Kuva/ Photo: Saara Vuorjoki
Composer, conductor and pianist Jukka Linkola (b. 1955) began his career in jazz, but since the 1980s he has become better known as a composer of classic music. His repertoire as a composer is exceptionally large. It contains not only orchestral works, concertos and chamber music but also operas, songs, musicals and jazz. In all, 40 recordings of Linkola’s works have so far been released.
Jukka Linkola has been mostly composing for symphony and chamber orchestras or large jazz ensembles dominated by wind and brass instruments, and he also uses soloists with various ensembles. In recent years Linkola has composed also several choral works, such as “Evoe!” and the “Christmas Suite” for the Helsinki University Male Voice Choir (YL), “Primitive Music” and “Auringon ylistys” for descant choir and “Mieliteko” and “Ilo” for mixed choir.
Linkola received the Emma Prize in 1998, when the album “Libau” by his ensemble EQ was awarded the title of Record of the Year. The musical “Kairatut sydämet” won the first prize in the LUSES competition for the composition of a musical in 1993. “Astoria” and “Häkkilintu” won prizes in the Hopeakuu music theatre competition organised by the Lahti City Theatre in 2002. “Astoria” was also selected for performance at the Lahti City Theatre. The music for the films “Lumikuningatar” and “Ihmiselon ihanuus ja kurjuus” received Jussi Awards in 1987 and 1989.
In 1980 Linkola’s album “Kuinka myöhään valvoo blues” was chosen as the Record of the Year by the Finnish Broadcasting Company. Linkola received the Yrjö (Georgie) Award of the Finnish Jazz Federation as early as 1979 and won the first prize in the composition competition organised by Pori Jazz in 1980. He was again the receiver of the Hopeakuu music theatre competition organised by the Lahti City Theatre in 2004, this time for a work called “Petronella”.
Jukka Linkola has also won international prizes. In 1994 he won first prize in the Concours International de Composition de la Ville du Havre with his work “Structures”, and in the same year he received the IAJE prize in Boston. The television opera “Angelika” premiered in 1992 received the first prize in the Paris Opera Screen Competition in 1993 and one year later also took the first prize in the Midem Awards in Cannes. “Pierrot” took second prize in the EBU international composition competition in 1981.
Linkola was conductor at the Helsinki City Theatre 1975-1990. At the moment he is a freelance composer. He has conducted his own works with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Helsinki Philharmonic, the Orchestra of the Finnish National Opera, the Göteborg Opera, the Aalborg Symphony Orchestra and the Radio Orchestras of Ljubljana and Prague. He has also conducted many big bands, such as the UMO Jazz Orchestra, EBU Big Band, Danish Radio Big Band and Bohuslän Big Band and has been involved with the Helsinki Festival, Jyväskylä Arts Festival and Lieksa Brass Week. He can frequently be heard on the piano with his own ensemble, The Tentet.