Mieko Kanno

Job description

  • Professor of Artistic Research in Music Performance, DocMus Doctoral School, Sibelius Academy, Uniarts Helsinki
  • Honorary Senior Research Fellow, Royal Conservatoire of Schotland


Violinist Mieko Kanno first came to international attention in the 1980s when she won prizes in international competitions such as the Carl Flesch, Queen Elisabeth of Belgium and Hannover. Later she developed an interest in performing contemporary music and received the Kranichsteiner Musikpreis at the Darmstadt New Music Institute in 1994. Since then she has been a prime exponent of new music for violin throughout Europe and given many first performances as soloist as well as in ensembles. She has a parallel career as musician and academic, and is dedicated in both capacities to the development of a new practice in music. She is especially known for her pioneering work on subjects such as complex notation and microtonality, and her research ranges from performing on the Violectra electric violin with electronics and commissioning works for it, to a long-term project on John Cage’s Freeman Etudes. She also plays Baroque violin and has worked extensively with Ensemble Florilegium in the late 1990s. Engaging with a wide range of repertoire remains an important principle for her. She has worked at Durham University, UK (2001-2012) and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (2013-2016); she came to Finland in 2016 to be Professor in Artistic Doctoral Studies at the Sibelius Academy, the University of the Arts Helsinki, and was also for 2018-21 Director of the Centre for Artistic Research (CfAR) at the same University. She plays a Giovanni Grancino violin dating from 1685.

Research and publications

Articles in Refereed Journals – Sole Authorship

  1. 2020. ‘Quiet is beautiful: the poetics of soft sound today’, Trio, 9/1, pp. 5-21
  2. 2019.  ‘Algorithmic thinking and musical performance’, special issue on ‘how to do with performance’, RUUKKU 11
  3. 2012. ‘As if the Composer is Dead’, special issue on music and death, Mortality, Routledge, pp. 170-181
  4. 2007. ‘Prescriptive Notation: Limits and Challenges’ special issue on Contemporary Performance (Barrie Webb, ed.), Contemporary Music Review, 26/2, Routledge, pp. 231-254
  5.  2003. ‘Thoughts on How to Play in Tune: Pitch and Intonation’, Contemporary Music Review, 22, Routledge, pp. 35-52
  6. 2001. ‘The Rhetoric of the Shadow: a Semiotic Study on James Clarke’s Isolation’, Tempo (issue 215), pp. 27-30

Articles in Refereed Journals – Joint Authorship

  1. 2022. Co-authorship with Guadalupe López-Íñiguez, Heidi Westerlund. Composers’ Reflections on the Relevance of Artistic Doctoral Education in Finland: From Self-Development towards Knowledge Exchange and Knowledge CreationTrio 12/1-2, 39-60
  2. 2020. Co-authorship with David Gorton and Stefan Östersjö. Cerro Rico: the coproduction of a discursive voice in chamber music’Music & Practice 5-7, online publication (video article) after PSN conference at Oslo Academy
  1. 2020. Co-authorship with Sam Hayden. ‘NEXUS: Live Notation as a Hybrid Composition and Performance Tool’, Proceedings of the International Conference on Technologies for Music Notation & Representation (TENOR) 2020
  2. 2013. Co-authorship with Sam Hayden. ‘Towards Musical Interaction: Sam Hayden’s Compositions for E-Violin and Computer’, Contemporary Music Review, 32/5, Routledge, pp. 485-498
  3. 2011. Co-authorship with Sam Hayden. ‘Towards Musical Interaction: Sam Hayden’s schismatics for E-Violin and Computer (2007, rev. 2010)’, Proceedings of the International Computer Music Conference 2011,Huddersfieldpp. 486-490

Chapter in Books – Sole Authorship (unless specifically mentioned)

  1. 2023. ‘The day the music died: searching for new practices of sharing in the aftermath of the death of a composer in Western art music’, in Wolfgang Marx ed. Music and Death, London: Boydell & Brewer, pp. 170-183
  2. 2021. Co-authorship with Sam Hayden. ‘Live Notation: NEXUS’, in Juha Ojala and Lauri Suurpää (eds), DocMus Festscrift, Helsinki: Sibelius Academy Publication Series, pp. 257-279
  3. 2021. ‘Making sound, making music’, chapter with supplementary video, in Huber A., Ingrisch D., Kaufmann T., Kretz J., Schröder G., Zembylas T. (eds).  Knowing in Performing, Bielefeld: Transcript, pp. 77-88
  4. 2019. ‘Musical Performance and Artistic Research’, in Paulo de Assis and Lucia D’Errico (eds). Artistic Research: Charting the Field in Expansion, London: Rowman & Littlefield
  5. 2014. ‘Order Matters: A Thought on How to Practice’, Artistic Experimentation in Music: An Anthology. Orpheus Institute Series, Leuven: Leuven University Press, pp. 143-147
  6. 2009. ‘Cage’s Freeman Etudes: Sounding Out’, special issue ‘metaCage’, The Collected Writings of the Orpheus Institute, Leuven: Leuven University Press, pp. 43-60; includes a CD recording of Freeman Etudes6 and 9
  7. 2009. ‘Input Gesture, Output Sound: Violin and Electronics’, special issue ‘Dynamics of Constraints’, The Collected Writings of the Orpheus Institute, Leuven: Leuven University Press, pp. 19-31

Performance Premières

  1. 2022. World première of Jacob Ter Veldhuis: In Limbo. With ensemble Insomnio / Laura Sandee (piano), TivoliVredenburg, 18th June.
  2. 2022. World première of the chamber ensemble version of Michel van Der Aa: Akin (concerto for violin and cello). With ensemble insomnio conducted by Urlich Pöhl, Tivoli Vredenburg, Utrecht (16the February) and Muziekgebouw aan’t IJ, Amsterdam (17th February).
  1. 2019. World première of David Gorton: Cero Rico (2017) for soprano violin and charango. With Stefan Östersjö (charango), Tinnenpot Theatre, Gent (Belgium), 29th December 2019
  2. 2018. World première of Stylianos Dimou: For Violectra (2018). Gaudeamus New Music Week, Utrecht, 8th September 2018
  3. 2018. World première of Michael Edwards: durchhaltevermögen for violin (2017). Klangzeit Festival, Münster, Germany, 13th May 2018. https://youtu.be/7Y_ghBCPZQE
  4. 2017. World première of Dimitris Papageorgiu: detifor e-violin and live electronics (2017). MuTe Festival, Helsinki, 21st November 2016
  5. 2016. World première of Michael Edwards hyperboles 2 for violin and live electronics (2015). Old Town New Music series, St Giles’ Cathedral, Edinburgh, 20th May 2016
  6. 2016. World première of John Hails: La Pastora for violin and live electronics (2007). Old Town New Music series, St Giles’ Cathedral, Edinburgh, 20th May 2016
  7. 2016. UK première of Nadir Vassena: In a Room (1997). London Ear Festival, 11th March 2016
  8. 2015. European première of Alexander Khubeev: The Whispers of Phoenix(2010). Gaudeamus New Music Week, Utrecht, 12th September 2015. (Khubeev won the 2015 Gaudeamus Prize.) Available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GlLwXRDfnYs
  9. 2013. World première of Konstantin Heuer: Violin Concerto (2013). Gaudeamus New Music Week, Utrecht, 9th September 2013
  10. 2013. European première of Jukka Tiensuu Hou for violin and ensemble, Vredenburg, Utrecht, 16th February 2013
  11. 2011. World première of Sam Hayden: Adaptations for electric violin and live computer, Kings Place, London, 13th June 2011
  12. 2010. World première of Artur Akshelyan: Lichtfarben for violin and large ensemble (2008/09), Gaudeamus New Music Week, Amsterdam, 9th September 2010
  13. 2009. World première of Juan Para Cancino: PLP_I for for electric violin and computer, SMC Conference, Porto, 24th July 2009
  14. 2008. London première of Evan Johnson: Colophons for a capella choir and violin, Spitalfield Festival, 13th June 2008
  15. 2008. North American première of Sam Hayden: schismatics for electric violin and computer, Banff Centre, Canada, 22nd February 2008
  16. 2008. North American première of Bryn Harrison: Cassiopeia for solo, Banff Centre, Canada, 6th February 2008
  17. 2008. North American première of Alwynne Pritchard: To the Groundfor electric violin and computer, Banff Centre, Canada, 1st February 2008
  18. 2007. World première of Sam Hayden: schismatics for solo electric violin and live computer (with the composer on electronics), Prime Foundation Series, Groningen, Holland, 10th November 2007; UK première, 17th November, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival; Austrian première, 22nd November, Bludenzer Tage zeitgemäßiger Musik; London première 24th November, BMIC Cutting Edge Series (broadcast on BBC Radio 3 Hear and Now, August 2008)
  19. 2007. German première of Georg Hajdu: Ivresse ’84 for violin and laptop quartet (with European Bridge Ensemble, directed by Georg Hajdu), 6th October 2007, Bipolar Kulturprojekte, Berlin
  20. 2006. World première of Sam Hayden: system/error for violin, flute and percussion (with La Berge, A. and Edwardes, C.), Gaudeamus New Music Week, September 2006.
  21. 2006. UK/German premières of Alwynne Pritchard: To the Ground for electric violin and computer. UK: Dartington International Summer School, August 2006; Germany: Internationales Künstlerhaus Villa Concordia, Bamberg, September 2006
  22. 2005. World première of Aaron Cassidy: The Crutch of Memory for solo violin, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, November 2005 (broadcast on BBC Radio 3 Hear and Now, January 2006)
  23. 2005. UK première of Giacinto Scelsi: Divertimento No. 2 for solo violin, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, November 2005 (broadcast on BBC Radio 3 Hear and Now, January 2006)
  24. 2005. Première of Philip Wilby: Flight for electric violin and brass band (transcription), The Sage Gateshead, November 2005
  25. 2004. UK première of Christian Wolff: Six Melodies Variations for solo violin, London, October 2004
  26. 2003. World première of Neal Farwell: Chaconnes for violin and electronics, UEA, February 2003
  27. 2003. World première of Andrew Glover: The Death of Angels for violin and orchestra, with BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Grant Llewellyn, London, January 2003 (broadcast on BBC Radio 3 Hear and Now, February 2003)
  28. 2002. UK première of Stefan Wolpe: Violin Sonata, Tate Modern, September 2002 (webcast at http://www.tate.org.uk/audiovideo/wolpe.htm for one year)
  29. 2001. World première of James Wood: Autumn Voices for violin and electronics, BBC commission (initiated by Mieko Kanno), Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, November 2001 (broadcast on BBC Radio 3 Hear and Now, December 2001)
  30. 1999. Norwegian premières of Salvatore Sciarrino: Sei Capricci for solo violin, Per Mattia for solo violin, Sonatina for violin and piano (with James Clapperton), Music Factory Festival, Bergen, May 1999
  31. 1996. World première of James Dillon: Redemption for violin, clarinet, and piano, with the Ensemble Accroche-Note, Ars Musica Festival, Strasbourg, September1996
  32. 1995. World première of James Dillon: Traumwerk for two violins, with Irvine Arditti, Huddersfield InternationalContemporary Music Festival, November 1995
  33. 1995. UK première of James Dillon, Vernal Showers for solo violin and ensemble, with the Cambridge New Music Players, Huddersfield International Music Festival, 1995
  34. 1995. UK première of Volker Heyn: …NTO. for solo violin, Huddersfield International Contemporary Music Festival, 1995
  35. 1994. UK première of Pierre Boulez: Anthèmes for solo violin, Huddersfield International Contemporary Music Festival, 1994 (broadcast on BBC Radio 3 Hear and Now, December 1994)
  36. 1994. Swedish première of Brian Ferneyhough: Terrain for solo violin and ensemble, ISCM Music Days, Stockholm, September 1994

Commercial CDs

  1. 2022. Autumn Voices (2001) by James Wood for violin and electronics. SARGASSO SCD28084
  2. 2019. Forms of Complaint: Music of Evan Johnson. Collaboration with vocal ensemble EXAUDI. Kairos 0015069KAI
  3. 2017. Free Radicals. Live group improvisation with electronics. Leo Records CD LR 790
  4. 2012. schsmatics (2007) for electric violin and live electronics by Sam Hayden. London: NMC D168, GVL: LC-03128
  5. 2012. Pierrot Lunaire by Arnold Schoenberg with ensemble insomnio. Heek: Encora 013
  6. 2007. The moon lost her name for violin by Sara Carvalho. Paços de Brandão: Numérica 1156
  7. 2005. Crying Bird, Echoing Star. First recordings of commissions by James Wood, Gordon McPherson, Edward D Hughes, Rowland Sutherland, Rolf Hind, with The New Music Players. London: Independent Records LIR003
  8. 2004. Clarinet Quintets by Morton Feldmann and Christopher Fox with Roger Heaton et al. London: Metier MCV CD92082
  9. 2003. Earle Brown: Chamber Music. With ensemble Dal Niente. London: Matchless MRCD52

ICT software – joint authorship

  1. 2016. Octet Violins (Modeling a Virtual Violin). http://eprints.hud.ac.uk/31506/


  • classical music performance
  • contemporary music
  • music notation
  • microtonality
  • electric violin
  • baroque violin