Finnish composer Lauri Supponen is enjoying the heat of the Eternal City. This is his first time at Circolo, where he applied after being recommended the place by another composer friend. During his two-month-stay he has been working on two different projects. The first being a piece for solo violin where the commissioner Eerikka Maalismaa came to Rome for a week to work together with Supponen. The intensive and inspiring week was successful and they were able to host a 20 minute demo presentation to present the progress.
The second project is an electroacoustic audio guide for the Kaivos festival, set in an old mine in Outokumpu, Finland. For this project he worked together with dramaturgist Klaus Lumi Maunuksela, who also came to Rome to work with Supponen. The project opening on September 8th will give the audience a possibility to move around mine area with an audio guide in their ears. The full programme of the festival was published earlier this week (https://kaivosfestivaali.fi/ ).
Photo: Veikko Kähkönen
Working in Rome and Circolo has been productive for Supponen, even if he claims that "Sometimes you just need to waste a day. Or two.". Everyone around you is also working and there is a good balance between work and play. The facilities for writing music are ideal to Supponen, who needs a desk and a pen, with the occasional visit to the piano. A quote from a friend about working in a residency, that "it's great to have air space on top of your head" makes so much more sense to Supponen now, as he feels the high ceilings gives him more, physical room to concentrate. The busy, loud and lively environment outside can be a challenge, even though he enjoys being in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the city.
The best part about Rome according to Supponen is that you can learn the drinking and eating rituals here just by observing the locals. He also says that he hasn't eaten and drank this well (and healthy!) in a long time, a good counterbalance for the Scandi food and drink culture. The city is also very well connected to the rest of Italy, the arts, churches, the sea, ice cream, coffee... One of the highlights of his stay has been playing a piano owned by Frank Liszt, located in the Finnish Institute, Villa Lante. The worst part about Rome are the motorcycles. Why do they have to be so loud? Fortunately, it's very quiet between 03-05.00 in the morning. Supponen recommends Rome visitors to go to districts they have never heard of before and enjoy the local culture there, you might learn something!
If you ever visit Finland, the composer suggests you visit a city not usually recommended in tourist guides, Lahti. The city is a good combination of cosy cafés by the water and endless amounts of forest behind the ski jumping towers. There's nothing as "mountainous" as Lahti in the Southern part of Finland – you'd need to go to Lapland to find more. The city is a perfect daytrip away from Helsinki and it's getting friendlier for vegans as well, even though they are more known for their meaty snacks. Finish the evening with a concert in the beautiful Sibelius concert hall, located by the water, and your day is complete.