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Veli Kujala


Veli Kujala gained his Master of Music degree at the Sibelius Academy in 2004 with highest honors. He is a prize-winner of many international soloist and concert accordion competitions, including first prize in the International Lasse Pihlajamaa Competition in Tampere 2001 and fourth prize in the International Gaudeamus Competition for interpreters of new music in Rotterdam 2001. As a composer he has been awarded among others the second prize and the public prize in the international organ composition contest “Catedral del Buen Pastor de Donostia-San Sebastian” 2007, the first prize in the composition contest organized by Espoo International Piano Week 2007 and public prize in Brussels Jazz Orchestra’s international composition contest 2003. In Autumn 2010 he completed his Doctor of Music -degree from Veli Kujala the Sibelius-Academy, which focused in Finnish contemporary music for accordion.

Veli Kujala has performed as a soloist with ensembles including Avanti! Chamber Orchestra, Gävle Symphony Orchestra, Insomnio, Lahti Symphony Orchestra, Lapland Chamber Orchestra, Orkiestra Muzyki Nowej, the Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra, the Tapiola Sinfonietta, the Västerås Sinfonietta with conductors such as Stefan Asbury, Szymon Bywalec, Hannu Koivula, Ari Rasilainen, Dmitri Slobodeniouk and John Storgårds. He works also as a jazz musician in many ensembles including brazilian influenced Pipoka, eclectic jazz group Gourmet and free jazz oriented K-18. He has performed in numerous festivals in many European countries and in the USA. As an arranger he has worked with the Finnish National Opera and in many different music theatre productions. His compositions have been performed in Finland, Germany, Poland, Belgium and Japan by among others organists Susanne Kujala, Ville Urponen and pianist Izumi Tateno.

Veli Kujala has worked together with contemporary composers and premiered accordion concertos by Pekka Pohjola and Markus Fagerudd and a double concerto for violoncello and accordion by Olli Virtaperko. The collaboration between composer Sampo Haapamäki and Veli Kujala has led into an invention of a new instrument, a quarter tone accordion. Haapamäki’s concerto for this instrument entitled “Velinikka” was premiered by Veli Kujala and Insomnio in Amsterdam in September 2008. German composer Joachim F.W. Schneider wrote a double concerto for quarter tone accordion, accordion and chamber orchestra, which was premiered in 2011. Veli Kujala has also premiered many solo and chamber works by Kalevi Aho, Friedrich Goldmann, Pasi Lyytikäinen, Uljas Pulkkis, Osmo Tapio Räihälä, Tomi Räisänen, Vesa Valkama, Olli Virtaperko, Matthew Whittall and Helmut Zapf.

Since 2005 Veli Kujala has been teacher of concert accordion and improvisation at the Sibelius-Academy.