Presenting our musicians: Jaakko Luoma

Muusikkohaastattelu 18-12-2018

Having started his music career with the piano, bassoonist Jaakko Luoma is forever grateful for being suggested the bassoon as an 11-year-old. (In the picture Jaakko has a modern bassoon instead of a historical bassoon.

Photo: Antti Kangassalo

Jaakko Luoma


Short introduction
My main job is in Tapiola Sinfonietta as the bassoon section leader, although I have worked abroad twice and played in other orchestras. In Tapiola I have played since 1993, and it is there that I always want to return. I enjoy playing chamber music and solo in orchestras. In the recent years, historical instruments have become an important part of me as a musician.

Tell us about yourself
I am born in Lohja, where I also spent my youth, but my family roots are in Southern Ostrobothnia. My parents do not have a background in music, but for some reason they took me to instrument lessons, and I believe I wanted to play from quite a young age.

How did you end up with your instrument? Who or what made you choose it?
My first instrument was the piano, but when I applied to Lohja Music Institute as an 11-year-old, flutist Eugen Stenman from the admission board thought that the bassoon would suit me as instrument, because there are always too many applicants for the piano anyway. I am still grateful to him!

What inspires you as a musician and in life?
I enjoy it the most when music suddenly takes flight, the details strengthen and guide the musical flow, pieces willingly fall into place and things start to happen in the concert, things that no one spoke about during practices. Spontaneity and communication are to me the most important values in music.

What other art form is close to your heart?
Photography. I really enjoy watching nice photos. I am not a top photographer myself, but I still like to take photos, of course with historical instruments, i.e. film cameras.

Which is your greatest musical dream?
That I could live long and could (and dared to) play for as long as possible. And I would like to never stop learning new things.

Which is your favourite travel destination, and why?
Japan. The culture, history, mentality and food of that country have fascinated me since I was young. I always enjoy going there. My visits to Japan have so far been on concert tours, so I really wish that I would someday travel there on a long holiday and experience the nature and smaller towns in addition to the cities.

In what kind of a place does your soul find rest?
Home is in the lead of this competition, but maybe it would be a good idea to learn to stop and relax also in many other places. For example, I spend too little time in nature.

How do you feel your art is affecting society at large?
Our species would probably not exist without music, the need for music lies very deeply in us. Good music soothes the soul. The essence of music is much more abstract than that of other art forms, so the hearer’s mind always adds the final touch to the performance. That is why the audience has a good chance of experiencing something even in the case where e.g. the text that is being sung does not engage.

Why do you enjoy playing music that is over 300 years old?
It is exciting that a composition that was written down over 300 years ago can be brought to life by playing. This is what the special character of music is about: a painting or sculpture that is hundreds of years old has not considerably changed since it was finished (although every person of course interprets the art they see in their own ways), but no composition can be played even twice in the exact same way, not to speak of conserving throughout centuries. We musicians do not work in museums, because we do not only maintain old art but we awaken it every single time it is played, always differently. It is also very healthy to have to think about how much or how little the human being has changed in the past centuries.

Choose your favourite among FiBO’s spring 2019 concerts, and motivate your choice.
The concert ”Baroque from the Nordic courts” at the end of March seems interesting, because I, at least, know very little about what happened in the Nordic musical lives of that time.

Do you have a “secret” special skill?
Kashima-Shinryu is a Japanese martial art from the 16th century that I practice passionately. It includes both fighting with and without weapons. The main tools are – of course – historical instruments, most importantly the sword.

If you had to run the Cooper test or bake for a party of 30 people, which would you choose?
That is a challenging question. Despite my martial arts background, I am not very sporty, and I am still bugged by that last Cooper test I ran back in the 1980s. I like to cook, but I am not a very experienced baker. I think I might choose the Cooper test anyway, because if I really push, I will manage to do it in 12 minutes, after which I can enjoy a delicious cinnamon bun baked by someone else, with good conscience.

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