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Unlike most of his contemporary musician colleagues, Osmo Tapio Räihälä began as a rock musician only turning to art music in his late teens. He studied musicology at the universities of Turku and Helsinki and composition with Harri Vuori. Nonetheless, he considers himself largely self-taught. His music, almost exclusively instrumental, uses clear colours and a visuality stemming from his interest in visual art. Räihälä himself experiences music as images: colours, shapes, lines, values, surfaces.... These visual associations are clearly to be experienced in his music, for example, in changes of style, contrasts of motifs and clear melodic sequences. The overall impression is one of layered, overlapping images, especially in his music for the symphony orchestra. Räihälä’s seminal work was Barlinnie Nine (1999/2005), an orchestral tribute to Scottish footballer Duncan Ferguson. It is a colourful work depicting the numerous stages in the career of Ferguson, who was known as one of football's very bad boys. The music of Finland's leading composer has been performed in some two dozen countries on five continents. Aside from his work as a composer, Räihälä is known for his activities on television and radio in his native Finland.

This biography can be reproduced free of charge in concert programs with the following credit: Reprinted by kind permission of Boosey & Hawkes/Sikorski.

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