Lotta Wennäkoski (born 1970 in Helsinki, Finland) studied first violin, music theory and Hungarian folk music in the Béla Bartók Conservatory in Budapest. She then studied music theory and composition at the Sibelius Academy and got her diploma in 2000. Her main composition teachers have been Eero Hämeenniemi, Kaija Saariaho and Paavo Heininen. 1998-99 Wennäkoski studied in the Netherlands with Louis Andriessen.
Wennäkoski’s debut concert took place in Musica Nova Helsinki festival in 1999. Her orchestral piece Sakara was commissioned by Esa-Pekka Salonen, who also conducted the premier with Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra in 2003. The stage work N! (Woman’s love and life) was premiered in Helsinki Festival the same year, and was nominated for the Nordic Council Music Prize in 2004. Ten years later 2014 Wennäkoski was nominated again – the work then was Jong for juggler and chamber orchestra. Important performances of Wennäkoski’s works also include the premier of the flute concerto Soie by Petri Alanko and the Finnish RSO in 2009 – chosen to the list of recommended works at the international rostrum of composers in 2012 – and the mini opera Lelele at the Musica Nova Helsinki 2011, performed by soprano Pia Freund and Plus Ensemble. The monodrama has later been performed in Maerzmusik (Berlin), Warsaw Autumn and Huddersfield festivals. In March 2012 Wennäkoski was one of the featured composers at the 17th Other Minds Festival in San Francisco.
Wennäkoski’s orchestral music has been recorded twice by the Finnish RSO – CD Soie was released in 2015 and Sigla in 2023 – both by the label Ondine. A CD of Wennäkoski’s chamber music, Culla d’aria, was published 2008 by Alba Records.
Lotta Wennäkoski has been the artistic co-ordinator of Tampere Biennale festival 2008-2010, and the composer-in-residence of Tapiola Sinfonietta during the season 2010-11. In 2017 Wennäkoski was the artistic planner for the Avanti! Summer Sounds Festival. The same year BBC commissioned her the orchestral work Flounce, the premier of which was at the Last Night of the Proms on September 9th, 2017. Another festive premier, Uniin asti for male choir and orchestra, took place at Helsinki Music Center the same year on December 6. The next year the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra commissioned Wennäkoski the chamber work Hele, the premier of which took place in November 2018 in Walt Disney Hall. The concert was conducted by Susanna Mälkki.
In summer 2019 Wennäkoski was the guest composer at the Korsholm Music Festival. The same year Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra commissioned her Om fotspår och ljus, which was premiered in September 2019. In the season 2021-22 Wennäkoski was one of the three featured composers of Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, and the season also included a new harp concerto Sigla in May 2022, written for Sivan Magen. Only a little earlier, April 21st 2022, the Danish String Quartet had commissioned and premiered Pige at Carnegie Hall in New York.
Wennäkoski has recently finished her first big opera Regine, a commission from Savonlinna Opera Festival. The libretto is written by Laura Voipio, and it tells the story of philosopher Søren Kierkegaard’s fiancé, Regine Olsen.
Wennäkoski was awarded the State Prize for Music in November 2020. She is currently (2022-2026) Artist Professor – an honorary title awarded by The Arts Promotion Centre Finland.