Biography

Rebecka Sofia Ahvenniemi (b. 1982) is a composer and philosopher based in Bergen. She was born in Finland, but moved to Norway in 2004.

In many of her compositions Rebecka has applied concepts like breath and articulation, and focused on a gestural or timbral quality of the sound. This applies both to vocal and instrumental works.

In the recent years she has engaged in a wide exploration of contextual thinking around musical composition, and the rituals that are present wherever music is engaged. In many of her works she challenges the romantic view of the autonomy of a musical work, reflecting how the society is already present when the music is made. While contextual critique of art music often focuses on other elements around music, such as performance practice, or analysis of already finished works, Rebecka wishes to explore how, even within the conservative field of composition, valuable critique may be raised from within the field, through choices of compositional strategies and contextualising thought. She forwards ideas such as “dumpster diving”, “fighting authenticity”, and “embracing guilty pleasures in music”.

Most of Rebecka’s music is written score music, often combining acoustic instruments with electronic elements. In addition, she has composed several acousmatic works for spatialised surround sound, using Ambisonics as a tool.

Rebecka also engages in issues concerning gender equality. In 2017 she started the project «Nye stemmer» in Bergen, which offers seminars and tutoring for women who want to compose professionally. In addition, Rebecka teaches at the Grieg Academy.

Rebecka was the board member of the Norwegian Society of Composers from 2013 to 2018, and Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra since 2016. She was also a member of the committee of “Musikere og musikkensembler” in Arts Council Norway from 2016 to 2017, and the leader of this committee in 2018. Today she is the board leader of the Bergen based concert series Avgarde.

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Key interests: Music, language, epistemology, voice, body, critical theory, repressive structures and mechanisms of the society, gender equality, nature, the “other”

Key composers, writers, and thinkers: Salvatore Sciarrino, Kaija Saariaho, György Ligeti, Luigi Nono, John Cage, Beat Furrer, Henry Purcell, Hildegard von Bingen, Theodor W. Adorno, Martin Heidegger, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Martin Buber, Hermann Hesse, Charlotte Brontë, Arnfinn Bø-Rygg, Arild Linneberg, Edith Södergran, Karin Boye, Vibeke Tellmann, Lydia Goehr