Ville Aslak Raasakka (1977-) is a Helsinki-based Finnish composer specialized in ecology. His recent 13 compositions (2016-2023) investigate coal, oil and wood in specific ecological cases in Finland and abroad. His orchestral work gained a recommendation at the Unesco International Rostrum of Composers in 2019.
His works are performed by the Klangforum Wien (Vienna), der/gelbe/klang (Munich), Mise-en Ensemble (New York) and Dal Niente (Chicago) at festivals including Eclat (Stuttgart), Festival Archipel (Geneva), Festival de Royaumont (Paris), the June in Buffalo and the Tage der Neuen Musik Bamberg.
In Finland he has worked with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Avanti! Chamber Orchestra, the Finnish Baroque Orchestra, The Helsinki Chamber Choir, Defunensemble, the Lapland Chamber Orchestra, Tampere Filharmonia, Jyväskylä Sinfonia and soloists and conductors such as Bas Wiegers, Janne Valkeajoki, Saar Berger, Anssi Karttunen, Yumi Suehiro, Risto-Matti Marin, Ville Matvejeff, Livia Schweizer, Eeva Rysä, Kazutaka Morita, Kaisa Kortelainen, Maria Puusaari, Rebecca Tong, Hannu Lintu and John Storgårds.
His current ecological focus is in the formation, extraction, energy use, product use and dispersion of coal, oil and wood. He has recorded and gathered sounds from coal power stations in Finland, coal mines in Pennsylvania, British oil rigs, packaging materials and cosmetics with petrochemical by-products, and forest logging and harvesting in Finland.
Raasakka studied with Veli-Matti Puumala at the Sibelius Academy and privately with Georges Aperghis in Paris. He complemented his studies on master classes with Helmut Lachenmann, Hans Abrahamsen and Georg Friedrich Haas and studied electronic music on the Ircam Summer Courses. He is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in composition at the Sibelius Academy.
He has given guest lectures and presentations on composition at the Hochschule für Musik Karlsruhe, Eastman School of Music, Royal Academy of Music London and the Liszt Academy of Music. He has also taught artistic processes to photography students of the Aalto University and to dramaturgy and stage directing students of the Theatre Academy of the University of the Arts Helsinki.
Being interdisciplinary in nature, his music has been programmed also outside the context of art music concerts: At the Baltic Circle theatre festival, the Flow Festival, and in 2023 at the Helsinki Biennial visual arts festival and at the new contemporary dance centre Dance House Helsinki.
Ville Raasakka is a composition teacher at the Sibelius Academy in the University of the Arts Helsinki, and has additionally held two master courses in composition, in 2018 in Seoul, South Korea and in 2020 in Oulu, Finland. Since 2019 he organizes the Klang Helsinki Concert Series at the Helsinki Music Centre devoted to music composed after the year 2000.
Photo: Quiet / Juha Törmälä