In Memoriam: Teppo Hauta-aho

Teppo Hauta-aho

Double bassist and composer Teppo Hauta-aho has died. He was 80 years old.

Hauta-aho was born in Janakkala, Finland in 1941. He studied double bass at the Sibelius Academy from 1963 to 1970 under the tutelage of Orvo Hyle and Oiva Nummelin. It was during that time he joined the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, later becoming a member of the Finnish National Opera Orchestra. He also worked as a jazz bassist in the 1970s, however, he is best known for his compositions for bass.

He wrote over 300 works for bass, making him one of the most prolific composers for the instrument of our times. His pieces span genres and skill ranges, appealing to most double bass players. His work, Kadenza, is one of his most popular and is often used as a required piece for competitions.

Watch Dominik Wagner perform “Kadenza”:

“As a composer, Teppo Hauta-aho has always been his own teacher, basing his technical knowledge on his wide practical musicianship as an orchestral player, chamber and jazz musician. It would not be an exaggeration to claim that he was the jazz bassist most in demand in Finland in the 1970s, and a few of his works are pure jazz compositions,” writes Finnish composer Harry Wessman. “But the compositional techniques and musical means used in the majority of his works originate in an unusual openness for any devices. Along with modern techniques, his source of inspiration includes all the previous stylistic periods in European music, impulses from Oriental music, and, of course, jazz. His own instrument, the double bass, has profited especially from his rich inventiveness in finding new means to conjure forth unusual sounds from the instrument, and in applying them in an artistically meaningful and striking way.”

Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Teppo Hauta-aho.

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