4 concertos premiered in a month – a world record for a composer?

4 concertos premiered in a month – a world record for a composer?


norman lebrecht

February 18, 2022

From the forthcoming schedule of Finnish composer Kalevi Aho:

24/2/2022: Concerto for Piccolo Clarinet and Orchestra “Simplicius Simplicissimus”

11/3/2022: Double Concerto for Flute, Harp and Orchestra (Osmo Vänskä conducts; Emmanuel Ceysson on the harp; Niamh McKenna on the flute)

17/3/2022: Concerto for Alto Flute and Strings (Gabriel Bebeselea conducts)

31/3/2022: Double Concerto for Viola, Percussion and Strings

Aho is thought to have composed 37 concertos to date.

The winters are long in Finland.


  • Freewheeler says:

    The World Record is 29 in a month. That was during a leap year, of course.

  • Yes, that’s about it, and we have recorded and released 24 of them, if I calculate correctly – it is very difficult to keep up with his speed, but we have several in planning. The amazing thing, though, is the quality – every single work of his is a pearl in itself, and most concertos are around the half-hour mark – no trifles here. A composer like that is totally unique – also the fact that he can play almost all of the instruments himself – he really knows what he is doing, when writing for an instrument!
    Robert von Bahr, BIS Records, Sweden

    • La plus belle voix says:

      And a most kind and generous man to boot. (With a really dry sense of humour.)

    • Peter San Diego says:

      Aho is a worthy successor to such fertile composers as Saint-Saens, Milhaud and Martinu.

    • Ramesh Nair says:

      I’ve bought most of the Aho concertos that BIS has released, and there isn’t a single one I regret getting. Aho doesn’t seem to have a generic ‘house style’. As one would expect, some of the concertos are more challenging and rebarbative than others. On the other hand, I underestimated the tympani concerto. On the hi-fi, it sounded one of the least interesting, and rambling. However, when my local Auckland Philharmonia programmed it a couple of years ago, it was extremely well received for a contemporary work. Exciting and unpredictable in the concert hall, it’s a minor mystery why it sounded rather underwhelming without a live concert’s visual stimuli and immersive acoustic.

    • John Borstlap says:

      Here is his impressive 16th (!) symphony:


      A fascinating landscape painting in tones. It sounds very, very Skandinavian…. a very imaginative composer.

  • opilec says:

    I doubt it. Reason: Vivaldi.

  • Cheeky says:

    How many of these premiers were delayed by covid?

  • La plus belle voix says:

    Certainly Finland’s senior composer. An amazing œuvre!

  • Fabius says:

    There is much better than Kalevi Aho.
    Paavo Heininen !
    There is plenty of records for Aho
    And hardly nothing for Heininen.
    What a big disgrace !

  • Chris says:

    Heck, and the guy even has a fell walk named after him in a gorgeous area of Finland! I was introduced to Aho’s music via Christian Lindberg (Aho’s 9th Symphony is, actually, a trombone concerto) and have since enjoyed numerous other works of his. Really wonderful to have a modern composer with a wide, varied, and approachable oeuvre.

    • John Borstlap says:

      The reason why Aho is ‘approachable’, is that under the surface the dynamics of his music are traditional and tonal. He just uses them in a personal way – with freedom, and taste.