens’ (another composition based on a poem by Gertrud Kolmar) which turned out to be really beautiful, and I played about 60 concerts, most of them solo or in duo as part of the Two Moons chamber concerts series in Temppeliaukio Church, but also a couple of them with the Hille-Hohti Eclectic duo and my F#-trio.
My solo recording ‘Here – Beyond the Infinite’ from fall 2019 got great reviews and so did just recently the new release by F# ‘Scientifically proven & critically tested’ which we had good fun producing last year, including making some fun pictures for the CD’s/LP’s cover.
But the predominant thing, I must confess, is an enormous tiredness. I was and still am in the fortunate position to be working, performing, composing – much more than many of my colleagues who got left stranded in the wake of corona – and it seems pompous to complain, even more so when I’m thinking of the victims of the Russian invasion into Ukraine. But I can’t deny that it has been taking a toll.
So, writing a blog, going on about my enterprises and endeavors seemed shallow, which is, I guess, why I didn’t feel inclined at all to write here for the past year. I’m ambiguous about it, though. I know for a fact that my concerts in Temppeliaukio Church, for instance, mean a lot to a lot of people. There is a place, just to be in the moment, surrounded by that beautiful architecture, to let yourself be carried away in the sounds that happen there, by way of my piano improvisations. I feel it’s an act of sharing, of caring. In a way, it seems to be the only meaningful thing I can offer: creating something beautiful in this world – rather than destroying things or, even worse, lives and livelihoods.
So, let that be my contribution: Welcome to Temppeliaukio Church, a wonderful place to be, to just sit or, on a Wednesday morning, to listen to my music. Or, if you can’t be there in person, take a look at the SatnaMusic Facebook page where we frequently stream our concerts: solo piano concerts on Wednesday mornings and Two Moons chamber concerts on Friday afternoons. The streams are free of charge and even if you miss the ‘live’ time, you can watch the concerts at any point of your convenience, later on.
I would be a bad CD producer, if I didn’t at least point out to you the possibility to listen to or even download and order some of the wonderful recordings we offer at sidhille.bandcamp.com . There you will find carefully assembled and crafted music publications that you will not find on any other platform. Music that is intended to make this world a more beautiful place, even when some of it may sound a little melancholic or serious or with a humorous twinkle in its eyes. Or just simple and pretty. See, if there is something you might enjoy!
Reading my last post from a year ago, when I looked ahead at the upcoming year 2020, brings to mind the old saying: ‘Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans’, a saying that John Lennon appropriated in his lovely song ‘Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)’.
Things certainly turned out differently than anybody might have anticipated (except for a couple of virologists who have warned us already for years about something like this coming up).
Still, in spite of all the necessary restrictions to get a grip on the corona pandemic, I managed to get a lot of things done. I’d like to have a quick look back on what happened in my work during 2020, before I’ll give it another go at projecting into the future and the upcoming 2021.
So, the first half of 2020 was dedicated to composing: a piece for cello ensemble ‘Musette’, a recorder quartet ‘Bravade’, a four-movement piece for solo violin and electronics, commissioned and first performed by violinist Virpi Taskila and a 15-minute piece for mezzosoprano Virpi Räisänen and string quartet called ‘Begehren’, based on poems by the German poetress Gertrud Kolmar. I also performed fifteen solo piano concerts I called the ‘Empty Church Concerts’. As there were no visitors in Temppeliaukio Church due to the pandemic, I decided to stream these concerts on SatnaMusic’s Facebook site (where they can still be viewed) and, rather unexpectedly I might say, reached all in all almost half a million people worldwide. Thank you all for your interest and beautiful feedback!
In fall 2020 I released a new solo piano album called ‘Here – Beyond The Infinite’ (download and CD available on sidhille.bandcamp.com).
The CD was released on September 23rd, 2020 on the occasion of my 500th solo concert in Temppeliaukio Church. The rest of fall 2020 went in adjusting to the second wave of the pandemic. I didn’t have the strength or inspiration to compose, but I kept playing my solo piano improvisation concerts and a couple of very inspiring duo concerts as part of the Two Moons chamber concert series.
At this point I would like to thank the City of Helsinki, the Finnish Music Foundation MES and the Arts Promotion Centre Finland Taike for their support of my artistic work. In these difficult times this support is especially appreciated! And of course a very big THANK YOU to Temppeliaukio Church for their ongoing super cooperation and their friendly support!
And my composition concert is still booked in Temppeliaukio Church for May 14th, 2021, which is my 60th birthday (WHAT??…has it been that long already?…). On that evening several of my recent new compositions will have their first performance, ‘Begehren’, ‘Heba’, ‘Bravade’ etc.
Other than these live performances I will concentrate on composing again: – a piece for the Tapiola children’s choir featuring the splendid saxophonist Jukka Perko (supported by the Oskar Öflund Foundation) – a piano quintet for myself and the Sid Hille Camerata (supported by the Sibelius Fund of the Finnish Composers’ society) – a duo piece for my new duo Hille-Hohti Eclectic, featuring piano, cello and live electronics.
Keep an eye on the Gigs page to stay tuned, but most of all: Keep safe, stay healthy, wash your hands and wear a mask!