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SEISHIN for wind orchestra and percussion by Juha T. Koskinen (Finland, 1972)

[#190] March 13, 2023

2022 | Wind Orchestra | Grade 6 | 10'-15' | Contemporary

Finnish composer Juha T. Koskinen

Seishin, by Finnish composer Juha T. Koskinen is our Composition of the Week.

Written in 2010 and revised in 2022, Seishin was commissioned by Musica Nova Helsinki in commemoration of his fellow countryman Erik Bergman (1911 – 2006) in the occasion of his 100 years Jubilee.

The work was premiered on February 10, 2011, in Helsinki, Finland, by the Guard’s Band, Sami Hannula conducting.

The revised version of 2022 was premiered in Nagoya, Japan, on January 18, 2023, by the Aichi University of Arts Wind Orchestra under Yuri Nitta.

“Sleep, birds and dawn are recurring themes in many of Erik Bergman’s compositions […] Seishin (‘the sound of the mind/heart’) for wind orchestra and percussion continues Bergman’s exploration of themes close to his heart, taking as its point of departure the poem by Kukai (774-835), the founder of Japanese Shingon Buddhism. In it, a monk sitting in his hut on a sacred mountain hears a strange bird call at dawn. In the end, he is not sure whether the bird’s voice comes from the forest or from the recesses of his own mind. The final lines of the poem could tell us something essential, both about the bright melody of Erik’s music and about the aspirations of my own work: The sound, stream, clouds, and mind diffuse brightly in the morning rays.” (Program Notes by Juha T. Koskinen)

Seishin has a duration of 15 minutes. It is scored for a standard wind ensemble setting. The 4 percussion parts include: 2 Tom-toms, Log Drum, Conga, Bass Drum, 3 Suspended Cymbals, 3 Tamtams, 6 Gongs, Crotales, Marimba, Tubular Bells, Claves, Temple Blocks and Cabasa. Seishin, in its 2022 version, is available on rental at Fennica Gehrman, Finland.

“As a composer, Juha T. Koskinen is interested in timbre and concepts of time. Kimmo Korhonen describes his style as Expressionist or Post-Serialist. Jan Lehtola notes that his works study the counterpoint of time and movement. “Small motifs tend to grow into kaleidoscopic variations that govern the overall shape of the piece,” Lehtola writes. Koskinen’s output includes both instrumental and vocal music, and several chamber operas. He takes a broad interest in literature, philosophy (particularly Oriental) and other branches of the arts.” (Music Finland, Composers and Repertoire)

Juha T. Koskinen studied composition at the Sibelius Academy in 1990-98 with Kalevi Aho, Anders Eliasson, Paavo Heininen and Kaija Saariaho, and in Lyon under Philippe Manoury, Gilbert Amy and Philippe Schoeller. He also spent a year studying at IRCAM, Paris in 1999-2000. Koskinen has taught composition at the Aichi University of Arts as a visiting professor since 2016.

Koskinen has composed operas, orchestral works, music for chamber ensembles and several solo pieces. He is regarded modernist, and, in his music, he seeks colors and sound worlds, and explores time, movement and counterpoint.


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