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B i o g r a p h y




" The music, as the whole of life generally, for me is interaction between extremes: light - darkness, calmness- storm, joy- sorrow. The extraordinary beauty of nature is one of unfailing source of inspiration for me. My ultimate goal is to evoke the listeners´ emotions with my music - to challenge them to give love and have the courage to receive it."



The roots of the music of Iro Haarla lies in the world of classical music. There lies the origins of her emotional melodies. Her earliest musical memories from her childhood comes from the Italian operatic music heard at home. The reason for this is that her mother was a prominent opera singer.



- Graduated from the Sibelius Academy and its department of piano studies in 1979. Her piano teacher was Mr. Izumi Tateno. Under the guidance of Mr. Einar Englund and Mr. Kari Tikka she studied composition.

- Composer and pianist Heikki Sarmanto was her teacher in jazzimprovisation.


From the year 1979 on she began her collaboration with a Finnish drummer and composer Edward Vesala, which continued until Vesala’s death 1999. In Vesala´s projects Haarla played piano, various synthesizers as well as harp. She also co-composed and arranged all the music of Vesala including plays, movies , works for chamber orchestras and a number of recordings e.g. 4 recordings with Edward Vesala’s Sound&Fury for ECM.


From the year 2000 on Haarla has led her own groups and performed her own compositions. Among these are the recordings for the German recording company ECM Records; " Northbound" ,"Vesper" and "Ante Lucem, for Symphony Orchestra and Quintet".



The Ted Curson-award /artist of the year Pori Jazz 2018​


Jazz- Emma  awarded by The Finnish Association of Producers of Sound and Picture (ÄKT) for "Vesper" , 2011.


Jazz- Emma awarded by ÄKT for "Penguine Beguine" (together with Ulf Krokfors), 2005.


The "Yrjö"-prize awarded by the Finnish Jazz Assiociaton for Musician of the Year, 2006.



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