3 Questions for Composer Olli Kortekangas

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On August 3, 2014 I'll be singing at Central Lutheran Church in Minneapolis and it will be the World Premiere of "Kaksi vanhaa suomalaista virttä - Two Old Finnish Hymns" by Finnish composer Olli Kortekangas.

This is pretty exciting...well, actually it's thrilling!Composer Olli Kortekangas

I'm happy to introduce you to him! Here are 3 questions for Olli Kortekangas.


1. Who are you, Olli Kortekangas?

I'm 59 years old, and I've been writing music seriously since I was a teenager. I studied at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki under the guidance of Einojuhani Rautavaare, and later in (West) Berlin where my teacher was Dieter Schnebel. I taught at the Sibelius Academy and elsewhere for about 20 years myself, but since 2002 I've been a freelance composer, giving a master class or a workshop now and then. I'm particularly interested in the "common territory" of composing and music education, and have participated in or led numerous creative music projects with children, youth and amateur musicians in Finland and abroad.

A couple of years ago, my colleagues and I launched the "Finnish variation" of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra's "Very Young Composers" program.


2. What music have you written?

I've written about 130 works so far for a wide variety of line-ups from solo pieces and chamber music to orchestral works and operas. I'm fascinated by (or maybe obsessed with...) the interaction between words and music - writing for the voice (songs, choral music, operas) is said to be my forte which is probably true. I've written seven operas, and choral works form a major part of my output.

My latest works include Seven Songs for Planet Earth, commissioned by the Choral Arts Society of Washington and the Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra (Finland), and Migrations, a cantata to poems by the brilliant Duluth-based poet Sheila Packa, commissioned by the Minnesota Orchestra in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of Finnish immigration to North America. Migrations is scheduled for performance during the 2015-16 season.


3. What can you tell us about "Kaksi vanhaa suomalaista virttä - Two Old Finnish Hymns"?

The Two Old Finnish Hymns are based on our so-called "Old Hymn Book" of 1701 which was used in Finland for nearly two centuries. I love this book and its hymns which are really powerful - archaic for sure, and sometimes not so easily perceived, also because of the language and its often outdated and shortened words. I've used these melodies and texts in several of my works.

The melody of the second hymn, Herra siunaa meit' ja auta (which is a variation of the classical Benediction - "Lord, bless us and help us") is very special: it is a traditional variant of the original melody, sung to me in 2000 by Mr. Arvi Ruuttunen (who was a farmer and a folk singer, and as it happens, the father of Mr. Esa Ruuttunen, a good friend of mine, who is both a Lutheran pastor and one of the most distinguished Finnish bass-baritones). I knew the text but I had never heard this melody. I think this is an interesting story!


Learn more at Olli's website at ollikortekangas.com and we'll see you in Minneapolis on August 3!

Featured in WE Magazine for Women

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WE Magazine, "Inspiring Women in Business and in Life"

WE Magazine, an online magazine for women, featured me back in April of this year. Their section "Women on the Move" features women under 35 who have their own businesses, are creating a name for themselves, and are role models for other women.

There are loads of free audio programs, resources, and articles for any woman entrepreneur, especially those of you who are spiritually minded.

Read the article about me in "Women on the Move" here, and check out the site and the dozens of free resources.



Talking about Domestic Violence on the Kathleen Dunn Show - WPR

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Last week I was honored to be a guest on the Kathleen Dunn Show on Wisconsin Public Radio (oh, a happy Sconnie am I!)  for Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Carmen Pitre, Director of the Sojourner Family Peace Center in Milwaukee, WI, was Ms Dunn's guest on the show for the same hour. The Sojourner Family Peace Center is a 42+ bed shelter in Milwaukee with confidential support groups. They've even developed a Healthy Relationship Test, which you can read here. Carmen was so forthright, so calm, and so informative, a true advocate for DV awareness and for change in personal relationships.

We talked about recognizing red flags, awareness of violence in relationships, and I talked about my own personal experience surviving and getting out of a violent relationship. In light of the recent Brookfield, Wisconsin shooting, this conversation is more timely than ever. And based on the calls that came in during that hour, this conversation needs to continue.

Thank you so very much to everyone at WPR that made this happen, it is so important.

CLICK HERE to listen to the broadcast(this link opens directly to the player). If you prefer, you can download the broadcast to listen later by visiting the Kathleen Dunn Audio Archive page and finding the link to the October 24, 2012, 9:00 am show.


Music for Domestic Violence Awareness--Red Jumpsuit Apparatus

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Thanks to the magic of Pandora, this song showed up on my main channel and I was pretty astonished to hear the lyrics

Do you feel like a man when you push her around?
Do you feel better now as she falls to the ground?
Well I'll tell you my friend, one day this world's going to end
as your lies crumble down, a new life she has found.

It's pretty impressive. And they even raised funds for the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Rock. On.

Takes a real man--know what I mean?


Listen to it on iTunes Radio:  Face Down - The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus


Or buy it on Amazon.com:


I am 4 and Free. August 26, 2012: Blackbird by The Beatles

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I am 4 today. It's my 4th 2nd Birthday today. I celebrate the day I left my ex-"husband" as my 2nd Birthday, because without having done what I did, I would not have my second chance. Those magical concerts in South America would have been different, those songs might not be on iTunes, and you wouldn't be reading this growing website right now.

I gave up a faux-marriage, gave up the lies I was believing, gave up friends who were anything but, gave up my fear of being the first divorced person in my family, gave up my second home, my growing business, and I gave up being emotionally and psychologically tortured by the person who was supposed to love me kindly, respectfully, and deeper than anyone else.

I am free.

Enjoy a bit of The Beatles. "All your life, you were only waiting for this moment to be free..."

"Blackbird, fly...."

Blackbird - The Beatles (White Album)

How Divorce Made Me Stronger (and Smarter: 6 Lessons Gleaned)

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(...and it made me a better singer, too!)

The blog DivorcedBefore30 published a guest blog post of mine recently; and as a divorced singer, I have to say that most of these lessons are as personal as they are professional.


I secretly left my abusive ex-husband and fled a foreign country that had been my home for five years. I knew I couldn’t stay and that was the only way I knew I had to leave. I was alone, penniless, terrified,
and getting a divorce at 29. I had hit rock bottom and it was only up from there…but not the way that I thought was up. It was life’s way up.

#1: It’s up to you to take care of yourself. Tina Fey said it best in Bossypants: Tina Fey's Bossypants People will try to fool you. My naiveté had increased during the brainwashing from my ex and I actually believed that
handsome colleague was genuinely interested in me. He wasn’t. I thought the lady who hired me was going to follow through on her big plans. She didn’t. I began tuning into reality, which was what people
were doing, not what they were saying.

#2 Speak up! If you’re going to regret not saying something, you better well learn how to....

READ THE REST at DivorcedBefore30.com