Presenting our musicians: Tommi Hyytinen

Muusikkohaastattelu 17-01-2018

Tommi Hyytinen is a versatile musician, whose expertise also extends to the wellbeing sector.

Photo: Ville Paul Paasimaa

Tommi Hyytinen

Natural horn and Baroque horn

Short introduction
I work as a French horn player in the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra. I also teach the French horn and the natural horn at the University of the Arts Helsinki's Sibelius Academy.

Where do you come from? Was music present in your childhood family?
I come from Kokkola. In my childhood, I remember us often listening to Juice Leskinen, Kirka, Hector and Mikko Alatalo. Beach Boys and Beatles were also popular. My father played the guitar a lot and used to sing old schlagers.

How did you end up with your instrument? Who or what made you choose it?
When I was 8 years old, I applied to a music institute to play the trumpet. My big sister played the violin, so our parents asked me if I, too, would want to play an instrument. I don’t remember why I chose the trumpet, but apparently I was somehow drawn to brass instruments. During the entrance exam, however, the board decided that the French horn suited me better than the trumpet.

What inspires you as a musician and in life?
As a musician, I am inspired by very many things. The greatest source of inspiration is of course music itself, but it is also highly addictive to experience playing as a very holistic event. Practising and continually developing one’s skills is inspiring. The history of music and the theoretical side are also incredibly interesting. On top of this, I gain such energy and inspiration from performing and from interacting with the audience.

What other art form is close to your heart?
Of other art forms, I prefer the visual arts. A well-made art exhibition can affect med deeply.

Which is your greatest musical dream?
I have never had one single musical dream. I have wanted to work very variedly and to understand this art form from different perspectives. Luckily, my job description has been very many-sided during my whole professional career.

Which is your favourite travel destination, and why?
Right now my favourite travel destination is Paris. I like the French culture. I have studied the 19th century French school of natural horn quite a lot, and it is always interesting to advance that research by visiting museums and libraries in Paris. The city is also very special to me because it was our honeymoon destination.

In what kind of a place does your soul find rest?
My soul rests in nature, preferably overlooking flowing water.

How do you feel your art is affecting society at large?
There are several very worrying and frustrating phenomena in society at this moment. I want to believe that my artistic work and my teaching are increasing the harmony in society, at least a little bit. According to research, music has a positive effect on us in many aspects. And artists have generally always played very important roles in society. 

Why do you enjoy playing music that is over 300 years old?
For many reasons. Firstly, several of the most important works in Western art music were composed over 300 years ago. Secondly, I feel that early music really comes to life when it is played on period instruments, following the historical performance practices. I am a “sound freak”, so I find the colourful sound worlds of historical instruments truly fascinating. The rich timbre and various articulations of, for instance, the corno di caccia (Baroque horn), the natural horn and the Vienna horn are profoundly beautiful and compelling. Not to speak of the fact that each natural horn has a completely different tone colour and touch to it.

Choose your favourite among FiBO’s spring 2018 concerts, and motivate your choice.
My favourite spring concert is Zeitgeist on January 20th. The concert program is very interesting. It is a wonderful experience to get to play Beethoven’s Symphony No. 2 with period instruments, and also to perform the piece “chamber music style” without a conductor.

Do you have a “secret” special skill?
My ”secret” special skill is that I am specialised in Pilates. 12 years ago, I trained to be a Pilates instructor. Since then, I have been instructing Pilates beside my job as a musician, and I have applied and developed it to suit musicians as well as possible. My own playing technique is strongly built on the efficient breathing technique and the support from the body’s deep muscles that I have learned from Pilates.

If you had to run the Cooper test or bake for a party of 30 people, which would you choose?
Out of these two, I would choose the Cooper test. I have not done it since back in school, so it would be interesting to test my current running condition.

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