26.04.–05.05.2024 / Tartu
Matti Heininen

Born in Turku, Finland (1984), Matti Heininen opted early for an international career. Residing shortly in Switzerland as a child, he developed a special relationship with the German-speaking world that later led him to continue his studies abroad. He began his formal composition studies at the Turku Conservatory (Tuomo Teirilä, composition and Eric Marquis, music technology) and Turku University (Jyrki Linjama, composition and counterpoint), and in 2016 he finished his Master’s degree at the Sibelius Academy (Prof. Tapio Nevanlinna and Veli-Matti Puumala). In 2011, he studied at the Basel Music Academy under Georg Friedrich Haas. He completed his Konzertexamen in Hannover in 2019 (Prof. Ming Tsao).

In 2017, his first opera Rakkauden ateria (The Meal of Love) was hailed by the press as “challenging for audiences and performers alike…”. The same year his Spettrale (oboe, pianoforte, percussion) was premiered by Trio SurPlus at the prestigious Akademie Schloss Solitude. The work was described as an “exceptional show of talent” by Der Neue Merker. Since then Spettrale has received numerous performances in Germany. Heininen’s music has been performed and broadcast in Finland and around Europe: for instance at Korsholm Music Festival in 2017, at concerts of ECSA (European Composer and Songwriter Alliance; Brussels 2020, Lisbon 2023), as well as in various festivals around Germany. In 2017, the Lüneburg Symphony Orchestra (cond. Thomas Dorsch) first performed Heininen’s orchestral work The River, and in 2019 HMTMH sinfonietta (cond. Martin Brauβ) premiered the work uoma. In 2021, Ensemble Etendis (Margit Kern and Olaf Tzschoppe) premiered Spectral Night Music I for accordion and percussion. In 2021, Heininen’s portrait concert took place at the Sibelius Museum in Turku. Matti Heininen’s constant strive for excellence is exemplified in his latest orchestral work, towards the extraordinary adventures of Baron Munchausen (2019) for the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra (FRSO) and Gustavo Gimeno, a score so detailed and rich that printing it required special arrangements. Like Munchausen’s tales, Heininen’s music keeps pushing the boundaries of reality, exploding towards absurdity.

In addition, Heininen’s music has been performed by Ensemble Mimitabu, Looptail, Fractales, Zagros, Odysseus Quartet, and Uusinta Ensemble, among others. His solo works have been performed for instance by Christine Chapman (horn), Ragna Schirmer (piano), Antti Salovaara and Etienne Boudreault (bassoon), Kirstin Maria Pientka and Max Savikangas (viola), Mikko Luoma (accordion), and Jan Lehtola and Peter Peitsalo (organ). In 2022, Heininen was awarded the Freja Prize and he shared the first prize at the Vox Quercus Composition Competition. In 2016, he was a finalist in the Mauricio Kagel Competition in Vienna; in 2013, he was awarded at the Organ Music Competition of the Organum Society.

Besides composing, Heininen has performed as a pianist and percussionist, and worked as a composition teacher and music producer. As a young and prominent figure in the Turku underground electronic music scene, he collaborated with the producer Jaakko Salovaara (JS16) and the X-Rust Organisation, while studying with the acclaimed jazz vibraphonist Severi Pyysalo. Producing hundreds of tracks and remixes for the likes of Bomfunk MC’s and Deadmau5 led to DJing in such legendary clubs as the Ministry of Sound and Turnmills in London. In recent years, Heininen has started to gain appreciation as a teacher, his students achieving success for instance in composition competitions (e.g., first prize at Uuno Klami Composition Competition 2022). Since 2020, Heininen has worked as a lecturer at the Savonia University of Applied Sciences, School of Music and Dance, and at the Sibelius Academy, University of the Arts Helsinki.