Aho received his first violin lessons at the age of 10 years; from this period his first compositions. Aho studied at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki and violin at Einojuhani Rautavaara composition. In 1971 he received his diploma. There followed a year of study with Boris Blacher in Berlin. 1974 Aho received a scholarship from the Léonie Sonning Music Foundation. From 1974 to 1988 Aho was a lecturer in musicology at the University of Helsinki from 1988 to 1993 he held a professorship at the Sibelius Academy held. From 1992 to 2001 he was composer in residence of the Lahti Symphony, he has been since 2011 " honor composer " of the orchestra. Aho, who lives in Helsinki, since 1993 as a freelance composer.
From 1994 to 2012, he received a number of state tax-free grants, which paid a monthly amount was designed so that the cost of living were covered. The scholarships were bound in return. Upon reaching 63 years of age - for Aho in March 2012 - went out the scholarship.
1990 Aho was awarded the Henrik Steffens Prize Lübeck, in 2000 he was awarded for his contribution to the musical life of Finland, the Order Pro Finlandia.
Kalevi Aho 2008/09 was chairman of the jury of the 2nd International Uuno Klami composition competition. Members of the jury were the composer Anders Eliasson, Magnus Lindberg and the conductor Yasuo Shinozaki .. Also 2013/14 leads the composer president of the jury of the 3rd International Uuno Klami composition competition. Jury members are Magnus Lindberg, Erkki -Sven Tüür and Yasuo Shinozaki.
Aho is known primarily as a composer of large orchestral works and wrote 16 symphonies so far ( the 16th was 2013/14 ), 20 also instrumental concertos, 4 operas and vocal works, as well as numerous compositions for chamber ensemble. The breakthrough as a composer came to him with his Symphony No. 1 (1969 ) and the String Quartet No. 3 (1971). The works of this period show alongside influences from Shostakovich and neoclassical features. Later he turned to a polystylistic, post-modern way of composing. Its partly ironic contrast of moods and styles led to comparisons with Gustav Mahler and Alfred Schnittke.
Numerous works Ahos are in CD recordings, the orchestral works primarily under the direction of Osmo Vänskä. Kalevi Aho's compositional oeuvre appears at the Swedish label BIS.
- Avain / The Key ( 1977-78 ). Dramatic monologue for baritone and chamber orchestra. Kalevi Aho libretto in collaboration with Juha Mannerkorpi after its eponymous monologue, UA: September 4, 1979 ( German premiere entitled The Birthday in Hamburg ( Hamburg State Opera ), on 4 November 1982)
- Hyönteiselämää / insect life ( 1985-87 ). Opera in 2 acts. Libretto by the composer after the play Ze života hmyzu / From the Life of Insects by Josef Čapek Karel Čapek and, UA: September 27, 1996
- Salaisuuksien kirja / The Book of Secrets (1998). Opera in one act and four scenes. Libretto: Paavo Rintala and Kalevi Aho, UA: July 15, 2000
- Ennen kuin me kaikki olemme hukkuneet / Before we all have drowned (1995 /1999). Kalevi Aho libretto based on the eponymous play by Juha Mannerkorpi, UA: February 8, 2001 ( German translation by Dietrich Assmann and Kalevi Aho German language premiere on February 8, 2002 at Theater Lübeck, published by the Theater Lübeck, 2001 /. .. 02, editing and design: Swantje Köhnecke )
- Frida y Diego (2012-13 ). Opera in 4 acts. Libretto ( in Spanish) by Maritza Nuñez based on details of the biographies of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. UA: October 17, 2014 Musiikkitalo (Helsinki Music Centre )
- Symphony No. 1 (1969 ), WP: Feb 18th 1971.
- Symphony No. 2 (1970/1995), UA: April 17, 1973.
- Symphony No. 3 for Violin and Orchestra ( Sinfonia Concertante No. 1) ( 1971-73 ), UA: February 20, 1975
- Symphony No. 4 ( 1972-73 ), UA 12 March 1974.
- Symphony No. 5 ( 1975-76 ), UA: April 19. 1977.
- Symphony No. 6 ( 1979-80 ), UA: March 13, 1980.
- Symphony No. 7 (1988 ), UA: October 26, 1988.
- Symphony No. 8 for organ and orchestra (1993 ), WP: August 4, 1994.
- Symphony No. 9 for Trombone and Orchestra ( Sinfonia Concertante No. 2) ( 1993-94 ), UA: September 2, 1994.
- Symphony No. 10 (1996 ), UA 6 February 1997.
- Symphony No. 11 for 6 percussionists and orchestra ( 1997-98 ), UA March 9. 2000.
- Symphony No. 12 ( Luosto Symphony; Luosto Symphony) for symphony orchestra, chamber orchestra, 10 off-stage musicians (drums and brass ) and two soloists (soprano and tenor ) ( 2002-2003), UA: Luosto, Lapland, August 16 2003
- Symphony No. 13 Sinfonisia luonnekuvia ( Symphonic characterizations ) (2003 ), UA: 17 March 2005.
- Symphony No. 14 Rituaaleja ( rituals ) for Darabuka, djembe, gongs and chamber orchestra (2007 ), WP: November 27, 2007 (see Concerto for viola and chamber orchestra or Kysymysten kirja The symphony is the third and final part of a concert [. s] for chamber orchestra. Suite for mezzo- soprano and chamber orchestra Kysymysten kirja / Book of Questions and the Concerto for viola and chamber orchestra played without a break. Each of the three works may be listed separately. )
- Symphony No. 15 (2009-2010), UA: March 26, 2011.
- Symphony No. 16 for 60 Strings, 4 percussionists and mezzo- soprano ( 2013-2014 ), text: " The Travellers" ( Gertrud Kolmar ), UA. September 2015 The title of the 5 sentences ( I. The walking streets, II A tip of this world, III. blinded by desire, IV Wide stray images; V. The Travellers) are taken from the poem Gertrud Kolmar.
- Chamber Symphony No. 1 for 20 strings ( 1976), UA: August 22, 1976.
- Chamber Symphony No. 2 for 20 Strings ( 1991-92 ), UA: February 9, 1992.
- Chamber Symphony No. 3 for Alto Saxophone and 20 Strings ( 1995-96 ), UA: August 26, 1997.
- Concerto for Violin and Orchestra ( 1981), UA: September 29, 1982.
- ( 1 ) Concerto for cello and orchestra ( 1983-84 ), UA: September 1, 1984.
- Concerto for Piano and Orchestra ( Piano Concerto No.1 ) ( 1988-89 ), UA: August 29, 1990.
- Concerto for Tuba and Orchestra (2000-2001), UA: August 10, 2001.
- Concerto per pianoforte ed orchestra d' archi ( Concerto for Piano and String Orchestra Piano Concerto No. 2. ) ( 2001-2002), UA: June 29, 2003.
- Concerto for Flute and Orchestra ( 2002), UA: 27 November 2003.
- Concerto for 2 Cellos and Orchestra (2003), UA 5 May 2004.
- Concerto for Bassoon and Orchestra ( 2004), UA: 12 October 2005.
- Concerto for contrabassoon and orchestra (2004-2005), UA: 23 February 2006.
- Concerto for Double Bass and Orchestra ( 2005), UA: December 6, 2005.
- Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra ( 2005), UA: April 22, 2006.
- Concerto for viola and chamber orchestra (2006 ), WP: November 27, 2007 (see Symphony No. 14 and Kysymysten kirja )
- Concerto for Oboe and Orchestra ( 2007), UA: April 11, 2008.
- Kellot / bells - Concerto for Saxophone Quartet and Orchestra ( 2008), UA: April 23, 2009.
- Concerto for Trombone and Orchestra (2010), UA: 2nd March 2012.
- Sieidi / Place of Worship / Holy Mountain - Concerto for Percussion and Orchestra ( 2010), UA 18 April 2012
- Concerto for Trumpet and Concert Band (2011), UA: 30 March 2012.
- Concerto for Horn and Chamber Orchestra (2011 ), WP: January 26, 2012.
- Kahdeksan vuodenaikaa / Eight Seasons - Concerto for Theremin and Chamber Orchestra (2011), UA: October 11, 2012
- 2 Concerto for Cello and Orchestra (2013 ), WP: June 2014.
Orchestral Works (selection)
- Hiljaisuus / Silence ( 1982), UA: October 9, 1985.
- Pergamon for 4 orchestra groups, 4 reciters and Organ, (1990 ), WP: September 1, 1990 [ text passages from Peter Weiss: The Aesthetics of Resistance ) The composition was commissioned for the University of Helsinki for the 350- year anniversary of the University; the text comes, in the main the beginning of The Aesthetics of Resistance and used two more sets ( "We are looking into a prehistory back ... " or " you, their subjects ...") from before the end of the first paragraph. Read The four reciters, the three excerpts simultaneously in four languages: German, Finnish, Swedish and Greek ].
- Syvien vesien Juhla. Fantasia orkesterille (. Celebration of the deep water fantasy for orchestra ) ( 1995), UA: 1 November 1995.
- Kiinalaisia lauluja / Chinese songs; Texts: Li Qingzhao, Chinese李清照lǐ Qingzhao and Li Yu, Chinese李渔lǐ Yu, in Finnish translation from the Chinese of Pertti Nieminen ) (1997 ), WP: November 26, 1997
- Tristia. Fantasy Band (1999)
- Sinfonisia tansseja. Hommage à Uuno Klami / Symphonic Dances (2001 ), WP: December 6, 2001
- Louhi (2003), UA: 13 November 2003.
- Kysymysten kirja / The Book of Questions. Suite for mezzo- soprano and chamber orchestra; Texts: Pablo Neruda in Finnish translation from Spanish original El libro de las preguntas Katja Kallio ) (2006 ), WP: November 27, 2007 (see Symphony No. 14 and Viola Concerto )
- Lamu. Space music for 10 trumpets, 4 horns, 2 baritones and 2 tubas (2008), UA: April 18, 2008.
- Minea - Concertante Music for Orchestra (2008 ), WP: November 5, 2009.
- Historiallisia kuvia / images from the history of chamber ensembles and chamber orchestra ( 2009), UA: October 2, 2009.
- Gejia. Chinese Images for Orchestra (2012), UA: March 17, 2013.
Chamber Music (Selection)
- String Quartet No. 2 (1970 )
- String Quartet No. 3 (1971 )
- Quartet for flute, alto saxophone, guitar and percussion ( 1982), UA: October 1, 1982.
- Kimasen lento / Kimanens flight for string quartet (1998)
- Ballade for Flute, Violoncello, Bassoon and Piano ( 1999)
- HAHE for 4 Cellos (2008)
- ARS for 4 Cellos (2012 )
- EAREGBERG for 4 Cellos (2013 )
- ERA for 4 Cellos (2013 )
- Quintet for oboe and string quartet (1973 ), UA July 2. 1974.
- Quintet for bassoon and string quartet (1977 ), WP: January 16, 1978.
- Quintet for flute, oboe, violin, viola and cello ( 1977), UA: March 24, 1983.
- Quintet for alto saxophone, bassoon, viola, cello and double bass (1994 ), WP: December 7, 1994.
- Seven Inventions with Postlude for oboe and cello (1986/1998)
- Quintet for Clarinet and String Quartet (1998), UA 23 July 1999.
- Three Tangos for Violin, accordion, guitar, piano and double bass (1999)
- Quintet for flute, violin, two violas and cello (2000), UA July 21. 2000.
- Quintet for Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon and Horn ( 2006), UA: March 12, 2006.
- Quintet for 2 violins, viola and two cellos. Hommage à Schubert ( 2009), UA July 7, 2009.
- Quintet for oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn and piano (2013 ), WP: 2014.
- Viisi bagatellia / Five Bagatelles for flute, cello and piano (2000)
- Trio for Clarinet, Viola and Piano ( 2006)
- Sonata for Oboe and Piano ( 1985)
- Sonata for 2 accordions ( 1989 version of the Sonata for Accordion No.1)
- Epilog for trumpet and organ ( 1998)
- Lamento for 2 violins or violas, 2 (2001)
- Quasi una fantasia for Horn and Organ ( 2011)
Works for solo instruments (selection)
- Solo I, for Violin ( 1975)
- Solo II, for piano (1985 )
- Solo III, for flute ( 1990-91 )
- Solo IV, for cello ( 1997)
- Solo V, for bassoon (1999)
- Solo VI, for double bass (1999)
- Solo VII for Trumpet (2000)
- Solo VIII, for Euphonium (2003)
- IX Solo, for oboe (2010, UA: June 22, 2011)
- Solo X, Horn (2010)
- Solo XI for guitar (2013 )
- Ludus Solemnis for organ (1978 )
- In memoriam for Organ ( 1980)
- Kolme Interludia / Three Interludes for Organ ( 1993)
- Everything is transitory. Symphony for Organ ( 2007), UA: June 25, 2009.
Vocal Works (selection)
- Lasimaalaus / lead glass for female choir (1974 ) Text: Aila Meriluoto
- Kolme laulua elämästä / Three Songs of Life for tenor and piano (1977 ), Text: Raimo Lehmonen
- Veet välkkyy taas for male choir (1992 ) Text: Viljo Kojo
- Mysteerio for female choir (1994 ) Text: Maritza Nuñez
- Ilo yes epäsymmetria / Joy and asymmetry, Suite for mixed choir (1996 ) Text: Mirkka Rekola
- Kiinalaisia lauluja / Chinese Songs for soprano and orchestra (1997), texts of ancient Chinese poet, Finnish translation: Pertti Nieminen (see " Orchestral Works " )
- Kolme Bert Randin monologia / Three monologues of Bertrand for baritone and orchestra (1998), Text: Paavo Rintala and Kalevi Aho
- Kysymysten kirja / Book of Questions for mezzo- soprano and chamber orchestra (2006), Text: Pablo Neruda, Finnish translation: Katja Kallio (see " Orchestral Works " )
- Kolme Mawlana Rumin runoa / Three Poems of Mawlana Rumi for mixed choir (2010 ) Text: Mawlana Rumi, translation Finnish: Jaakko Hämeen - Anttila
Orchestrations, arrangements, etc. (selection)
- Modest Mussorgsky: Songs and Dances of Death for bass and orchestra ( orchestrated 1984)
- Uuno Klami: Act 1 of the ballet Pyörteitä / eddy ( orchestrated 1988)
- Jean Sibelius: Karelia ( reconstructed and completed in 1997 )
- Johann Sebastian Bach: The Art of Fugue: Contrapunctus XIV ( completion of the work in three versions: for organ, version for saxophone quartet, version for strings; 2011)