Max Savikangas: Silvertone

October 29, 2022 / ISCM – FINNISH SECTION

Max Savikangas (b. 1969 in Helsinki, Finland) started playing the violin at the age of 6 and piano at the age of 9, but as a teenager chose the viola as his main instrument. The seeds of Savikangas’s compositions often emerge as a result of (instru)mental improvisation, of savouring all kinds of sound events of the world and of tentative computer sound processing experiments. He believes that timbre in contemporary music is equal to melody, harmony and rhythm and it should be understood as an umbrella term, covering all components of a sound event. At best, different hoots, wails, hisses, gushes, whispers, crackles and buzzes are by no means effects or seasoning added afterwards to the music, but they are an organic and sensual part of expression, which is further expanded by the virtual acoustic space created by means of sound processing and amplification. Savigangas received his MMus degree from the Sibelius Academy, Finland in 1998 after extensive studies in composition with Anders Eliasson (SWE), Paavo Heininen, and Olli Kortekangas, in Viola performance with Matti Hirvikangas and Teemu Kupiainen and in music theory and electroacoustic music with Andrew Bentley and Jean-Baptiste Barriere among others. Additional studies included courses in composition with Finnish composers Jukka Tiensuu (FIN), Magnus Lindberg (FIN), Jouni Kaipainen (FIN), Kaija Saariaho (FIN), Jean-Claude Risset (FR), Trevor Wishart (UK), Jonathan Harvey (UK), Denis Smalley (NZ), York Höller (GER), George Crumb (USA), Adriana Hölszky (GER), Alvin Lucier (USA) and performance workshops with violist Maurizio Barbetti (IT) singer and percussionist David Moss (USA), and composer and guitarist John King (USA). Savikangas has composed 116 works of instrumental chamber music, orchestral music, vocal music, electroacoustic music and combinations of these. These works have been played on five continents (in countries including Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Holland, Ireland, Belgium, Hungary, Poland, Switzerland, Austria, Russia, USA, Canada, Australia, Brazil, and South Africa).

Silvertone for oboe and ensemble (2017-18) was commissioned by oboist Keijo Silventoinen. The ensemble for this 15-minute work includes bandoneon, percussion, and a string quintet (2vl, vla, vlc, db). The premiere took place in September 2019 by Lohja City Orchestra with Silventoinen as the soloist.