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Kai Nieminen (b. 17.3.1953) is a Finnish composer who cannot be classified under any particular school or style. Traces of impressionism, neo-romanticism and, fleetingly, even expressionism may be detected in his basically atonal music, and if necessary he is not against using devices of even more recent 20th century music. The various elements have nevertheless blended to form a homogeneous idiom and a personal style all of his own. As his closest musical soul mate and kindred spirit he mentions Japanese composer Toru Takemitsu.

The earliest works by Kai Nieminen date from the 1970s. Not surprisingly, considering his guitarist background, he first made news as a composer with extremely playable works for that instrument (such as Night Sonata(s) 1976-2006, Acquarelli della notte 1981, Homenaje a Andres Segovia 1993 and Riflessioni sul nome Amedeo Modigliani 2011), but he has, from the very beginning, also composed chamber music. His output of vocal music has, on the other hand, been relatively slight..

Then in 1995 came Nieminen’s first work for orchestra, Vicoli in ombra. It gave him a considerable boost in his career and marked the dawn of a new era in his production in that orchestral works and concertos have since become his primary genres. Subsequent additions have included Time around Spring (1997), Le citta invisibili (1998), Chi Vivra Vedra (1998/2000), Time around Lights, Shadows and Spaces (1999), Il castello dei destini incrociati (2000), In Mirrors of Time… (2000/07) and In Woodlands of the Birds (2002).

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composer – guitarist

KAI NIEMINEN - Teokset/Works

Works for Orchestra
Vicoli in ombra (Alleys in Twilight / Hämyiset kujat) (1995) 10’
Time Around Spring – Timo K. Mukka in Memoriam (1997) 20’
Le città invisibili – Omaggio à Italo Calvino
(Invisible Cities / Näkymättömiä kaupunkeja) (1998) 21’
Time Around Lights, Shadows and Spaces
– Helene Schjerfbeck in Memoriam (1999) 11’ – 12’
Hailing the Beauty of Light and Snow … (In Winterwoods) (2000) 10’
Il castello dei destini incrociati
– The Castle of Crossed Destinies (2000) 23’
In Mirrors of Time… (Through Colours of Autumn) (2000) 15’
Palomar Concerto for Flute and Orchestra (2001) 23’
Clarinet Concerto
(Through Shadows I Can Hear Ancient Voices) (2002) 25’
Violin Concerto (Il viaggio del cavaliere … inesistente) (2005) 35’
La Serenissima concerto for viola, harp and strings (2006) 25’
Piano Concerto Reflections in the Enchanted Waves of Time …
concerto for piano and orchestra (2007) 35’
If on a Winters Night a Traveller Guitar Concerto
– concerto for guitar and orchestra (2009) 28’
Somni de Gaudi – Oboe Concerto
– concerto for oboe and orchestra (2009) 30’
To Touch Upon Other Times (Painting(s) On The Canvas of Silence)
Horn Concerto – concerto for horn and orchestra (2010) 25’
Symphony No. 1 “La Selva” (2013) 35’
Symphony No. 2 ”Nello specchio della notte” a Caravaggio (2015) 20’


Works for String Orchestra
I Can Hear Northern Lights II for violin and string orchestra (1999) 16’
Spellbound by Winter’s Night (2008) 22’

Works for Wind Band
Time Around Autumn (1996) 12’

Works for Solo Guitar
The Temple (Temppeli) – Igor Stravinsky in Memoriam (1976) 6’
Aquarelles of the Night (Yön akvarelleja) (1981) 10’
Night Sonata (Yösonaatti) – Dedicated to painters
1. Night Preludes (Yöpreludeja) – Hommage à Joan Miró (1980) 10’
2. Gnomes of the Night (Yömenninkäisiä)
– Hommage à Marc Chagall (1985) 10’
3. Night Poems in a Clock Shop a Little Before One O’Clock
(Yörunoja kellokaupassa vähän ennen yhtä yöllä)
– Hommage à Salvador Dali (1989) 10’
Hommage à Andres Segovia (1993) 7’
Estampes (Vaskipiirroksia) – Frank Martin in Memoriam (1997) 8’
Fragmentos de la vida del mar (Katkelmia meren elämästä)
– Homenaje a Joaquin Turina (1999) 9’
Riflessioni sul nome Amadeo Modigliani (2011) 13’
Images of Fear (2012) 9’30’’
Sonata – A Walk to the Mysterious Woods (2012) 21’
Quadri Morandi (2014) 12’
Northern Spells (2016) 12’
Omaggio a Bruno Munari (2016) 12’
Shades Around Stonehenge (2017) 15’

Chamber Music
Autumn Sonnet (Syyssonetti) for clarinet and piano (1981) 10’
Assonata for clarinet and piano (1982) 12’
Winter Sonnet (Talvisonetti) for clarinet and cello (1985) 15’
Epitaph (Epitafi) for cello and piano (1993) 9’
Notturno – Uccelli della Notte for violin and piano (1996) 8’
Julvers – Notturno II for violin and piano (2014) 10’
Hobgoblin Suite for bass clarinet and strings (1998) 16’
3 Quartets of Winter for strings:
I. I Can Hear Northern Lights … for violin and string quartet (1999) 16’
II. Towards the Light … for string quartet + crotali (2014) 14’
III. Gestures of Winter … for string quartet (2017) 20’
There’s a Certain Slant of Light … (Winter Afternoons)
◦ Einar Englund in Memoriam for 9 players (2000) 10’
◦ Piano trios
In der Winterzeit – trio for violin, violoncello and piano (2004) 17’
Reflecting Landscapes – trio for violin, violoncello and piano (2011) 18’
Frammenti dal buio … – trio for violin, violoncello and piano (2016) 12’

Chamber Music with Guitar
Night Shadows (Yön varjoja) for two guitars (1997) 10’
Canti Notturnali for cello and guitar (2017) 14’

Works for Solo Instruments
Suite Piccola “The Bog” (Pieni sarja “Aapasuolla”)
for double bass (1976) 7’
Mist Hobgoblin (Usvanhaltia) for bass clarinet
(from Hobgoblins Suite – Haltiat-sarjasta) (1991) 8’
Pan for viola (1991) 6’
Poems from Standstill Time and Silence,
versions A and B for piano (1991) 10’
(Runoja pysähtyneestä ajasta ja hiljaisuudesta, A ja B)
Hymnos for flute or alto flute (1992) 6’
Hymnos II for Horn (1992) 6’
Hymnos III for English Horn (2009) 8’
Hymnos IV for clarinet (Waterscapes)(2017) 6’
Tarantula for kantele or harp (1997) 9’30’’
Elegy for Agatha – Benjamin Britten in Memoriam
for oboe or violin (1998) 6’
Σ (Sigma) for trombone (1998) 6’30’’
The Tale of Astolpho on the Moon for violin (2000) 7’
Waves of Sorrow for cello or viola (2004) 6’
The Smile of the Flamboyant Wings – hommage a Miro
for piano (2016) 10’
Barthlebooth for piano (2018) 10’

Vocal Works
Sea Poems (Merirunoja) for middle voice and guitar (1979) 10’
Poems from a Forest (Metsärunoja)
for soprano and piano (1993) 15’30’’
Of Winter … (Talvesta …) for soprano and piano (1994) 9’30’’
Landscapes for any voice and piano (1997) 10’
Unen maasta Suite for mixed choir (2003) 8’

”From Winters Night” (fantasy for organ) (2010) 10:26
Temple II (1976/2006) 7:41
Preghiera (di Francesco di Assisi) (2014) 11:21
Pre -Inter-Post per Organo (2017) 16:30