Composer Esa Pietilä

“Esa Pietilä is known as a fearless musical visionary. His repertory is extremely versatile, including collaborations with classical orchestras.  – Finnish Jazz Federation

Composer Esa Pietilä has broadened the image of contemporary music
with jazz. Additionally in his modernistic music he forms different synthesis
of many styles and genres, which tells about his seek for the very essence of
music without any stylistic borders. He has been commissioned to write works
for the Avanti! Chamber Orchestra, Zagros Ensemble, Tampere Raw, Osuma ensemble, UMO Jazz Orchestra and others, and has also written music for solo instruments, instrumental groups, dance projects and films. In his solo saxophone works, chamber duos and trio projects he has also experimented widely with live-electronics and micro-tonalism. 

 One of his ambitions is also to write new repertoire for his own instrument, the tenor saxophone in generally and especially for the tenor saxophone with different sized orchestras, which he has extensive done already, e.g. his concerto Graffiti Play for tenor saxophone, freejazz trio and orchestra. Such concertos and works has been premiered by conductors Esa-Pekka Salonen , Ville Matvejeff, Hossein Pishkar, Tuomas Turriago and Petri Komulainen to name a few.

Few latest premieres are e.g. Pulses, Waves & Dialoques, a piece for Tenor Saxophone & string orchestra (premiered with St. Mikkeli strings & Pietilä). Blazing Flames for tenor saxophone & string quartet (premiered  by string quartet KAMUS & Pietilä), 2018. In 2016/17 saw light pieces as HUNT! for saxophone & percussion quintet (premiered by Pietilä & Osuma percussion ensemble), Hyperhelium, for chamber sextet & Tenor Saxophone (premiered by Tampere Raw & Pietilä), Brisk, for cello & marimba (premiered by cellist Eeva Rysä & percussionist Kazutata Morita), Uirapuru, for male choir and Tenor saxophone (premiered by Akademiska Sångföreningen & Pietilä), Asterion (2014), performed & commissioned by Zagros ensamble with Pietilä, a solo piano piece Three Strides of Light (premiered by Risto-Matti Marin).

2019 & 2020 presented premieres of SaturnFantasy for tenor saxophone & church organ (premiered by Pétur Sakari & Pietilä) and Fata Morgana for harpsichord solo (premiered by Assi Karttunen)

Scores available from Fennica Gehrman & Musicfinland

List of works:

For orchestra:

  • Kairos Ludus – Double concerto for violin, tenor saxophone and orchestra, 35´ (2018). Fennica Gehrman F.P. 14.2. 2022 with Pekka Kuusisto,  Pietilä, & Jyväskylä Sinfonia

  • Pulses, Waves & Dialoques for tenor saxophone & string orchestra (min. 4-3-2-2-1), 18´, (2017) Fennica Gehrman, F.P 2017 by St. Michel Strings & Pietilä

  • Graffiti Play for contemporary jazz-trio (ts, bs, drs) & chamber orchestra 36´, (fl, picc, ob, cl, cl/bcl, bsn/cbsn, trp in Bb, 2 hn in F, trb, perc, strings (min. 4-4-4-2-1),(2013),Fennica Gehrman, F.P. 2014 by Avanti! chamber orchestra, Esa-Pekka Salonen and Esa Pietilä Trio. Listen samples from the premiere


For chamber ensemble:

  • Blue, Black & Sun (string quartet No. 2), 14:27´, Fennica Gehrman, F.P. feb.2022  
  • Fanfaro for horn quartet, 4:23´, Fennica Gehrman, F.P. TBA
  • Blazing Flames for tenor saxophone & string quartet, 28´, (2018). Fennica Gehrman, F.P. 2018 with KAMUS String quartet & Pietilä

  • Asterion (Pietilä), 18 min., for tenor saxophone & 8-piece chamber group, 18´, (fl, cl/bscl, vl, vla, vlc, cb, hn in F, piano), (2014) Fennica Gehrman, F.P. 2014 with Pietilä & Zagros Ensemble

  • Glow for tenor saxophone, acc., perc & live-electronics, 16´. (2018). Fennica Gehrman, F.P. 2018 with Veli Kujaja (acc), Janne Tuomi (drs & perc.) & Pietilä

  • Hyperhelium for 6-piece chamber group,18´, (fl, cl, vl, vlc, cb, piano) & tenor saxophone,  (2016) Fennica Gehrman, F.P. 2016 by Tampere Raw & Pietilä

  • HUNT! for tenor saxophone & percussion quintet,20´, (bass dr/FX sampler, crot, tam-tam, tenor dr, vib, w.b., t.b., doundoun, met pan, marimba 4.3. oct, marimba 5 oct, drum-set), (2016)  Fennica Gehrman, F.P. 2016 by Osuma percussion ensemble & Pietilä

  • The Wind Wants for woodwind Quintet, 16´, (fl, ob, cl, bsn, hn in F)  (2017) Fennica Gehrman, F.P. TBA

  • Seven In Amazonas for recorder quartet, 18´, (sopr./F bass, tenor, tenor, Sub Bass)  (2018) Fennica Gehrman, F.P. TBA by Bravade Quartet

  • Lake of Clang for saxophone quartet (s-a-t/rec, brs) 12´, (2010) Musicfinland, F.P. 2010

  • Seppo´s Hammer for chamber strings, 20´, (vl 1&2, vla, vc 1&2) & jazz quintet (ts & tp or as & voc, pno, ac bass, drs), (2010) Musicfinland, F.P. 2011

  • People People for voc. (with lyrics), 11´, chamber strings (vl 1&2, vla, vlc) and jazz trio (pno, ac. bass, drs), (2010) Musicfinland, F.P. 2011

  • Mirage, String quartet No. 1., 12´, (vl 1&2, vla, vlc),  (2006) Musicfinland, F.P. 2006 by Zagros string Quartet


For duo:

  • Brisk for cello and marimba,12´, (2016) Fennica Gehrman, F.P. 2016 by Eeva Rysä, vlc & Kazutaka Morita, perc.


For solo:

  • Three Strides of Light for solo piano, 14´, (2009) Fennica Gehrman, F.P. 2018 by Risto-Matti Marin

  • Fire! for tenor saxophone solo 12´, (2018). Fennica Gehrman, F.P. 2018 by Pietilä 

  • Fata Morgana for solo harpsichord, 5:34´, F.P. 2019 by Assi Karttunen

  • House Of Bells for solo piano, 9´, (2006) Musicfinland, F.P. 2006 by Mirka Viitala


For Choir:

  • Uirapuru for tenor saxophone &  male choir (40 voices and up), 11´, (2017) Fennica Gehrman, F.P. 2017 by Akademiska Sångföreningen & Pietilä


For organ & saxophone:

  • Triptych for tenor saxophone & church organ, 18´, Musicfinland, F.P. 2016

  • Saturn – Fantasy for tenor saxophone & church organ, 16´, Fennica Gehrman, F.P. by 2012 by Pétur Sakari & Esa Pietilä


For Big Band:

  • Big Fun for 12- piece jazz ensemble (any instruments), 30´, (2014) Musicfinland F.P. 2014

  • Turms for Big Band, 14å, (2000) Musicfinland F.P. in 2000

  • Labyrinth for Big Band, 9´, Musicfinland F.P. in 2000

  • Code Red for Big Band, 7´, Musicfinland F.P. in 1998

  • Before Moon for Big Band, 7´, (1998) Musicfinland F.P. In 1996

  • Tricks for Big Band, 14´,(1996) Musicfinland F.P. in 1996


  • various works for solo saxophone