Tapio Tuomela (b. 1958) studied composition at the Sibelius Academy in 1985-1988 and 1991-1993 with Eero Hämeenniemi, Magnus Lindberg, and Paavo Heininen, having first taken diploma degrees in piano and conducting in 1982 and 1987. He then studied at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester (M.M. in 1990), and at Hochschule der Kunste in Berlin 1990-91. He holds a Doctor of Music degree from the Sibelius-Academy, where he is teaching composition and orchestration part-time.
Tuomela’s works have been performed at festivals like ISCM World Music Days, Présences, Sibelius&Beyond (London), Scandinavia Today (N.Y.), Gulbenkian, and Nordic Music Days, and twice selected by the UNESCO Rostrum. He has received commissions by orchestras or ensembles in Scandinavia, France, Germany, Spain, Portugal, and Russia. He has had portrait concerts in Helsinki (1991 and 2008), at the Finnish Institutes of Antwerp and Paris (1998 and 2003), and in Turku 2008.
His opera Mothers and Daughters was the Finnish candidate for the Nordic Music Prize in 2004; its recording appeared in the “Top five” of the Magazine Fanfare classical music new recordings of 2009. His chamber opera (melodrama) Antti Puuhaara has been performed nearly 30 times internationally and recorded by the French Musicatreize Ensemble. His newest opera Crossing of Four Roads was performed ten times in January-February 2017 at Oulu City Theatre to sold-out audiences. Currently he is working on a piece for the Lahti Symphony on the occasion of the Centenary of the Finnish Independence.
Tuomela was the Composer-in-Residence of the Joensuu Orchestra during 2008-2013 and the featured composer in the Nordic Music Festival in St Petersburg in 2005 and Festival Musiques Demésurées, Clermont-Ferrand, 2006. He received the Kalevala Prize in 2005 for integration of the Finnish “rune” heritage in his contemporary musical language. In 2013, he was awarded the Ordre National du Mérite from the French State.
Tuomela worked as Artistic Director of the Time of Music Festival during 1999-2008 and as chairman of the Society of Finnish Composers during 2010-14. He is still a board member of several musical organizations.
During the 1990’s, Tuomela appeared often as conductor with contemporary music and opera as his specialities. He performed with professional orchestras in all Scandinavian countries, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Russia, and Lithuania.
Gwyn Pritchard (b.1948) studied at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and first came to the attention of the British public in the late 1970s. Since then much of his compositional activity has been based abroad, firstly in Poland, and then in Switzerland, Italy and Germany. His compositions include works for orchestra, ensembles, solo instruments, vocal works and pieces employing electronics. They have been performed around the world, broadcast on many radio and television networks, and have been included in leading international festivals including Warsaw Autumn, Wien Modern, Huddersfield, ISCM World Music Days, Weimar Frühjahrstage, in Berlin at the Randspiele, Klangwekstatt and Pyramidale festivals, Daegu (S Korea) the International New Music Week, and numerous others. In recent years Pritchard has been the subject of several 'portrait' concerts, exclusively of his music, by the ensembles OENM (Salzburg, Austria) and by Ensemble ö! (Chur, Switzerland). Current commissions include an orchestral work for the Jaenar Philharmonie at the Frühjahrstage 2018 festival in Weimar, and a solo piano piece for Susanne Kessel to celebrate the Beethoven 250th anniversary celebrations in Bonn in 2020.
In 1982 Pritchard founded Uroboros Ensemble which includes some of Britain‘s leading instrumentalists. He has composed several pieces for the group, and as their conductor has performed and broadcast with them throughout Britain and on European tours. In 2003 he founded the Reggello International Festival of Music in Tuscany, Italy, and in 2013 the London Ear Festival (with Andrea Cavallari).
He is a professor of composition at Trinity Laban Conservatoire, London, and has given lectures and masterclasses at many academic institutions in Europe, America and Asia. He has written, introduced and participated in programmes for the BBC, and has contributed articles and reviews to a variety of international musical publications. Pritchard’s music is published by Verlag Neue Musik, Berlin.
Multi award–winning composer Thomas Simaku (b.1958) graduated from the Albanian State Conservatoire in Tirana (1983), and gained a PhD in Composition from University of York (1996) where he studied with David Blake. Simaku was the Leonard Bernstein Fellow in Composition at Tanglewood Music Centre, USA (1996) studying with Bernard Rands, and a fellow at the Composers’ Workshop, California State University (1998), with Brian Ferneyhough.
Simaku's music has been reaching audiences across Europe, the USA and further afield for more than two decades, and it has been awarded a host of accolades for its expressive qualities and its unique blend of intensity and modernism. His works have been selected by international juries in no less than nine editions of ISCM World Music Days; other international festivals where his music has been performed include Huddersfield, Tanglewood, Miami, Zagreb-Biennale, Weimar, Munich, Rome, Viitassari (Finland), Alea III Boston, Beijing, Innsbruck (Austria), Warsaw Autumn, etc. Performed by renowned soloists, ensembles and orchestras, his music has been broadcast worldwide, including radio stations such as BBC Radio 3, SWR2, MDR, Deutschlandfunk (Cologne), Amsterdam Radio 4, ORF (Austria), Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), RNE (Spain), RTP (Portugal), etc. His CD, released on Naxos 21st Century Classics series in 2008 received much critical acclaim; it reached the best of year list in the USA.
Prestigious awards include the coveted Lionel Robbins Memorial Scholarship in 1993, First Prize of the 2004 Serocki International Competition, a Leverhulme Research Fellowship, and a three-year fellowship from Arts & Humanities Research Council in London. In 2009 Simaku received a British Composer Award from BASCA for his Soliloquy V - Flauto Acerbo, which the judging panel described as ‘visionary and entirely original’. With this work he represented the UK at the 2012 ISCM Festival in Belgium.
In 2013 Simaku won the first prize of the International Competition for Lutosławski’s 100th Birthday with Concerto for Orchestra, chosen from 160 compositions submitted anonymously from 37 countries. Simaku holds a senior position as Reader in Composition at the University of York.
Olsi Qinami is a conductor, pianist and teacher based in London and also founder, Conductor and Music Director of London City Philharmonic. He and began playing the piano at the age of 6 with Iris Kapo and Vladimir Kapo, and later in London with Nigel Clayton professor at the London “Royal College of Music”.
Olsi has collaborated with many orchestras and soloists including soloists from the Vienna Philharmonic and orchestras such as: London Classical Solosits, London City Orchestra, National Opera of Albania (where he premiered Puccini Messa di Gloria), Orchestre Opera de Massy, London Thames Orchestra, The Amadeus and Chorus Orchestra, Orchestre de Chambre de Versailles, Tirana Chamber Orchestra, University of Arts Philharmonic Orchestra of Albania & Macedonia National Opera Choir, Kammerphilharmonie Graz, Orchestra Giovanile di Genova and many others. In 2015 he was awarded the 2nd prize at the International Conducting Competition with the LCS Orchestra in London.
Olsi studied conducting at the “Academy of Arts” in Tirana, Albania with Bujar Llapaj and Petrika Afezolli. He continued his Conducting Studies in France with Dominique Rouits at the Paris conservatoire “Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris”. He actively participated in master- classes with, Paavo Jarvi, Jorma Panula, Peter Stark, Maurizio Arena, Howard Williams, Mark Heron, Neil Thomson and many more.