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“ Ilari Laakso’s Häivä glows with Spanish colouring, sometimes expansively, sometimes acerbically. It is not a picture postcard, but a tightly constructed and logical work.” (Harri Hautala on pianist Ville Hautakankas’s concert at Tampere Hall, Aamulehti 8.3.2019)



“ The concert opened with a commissioned work, Paseo Maritimo, by Ilari Laakso, who has long been an influential figure in the development of Finnish music education, including in Tampere. In this symphonic poem, Laakso takes fully into account the skills and needs of young musicians and the associated pedagogical dimensions.

" Opening with a rumble of percussion and dark themes from the double basses, the work contains broad lines and static soundscapes, but also a treatment of melodic and rhythmic material in the style of a stroll along a promenade – with pauses, new beginnings, moods, colours, and lights.” (Kirsti Holmberg on the concert of the Pirkanmaa Youth Symphony Orchestra conducted by Erkki Lasonpalo at Tampere Hall, Aamulehti 31.10.2017)



“ The performance included the premiere of Okra by Ilari Laakso, one of the two artistic directors of the Biennale. Composed in Benin, the start of Okra could be seen as a battle between long lines and jagged fragments. In the middle movements, a deliberately banal waltz theme takes the work into a world of postmodern irony.” (Vesa Sirén on the Chilingirian Quartet’s concert at the Tampere Biennale, Helsingin Sanomat 5.4.2004)



“ Tallella siellä’ is based on Mikael Nyberg’s song ‘Paimenpoika’. The beautiful melodic section is strong and touching in its simplicity. It is effectively contrasted with the rhythmic middle section. Eija Kankaanranta, kantele, Pekka Ahonen, clarinet, and Lauri Voipio, cello, played Laakso’s attractive work, listening to each other, and with attention to balance.” (Kirsti Vanninen, on the ‘Tallella siellä’ movement of the composition Kaksi katsetta, Aamulehti 18.3.2006)



... “whereas the bell-like sonorities of the arch-shaped, atmospheric Im of Ilari Laakso rather bring Busoni or Enescu to mind.” (Martin Anderson in FMQ 2007, on pianist Tuomas Mali`s recording of Im)



“ Ilari Laakso’s Kohtaamisia pianistille ja tanssijalle was premiered at the concert. Starting with the simplest of ingredients, and evoking a sense of searching, the work was suffused with tension from the first ethereal notes.

‘Pax de deux’ breathed a sense of neoclassical movement, while in ‘Hiljaisuus’ beautiful echo effects could be heard. ‘Rukous’ enclosed performers and listeners in protective wings through the evocation of a spiritual melody.” (Kirsti Holmberg, Aamulehti 16.4.2011)


“ Laakso has turned Melleri’s texts into modern vocal music that is dissonant enough to resemble the poet, yet catchy enough to remind us of Melleri’s ability to captivate his readers.” (Tero Hautamäki in Ilkka-Pohjalainen on the concert by mezzo-soprano Ulla Raiskio and pianist Jyrki Lähteenmäki in Seinäjoki, 13 November 2012)

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