Full Hands

by Max Savikangas

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Max Savikangas

Full Hands

Music Finland


In my compositions, I have constantly aimed at widening the expression scale of the viola - and consenquently other instruments as well. However, my new playing techniques are not the final goal, but a necessary method to achieve my own musical expression.

The starting point in my instrumental composing is improvising. I enjoy improvising on the viola, and as often happens, some ideas survive and begin to live their own lives. Some of these ideas end up as starting points of written compositions. The nucleus of my composing is therefore the heard sound, perhaps in opposition to some more abstract ideas on paper or in a computer. Larger musical forms are born from interesting sound events – if they are strong enough to survive. Improvisation has a special meaning to me as a performing musician as well.

This doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t have a great interest in music that is notated in every detail. For example Milk is notated very carefully, and my viola repertoire includes a large number of technically challenging works by more and less well-known contemporary composers.

My quintet Full Hands is putting all these ideas together. It is partly fully written out and partly it relies strongly on the improvisational skills of my friends and trusted colleagues in the Uusinta Ensemble. The free flowing and interchange between these two ways of making music is in focus.


fl, 2vln, vla, vlc


Chamber Works


Uusinta Chamber Ensemble (Malla Vivolin, flute, Maria Puusaari and Teija Kivinen, violin, Max Savikangas, viola, Markus Hohti, cello), Nya Perspektiv Festival, Västerås, Sweden, October 25, 2011.

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