Seppo Pohjola (b. 1965) studied composition in Espoo Musical College (1987-1990) with Olli Kortekangas and Olli Koskelin and in Sibelius Academy (1990-1995) with Paavo Heininen and Erkki Jokinen. He has been working as a free composer since 1995.
Pohjola’s debut as a composer was String Quartet No. 1 (1991). This and later compositions Pixilated (1992) for chamber ensemble and Daimonion(1994) for orchestra were strict modernistic and possesses a post-serialistic ideas. These compositions reveal a strong influence of György Ligeti, Iannis Xenakis and Magnus Lindberg. During the years 1994-1997 Pohjola’s style became more versatile and compositions turn to be more heterogeneous: String Quartet No. 2 (1995), Game Over (1996) for chamber ensemble, orchestral pieces Vinha(1998) and Taika(1999). Pohjola’s present esthetic attitude with highly characteristic rhythmic patterns and soft sensitive harmonies was found in String Quartet No. 3 (1999-2000) and Oravan Laulu (2000) for mixed choir, and especially in the latest works – Tralala(2000) for symphony orchestra, Liebelei (2001) for chamber ensemble, Elämän Kevät (2002) for string orchestra, Symphony No. 1 (2002), mini-opera Arabian Jänis for children (2004), and chamber opera Kaappi (2004).
Pohjola’s works have been performed in many European countries and all Nordic countries. Pohjola’s piece for piano and string trio New York New York (2001) won the Society of Finnish composers Uussoitto competition in Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival 2002. String Quartet No. 3 was performed in 2002 at Rostrum in Paris and ISCM World Music Days in Hong Kong.
- Vae Victis
This piece was commissioned by the Tapiola Sinfonieta and it follows the path of my previous instrumental piece Game Over. Certain stylistic similarity is visible in the titles themselves Game Over – Vae Victis (Woe to the vanquished). My role models, orchestra- tion wise, were the masters from the beginning of the 20th century. There are numerous solo performances of various instruments from the orchestra, and I tried to avoid the use of tutti. Despite the title, this is not funeral music. It simply an effort to shed some light on the state of mind of the Gaul military leader who exclaimed “vae victis” to conquered Romans.