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Composer in residence

Meet the artist: Rebecka Ahvenniemi

Portrait of Rebecka Ahvenniemi

Written by: Anette Basso


Rebecka Ahvenniemi. Foto: Paul Johannessen.

Rebecka Ahvenniemi is Kode’s composer in residence for 2022.

Before the premiere of the work “Et imaginært komponisthjem: Portrettkonsert av Gesine Sofie Reimers” (An imaginary composer’s home. A portrait concert of Gesine Sofie Reimers), we are given an insight into Ahvenniemi’s work as a composer in her own home.

Why did she decide to become a composer and how does she combine this role with her work as a philosopher? What are her thoughts about the composer’s profession? And what influences her in her work?

Composer in residence 2022: Rebecka Sofie Ahvenniemi

Rebecka Sofia Ahvenniemi (b. 1982) is the second composer Kode has appointed in its long-term programme to raise the profile of composition.

In addition to an MA in composition from the Grieg Academy, Bergen, Ahvenniemi has recently completed a PhD in philosophy at the University of Helsinki.

The points of overlap between composition and philosophy find expression in Ahvenniemi’s music, writings, research, and teaching.

The projects she has started work on in her year as composer in residence include a Youtube channel via which she shares her reflections and impressions from her travels and from her everyday life as a composer.

An imaginary composer’s home

The concert “Et imaginært komponisthjem. Portrettkonsert av Gesine Sofie Reimers” is premiered on 28 October 2022 in Troldsalen.

The concert presents four works: “Frühlingstraum”, “Vokalise for voice og double bass”, “Concert for triangle and orchestra in a box” and “Dream of Spring”.

The works are performed by five musicians selected by Ahvenniemi herself: Ingeborg Aadland (voice), Knut Christian Jansson (piano), Owen Weaver (percussion), Jutta Morgenstern (violin), and Callum Jennings (double bass).

This year’s composer in residence has composed not just new music but also a new composer. In addition to the homes of Edvard Grieg, Ole Bull and Harald Sæverud, Kode has now become aware of a fourth composer’s home: that of Gesine Sofie Reimers.

Who was Gesine Sofie Reimers? She was a playful, experimental and oppositional composer. She was deeply serious about the professional traditions that shaped her while simultaneously adapting them to suit her own needs and whims.

“As a character, Reimers has been compared with Pippi Longstocking. Rather than feel intimidated by authorities, she confronts them with playfulness, intelligence and a pinch of irony,” Ahvenniemi says.

“Her musical personality could be seen as a challenge to the classical understanding of the composer as a master. She was unpretentious and never impressive for the sake of being impressive. She appealed directly to the humanity in her audience.”

About the films

This portrait is part of a series of video productions entitled “Follow the work”, the project that supplied updates about Plagge, our previous composer in residence.

Camera and editing: Paul Johannessen

Producers for Kode: Maria Tripodianos and Anette Basso