Release Date: October 11, 2019
Catalog #: RR8021
Format: Digital & Physical
21st Century

Dawn Breaks

Maija Hynninen composer

Welcoming the new day in the world of composer Maija Hynninen is not soft like early morning rays. In DAWN BREAKS, Hynninen does away with the cliches of warmth and comfort in the morning. Performing all of the electronics on this album, Hynninen characterizes everything in her world, presenting soundscapes that are truly unique.

The first track, winnowing, sets the precedent for Hynninen’s vision of the morning by “separating the grain from the chaff.” The composition is comprised of experimental piano descending into an electronic noise collage which contains sound manipulations of nature. The composition was inspired by Hynninen’s observance of the movement of birds, from mating seasons to flocks migrating in autumn and spring. winnowing is followed by …sicut aurora procedit – as dawn breaks. The composition represents a backwards travel through time from the sun sitting high in the sky to the first light of dawn. Composed for violin and electronics, Hynninen plays with the riveting moments of the first rays of light hitting the horizon.

Created for female voice, ensemble, and electronics, Orlando-fragments reflects one’s perception of the world evolving over time. The piece includes four poems written by Henrikka Tavi and inspired by Virgina Woolf’s novel Orlando, a story involving one man (who eventually becomes a woman) who lives for three centuries. The last track, Freedom from Fear, involves Hynninen “transcribing” interviews of Burmese politician Aung San Suu Kyi through oboe. Based on the composer’s fascination with Kyi’s words, Hynninen’s composition builds an ambient, chaotic atmosphere, with the oboe echoing and creating wild feedback. The resulting sound is sublime and pushes the limit of what was once known about composition to its breaking point.


Hear the full album on YouTube

Track Listing & Credits

# Title Composer Performer
01 Winnowing Maija Hynninen Jaana Kärkkäinen, piano; Maija Hynninen, electronics 13:51
02 ...Sicut aurora procedit (Version for Violin & Electronics) Maija Hynninen Mirka Malmi, violin; Maija Hynninen, electronics 13:43
03 Orlando-Fragments: I. Unelma Maija Hynninen Tuuli Lindeberg, soprano; Hanna Kinnunen, flute; Lily-Marlene Puusepp, electric harp; Mikko Raasakka, clarinet/bass clarinet; Anna Kuvaja, piano; Maija Hynninen, electronics 7:33
04 Orlando-Fragments: Sormiharjoitus 1 Maija Hynninen Tuuli Lindeberg, soprano; Hanna Kinnunen, flute; Lily-Marlene Puusepp, electric harp; Mikko Raasakka, clarinet/bass clarinet; Anna Kuvaja, piano; Maija Hynninen, electronics 1:42
05 Orlando-Fragments: II. Tammipuu Maija Hynninen Tuuli Lindeberg, soprano; Hanna Kinnunen, flute; Lily-Marlene Puusepp, electric harp; Mikko Raasakka, clarinet/bass clarinet; Anna Kuvaja, piano; Maija Hynninen, electronics 6:14
06 Orlando-Fragments: Sormiharjoitus 2 Maija Hynninen Tuuli Lindeberg, soprano; Hanna Kinnunen, flute; Lily-Marlene Puusepp, electric harp; Mikko Raasakka, clarinet/bass clarinet; Anna Kuvaja, piano; Maija Hynninen, electronics 1:46
07 Orlando-Fragments: III. Suunnit Maija Hynninen Tuuli Lindeberg, soprano; Hanna Kinnunen, flute; Lily-Marlene Puusepp, electric harp; Mikko Raasakka, clarinet/bass clarinet; Anna Kuvaja, piano; Maija Hynninen, electronics 5:15
08 Freedom from Fear Maija Hynninen Kyle Bruckmann, oboe; Maija Hynninen, electronics 12:31

Recorded November 25, 2010 at Studio M2 of the Finnish Broadcasting Company in Helsinki, Finland
Recording Producer Karoliina Vesa
Recording Engineers Tommi Slotte & Timo Kurkikangas

Recorded June 11–12, 2018 at the Helsinki Music Centre, CM&T Studios in Helsinki, Finland
Recording Producer & Engineer Maija Hynninen

Recorded February 12–14, 2014 at Studio M1 of the Finnish Broadcasting Company in Helsinki, Finland
Recording Producer Karoliina Vesa
Recording Engineer Niko Paakkunainen & Maija Hynninen

Recorded January 8, 2019 at Hertz Hall in Berkeley CA
Recording Producer Maija Hynninen
Recording Engineer Maija Hynninen & Jeremy Wagner

Artist photos Maarit Kytöharju
Cover art adapted from Artwork by Eero Tiittula

Executive Producer Bob Lord

Executive A&R Sam Renshaw
A&R Director Brandon MacNeil
A&R Jacob Smith

VP, Audio Production Jeff LeRoy
Audio Director Lucas Paquette
Mastering Shaun Michaud

VP, Design & Marketing Brett Picknell
Art Director Ryan Harrison
Design Edward A. Fleming
Publicity Patrick Niland, Sara Warner

Artist Information

Maija Hynninen


Maija Hynninen (b. 1977) — composer and sound artist — works in concert music, electronic instrument design, and multidisciplinary performances. The essence of her music builds on the unique moments where the parameters of this world are slightly altered to allow a glimpse of another reality to be present. It can be a moment where the timbre of purely acoustical writing gives surprising results or when electronics project sound into another domain, space, and reality.

Jaana Kärkkäinen

Jaana Kärkkäinen


Jaana Kärkkäinen studied at the Sibelius-Academy, the Conservatory in St. Petersburg and the Vienna Academy of Music. She has been the soloist with the Finnish Radio Symphony, the Helsinki Philharmonic, the Tapiola Sinfonietta, Avanti! and other orchestras. She has given the premiere performances of works by many composers, among them Erik Bergman, Kimmo Hakola, Usko Meriläinen, Seppo Pohjola, Veli-Matti Puumala and Maija Hynninen and has recorded repertoire by Usko Meriläinen, Jouni Kaipainen and Olivier Messiaen.

photo: Johnny Korkman


Mirka Malmi


Mirka Malmi, violinist, is an active partner in various chamber music ensembles and has given a number of premier performances. She appears regularly on various music festivals in Finland and is often heard on recordings for the Finnish Broadcasting Company YLE. Among Malmis interests are also cross-artistic collaborative projects. In recent years, Mirka Malmi has focused on violin and chamber music of early female composers in Scandinavia. Since 2002 Malmi holds a violin position in the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra.

In addition to her performing as a violinist, Malmi is an active organizer and visionary. Her merits in this field include Janakkala Chamber Music Concerts (Artistic Leader, 2004), Interdisciplinary Biannual Veikkola Dada (Founding Partner, 2008–2015), Sääksmäki Soi! Festival (Artistic Partner, 2008-2016) and Nainen ja Viulu Concert Series (Artistic Leader 2018-). Malmi studied violin and chamber music in Edsberg Music Institute, Stockholm, and Sibelius Academy, Helsinki under professors Ulf Wallin, Kaija Saarikettu and Mats Zetterqvist.

photo: Ville-Paul Paasimaa

Anna Kuvaja

Anna Kuvaja


The Finnish pianist Anna Kuvaja is a versatile musician who performs as a soloist, chamber musician and orchestral player and has partnered a great variety of artists. She is also renowned as a fortepianist and on the other hand has given first performances of several contemporary compositions. Anna came to public attention with her critically acclaimed debut recital in Helsinki in 2008 and has given numerous concerts in her home country and abroad since then, as well as recording for YLE (the Finnish Broadcasting Company) and appearing at many festivals. Since 2010 Anna has complemented her performing with educational work at the Sibelius Academy of the University of the Arts Helsinki, where she is highly regarded as a teacher.

In 2016 Anna published her solo album, Fluvial, on the Alba label. The record received excellent reviews and was awarded five stars in BBC Music Magazine, which praised “a stunning debut disc… powerful Schubert.” Anna was the recipient of one of the Finnish state’s prestigious artists’ grants in 2017.

photo: Jouni Harala

Hanna Kinnunen


Hanna Kinnunen studied the flute at the Sibelius Academy and also in Paris. She has worked in many orchestras, including the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra (2003–2006, 2010–2013) and Tapiola Sinfonietta (2014). As a chamber musician she has appeared in numerous festivals in Finland and elsewhere in Europe, specializing in contemporary music. Contemporary music is the focus of her artistic doctoral studies at the Sibelius Academy as well. She teaches at the Sibelius Academy and at the music school in Käpylä, Helsinki.

Anna Kuvaja

Henriikka Tavi


Henriikka Tavi (poet, fiction writer, columnist) teaches creative writing, works together with artists from other art branches and has translated poetry and academic work into Finnish. Her books have won and have nominated to several literature prizes in Finland and Nordic Countries. She is a founding member of Poesia, a poetry publishing cooperative, and also known also from her experiment “Kaksitoista”, an attempt to publish 12 books in a year.

photo: Heli Sorjonen

Anna Kuvaja

Lily-Marlene Puusepp


Harpist Lily-Marlene Puusepp holds a Master of Music degree from Sibelius Academy. Puusepp performs contemporary music regularly and is a member of the Finnish electroacoustic group defunensemble. Puusepp has also worked as an orchestral harpist in Finland and Norway. In addition to performing Puusepp teaches harp in Helsinki metropolitan area music schools.

photo: Lilian Pärni

Mikko Raasakka

Mikko Raasakka


Mikko Raasakka is a freelance clarinetist living in Helsinki, Finland. He completed an artistic doctorate at the Sibelius Academy in 2005. Raasakka is especially known for his work with contemporary music. He has premiered dozens of new works for clarinet and bass clarinet, including six concertos. Since 2009 Raasakka has been a member of defunensemble, an exploratory Finland-based new music group devoted to the performance of electro acoustic music. He is also a member of the Zagros Ensemble. Raasakka has performed at festivals in sixteen European countries, Canada, USA, Australia and South Korea. His first solo CD Eliangelis (2014) had an enthusiastic feedback from the press.

photo: Anne Raasakka

Tuuli Lindeberg

Tuuli Lindeberg


The Finnish soprano Tuuli Lindeberg is one of the leading performers of baroque and contemporary vocal music in her native country. She collaborates regularly with the best chamber orchestras and chamber music ensembles in Finland, and appears frequently as a soloist in oratorios, other choral works, stage productions and in concert recitals. She has given several premieres of new vocal works written for her voice. Ms.Lindeberg holds a Master’s degree in vocal performance from the Sibelius Academy, Helsinki.

photo: Heikki Tuuli


Kyle Bruckmann


Kyle Bruckmann Oakland-based oboist and composer and performer, has work that extends from a Western classical foundation into gray areas encompassing free jazz, post-punk rock and the noise underground. He is a member of acclaimed new music collective sfSound, the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, Eco Ensemble, Splinter Reeds, Quinteto Latino, and the Stockton Symphony, and teaches at UC Santa Cruz, Davis, and Berkeley. Since moving to the Bay Area from Chicago in 2003, he has performed as a substitute with the San Francisco Symphony and most of the area’s regional orchestras while remaining active in an international community of improvisers and sound artists, appearing on more than 80 recordings of various genres.

photo: Uli Templin


Winnowing — separating the grain from the chaff, letting the wind blow the lighter parts away; or the sound made as the air flows through the tail feathers of certain big species of bird during mating. I was constantly traveling at the time of composing winnowing and started little by little to think about the movement of birds: the migrating flocks of birds of the autumn and spring amongst the old maple trees of the central park in Stuttgart, wild geese and a single lonely swan that decided to spend its winter in Stuttgart taking off and landing on the subtly fluctuating surface of the pond: stirring, quivering, and slowly decreasing vibrations of water. Simultaneously I found myself becoming more and more interested in the most subtle timbres of the piano. I wanted to surround the audience with this gentle sound — to be immersed into the subtle timbre changes of this fragile sound world.
rosin dust 1 — aurora procedit — rosin dust 2 — glow — rosin dust 3

…sicut aurora procedit for solo violin (2014) proceeded from the twilight of the dawn to the sun rising above the horizon. The version at hand, for violin and electronics, travels this journey backwards, as if in a memory. O frondens virga, an antiphon by the Middle Ages abbess, philosopher, and composer Hildegard von Bingen, is intertwined with the violin part in the beginning of the work. This antiphon, sung by soprano Tuuli Lindeberg, is placed in a distant cathedral-like space and is a reflection of the brightness of the day. The words of the antiphon are bathing in bright hope. The first rays of light of the rising sun hit the outer layers of the atmosphere, thus making them glow. Through making the sound particles spin the movement glow radiates in translucent harmonies. The memory of the twilight of the dawn ends the work in the atmosphere of the blue hour. The dawn is rising, but the sun is still waiting beneath the horizon. This work is dedicated to my daughter Aune, who went through severe medical trauma at the time I composed this piece.

Antiphon by Hildegard von Bingen:

O frondens virga,
in tua nobilitate stans,
sicut aurora procedit.

O blossoming branch,
you stand upright in your nobility,
as breaks the dawn on high.

(translation by Nathaniel M. Campbell)

Lyrics by Henriikka Tavi

The Orlando-fragments’ lyrics and music were created almost in parallel, where they both had a chance to mold the other. Henriikka Tavi wrote four poems for this piece inspired by the themes of Virginia Woolf’s novel Orlando, where the main character, Orlando, lives about 300 years without aging and changes gender in the mid-point of the novel. Woolf’s Orlando sees the world not only in the changing perspective of the different times but also through the eyes of two genders, which creates a complex web of different possible interpretations in Woolf’s masterpiece.

Tavi’s poem “A Dream” is passionate yet simultaneously introverted. The singer is accompanied solely by her own voice — as if Orlando were living in his own world inside his head. In this section of Woolf’s novel, after an unsuccessful love affair, Orlando decides to stay in his manor for decades, being reluctant and almost afraid of stepping out. In both “Exercises” another person enters the stage and Orlando ponders whether to take the crucial next steps to start engaging again with life: “only you: are trying: to catch it: it is called being alive: will you.”

When I discussed movement and speed with Tavi, we both thought of a possibility where the text and music would conflict — a slow stationary text would have incredible feel of movement in the music whereas a text with a lot of notion of speed would be frozen into immobility. From these thoughts came “Oak Tree” and “headin(g).” Oak Tree is a kind of diary which Orlando carries in his/her pocket throughout Woolf’s novel. Tavi’s “Oak Tree” circles around themes of living through 300 years, but always ending up in the point of departure: “I am born in the future […] when the history has ended […] Nothing is not only possible. Everything is real.” “Headin(g)” transforms the fast-paced poem into frozen, slowly changing surfaces of timbre. Here Orlando is waiting for someone to come, and she has growing anxiety with her “pulse beating in km/h in the speed of light in sound.”

Freedom from Fear reflects the thoughts of Aung San Suu Kyi (b. 1945), Burmese politician and freedom fighter. She spent 15 years in house arrest under the Burmese military dictatorship until she was released in 2010. During and after the house arrest Kyi gained international acclaim and received many honors, including the Nobel Peace Prize.

After listening and watching interviews by Kyi, I became fascinated with her thoughts on how “in any country, if the majority is determined to follow a certain path, they will be able to do it, sooner or later” — a thought that in retrospective casts a malicious shadow over how Kyi used her position of power in 2018. “Freedom from Fear,” one of the most famous Kyi quotes, as well as other direct quotes taken from her interviews, is transcribed for oboe and woven into the oboe textures in this piece. These delicate keyclicks and airy sounds share the stage with powerful and noisy multiphonics and glissandi that represent the strength and power of the thought over brutal violence. Two loudspeaker arrays — the small homemade ones onstage and the large ones placed around the audience — create two different spaces. The intimate onstage space is illuminated by lights that are built into these small speakers. Following the loudness of the keyclicks and airy sounds of the oboe, each of the speakers flickers at its own pace. The lights changing from white to blue and then towards orange and red portray the political climate change from serenity into a state of uncertainty. The electronics culminate through the peaceful demonstrations of 2016-17 in the United States into the chaos of the Burmese Saffron Revolution of 2007.