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Pertti Jalava

Pertti Jalava (b. 1960 in Turku , Finland ) has composed numerous works for various chamber ensembles and orchestra, among them four symphonies, a flute concerto and a double concerto for piano and flute. He has also written a considerable volume of music for big band and his jazz ensemble, in which he playes drums and keyboards. Though stylistically he keeps his two main genres (jazz / chamber and orchestral music) separate, without engaging in crossover, he does allow influences to travel between the two and they have many features in common: the important role assigned to rhythm and melody, polyphony, picturesque narrative and richness of event. His primary objectives are, Jalava says, emotional and narrative expression. Such aspirations leave no room for exclusions of any kind. In his music he uses strong contrasts, thereby achieving dramatic effects and aesthetic accents. Sometimes ugliness is needed to emphasise beauty: distorted harmonies, sharp timbres and aggressive rhythms. At other times these negative messages have to be offset by unashamed beauty in order to be experienced to the full. Rhythm occupies a major role in Jalava’s music. It is often motor-like and frequently asymmetric. Yet a meditative quality, or a kind of floating, carefree mood is also characteristic of his music.

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“Jalava has developed an idiosyncratic composition style with a vocabulary and grammar all its own, and handles it with elegant competence.” - Hannu-Ilari Lampila, Helsingin Sanomat, 22 February 2008

“An outsider to the classical-music establishment and recognised jazz circles, he has, by dint of sheer hard work, developed a mature and original voice that is difficult to categorise but easy to admire.” - Erkki Huovinen, Visiting Professor, University of Minnesota/ School of Music.

Finnish composer Pertti Jalava writes music with strong narratives. You can be assured of an almost filmic quality in his compositions and this, allied to an interest in Jazz rhythms, vests his chamber works – all that I have to go on for now – with strong character

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