The most played concerto by a Finnish composer is…

The most played concerto by a Finnish composer is…


norman lebrecht

June 04, 2018

…. obviously, Sibelius’s violin concerto.

But what’s the second most performed?

We think you’ll never guess.

Clue #1 It’s by a living composer

# 2 It’s for percussion and orchestra

# 3 It’s being performed 15 times in 2017-18. By three different soloists: Colin Currie, Martin Grubinger and Alexei Gerassimez.

Any warmer?

The composer is the chap on the left.




Kalevi Aho’s percussion concerto will have its 50th performance this year. That makes it #2 behind Sibelius.


  • CYM says:

    Kalevi Aho ??

  • Steven says:

    I’m sure I’m not the only one who guessed this. Aho is one of the best living composers. His Insect Symphony, for example, is magnificent.

  • The View from America says:

    The person pictured on the right in the photo is contrabassoonist Lewis Lipnick of the National Symphony Orchestra (Washington, DC), I think.

    • Barry Guerrero says:

      Is that an Austrian lodenmantel he’s wearing?

      Nothing wrong with that, just wondering.

      • The View from America says:

        I’m not sure what it is exactly, but it looks like something “Central European,” broadly speaking.

      • Lewis Lipnick says:

        Yes, Mr. Guerrero, I am wearing a lodenmantel..from a shop in Erding, Bayern. Made in Bavaria.

    • MacroV says:

      Lapnick commissioned a contrabassoon concerto from Aho, which he then recorded (I think with Andrew Litton and the Bergen Philharmonic). Though the NSO has never, to my knowledge, played it, which seems like a missed opportunity.

      I do like Aho’s clarinet concerto, which I heard the incomparable Martin Frost play with the NSO several years ago.

    • Lewis Lipnick says:

      Yes, indeed, that is me (Lewis Lipnick) with Kalevi Aho in Helsinki a few years ago during the summer music festival.

  • Christopher Culver says:

    I was surprised to see Aho’s Flute Concerto performed recently by the mediocre local orchestra in my Eastern European city. The ensembles here almost entirely avoid anything from recent decades, not because of a fear of alienating audiences with modernist stuff but because the fees to perform work under copyright are simply too high to bear. So, I can only assume that Aho’s publisher Fennica Gehrman is being unusually flexible on performance fees in order to get Aho’s work wider exposure.

  • Barry Guerrero says:

    Robert van Bahr, the owner of BIS, told me that he can’t sell many copies of Aho in Japan because of what that word means in Japanese.

    I do think that Aho is one of the better, more clever living composers. My favorite among living composer is Jennifer Higdon, who might be a bit too conservative for some. But who asked me!

  • Caravaggio says:

    Ahi Tuna?

    • Steven Hill says:

      Kenkyusha’s Japanese-English dictionary:

      Aho (n): a fool; an ass; a jackass; a simpleton

      • The View from America says:

        I think George Enescu faced similar “challenges” in Paris because of his name, which he changed to Georges Enesco (something about the suffix on the last name which is problematic in the French language, evidently) …

        • Michael W. Sullivan says:

          I worked for a Japanese company many years.Our business cards were printed in English on one side and in Katakana phonetic Japanese on the other. Unfortunately one of my co-workers name in Katakana translated to the very forbidden “C” word in Hiragana. He always got either snickers or stares when he presented his business card to our Japanese visitors.