Pub­lic ex­am­i­na­tion of the artis­tic doc­toral de­gree of Nathan Riki Thomson

Nathan Riki Thomson
Photo: Uupi Tirronen

Title of the doctoral project: RESONANCE – (Re)forming an Artistic Identity through Intercultural Dialogue and Collaboration
Examiners of the artistic components: PhD Risto Blomster, DMus Anna-Kaisa Liedes, DMus Aija Puurtinen, PhD Päivi Takala, and DMus Timo Väänänen (chair of the Artistic Committee)
Examiners of the thesis: PhD, Assoc.Professor Vanessa Tomlinson, D.A. Päivi Takala
Chair: DMus, Professor Kristiina Ilmonen

Note! The event requires pre-registration.


Opening of the public examination

Lectio Praecursoria

Music performances

  • Nathan Riki Thomson, prepared double bass, Wagogo flute
  • Adriano Adewale, berimbau, percussion 
  • Maija Kauhanen, prepared kantele 
  • Otso Lähdeoja, live electronics 
  • Ville Tanttu, live visuals 

Statement of the artistic component

Statement of the thesis


Final statement

Audience questions

Conclusion of the public examination

Artistic doctoral project

The body of this project is centred around three doctoral concerts, a CD/LP recording, and a documentary film, which took place between 2016 and 2021. In addition, I draw on the embodied experience of a five-year period I spent living and collaborating with musicians and dancers in Tanzania and Zambia prior to the doctoral project. 

The concept of resonance is a key element in the research, which is viewed both as a physical phenomenon and as an approach to thinking about the ways in which we connect with others and the world around us.

As a double bass player, multi-instrumentalist, and composer, I place myself in a series of different musical and multi-arts contexts, engaging in dialogue with musicians, dancers, and visual artists from Brazil, Colombia, Estonia, Finland, France, Madagascar, Mexico, Poland, Sápmi, Tanzania, the UK, and Zambia. Various solo, duo, and ensemble settings act as case studies to examine how this process takes place, the new knowledge gained from the collaborations and their resulting artistic outcomes, and the effects of intercultural dialogue, collaboration, and co-creation on my own artistic identity. 

Further research outcomes include new techniques and the expansion of the sonic palette of the double bass, enabled by developing custom-made attachments, preparations, and electronic manipulation. The complete scope of this doctoral project includes four artistic components (three concerts and a recording), a documentary film, and an artistic doctoral thesis comprising two peer-reviewed articles and an integrative chapter, all housed within the main multi-media exposition, Resonance: (Re)forming an Artistic Identity through Intercultural Dialogue and Collaboration.

Thomson’s recording “Resonance” by SibaRecords

The thesis

More information about Nathan Riki Thomson

Nathan Riki Thomson is a double bass player, multi-instrumentalist, composer, researcher, and educator. Nathan has collaborated and performed with musicians from many parts of the world, with a special interest in Africa where he lived and worked for five-years with musicians and dancers in Tanzania and Zambia. During his time in Tanzania, Nathan established a series of community arts projects in collaboration with local musicians and was a student of renowned musician Dr. Hukwe Zawose. Nathan was born to parents from New Zealand and raised in Australia, where he completed undergraduate studies at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music in Brisbane, followed by further studies at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London. Nathan holds a master’s degree in Global Music from Sibelius Academy, University of the Arts, Helsinki, where he is also currently completing his artistic doctoral degree. 
As a performer, Nathan has toured internationally during the past 26 years with groups including the Antonio Forcione Quartet, Adriano Adewale Group, Ilkka Heinonen Trio, Subsonic Trio, Electronic Chamber Music, and Mari Kalkun and Runorun. Nathan is featured on numerous albums as a collaborator and has released three albums under his own name, including Under Ubi’s Tree (NAIM records UK), Shaped by the Sea, and Resonance (Sibarecords / NAXOS). He was a Lecturer at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London for 10 years, where he worked as a member of the core teaching team for the master’s degree in leadership. Intertwined with performing, teaching, and researching, Nathan has actively worked on intercultural community engagement projects in contexts such as schools, prisons, youth groups, centers for children with a disability, and with homeless youth in Africa, Europe, Southeast Asia, and North and South America. Finland is his new home, where he is currently lecturer and head of the Global Music Department at Sibelius Academy, University of the Arts, Helsinki. 


Nathan Riki Thomson


1.10.2021 at 12:00 – 15:00


Black Box

Mannerheimintie 13

00100 Helsinki

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