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Composers –> Eerola, Lasse

The Finnish composer and pedagogue Lasse Eerola (1945–2000) studied clarinet, theory of music and ear training at the Sibelius Academy. He also studied composition with Jouko Tolonen and Einojuhani Rautavaara, but most of all, he developed as a composer by listening, researching and playing continuously.

In addition to his teaching work, he played in various orchestras and arranged music. Eerola was also known as one of the pioneers of music notation software in Finland. His largest works include the cantata ”Aino” for choir and orchestra, Fantasia for orchestra and the renowned Variations for Wind Orchestra.

Though most of Eerola’s compositions are written for symphony or wind orchestra, his works also include a remarkable number of chamber music and pedagogical material. From 1978 on Eerola taught clarinet and theory of music in the Joensuu Conservatory.

The Garden of Lasse Eerola

Eerola was a pragmatic composer, and he wrote many exercises for his clarinet and ear training classes, which then turned into complete etudes or small compositions. He organized them and named the collections after plants.

This is how the Botanic Collection (Kasvikokoelma, 1982–83), the H and N Suites (1989–91) and the Herbal Collection (Rohtokokoelma, 1991) were born. Especially his etude collections for young wind players are well established. Eerola also arranged his original clarinet compositions for many other instruments.

The Path to New Music

The basic elements of music—melody, rhythm, harmony and tone colour—were important for Eerola and they dominate his recognisable style, which is often based on the so-called new modes. Eerola kept a distance with the extreme Modernism and aspired to fill the gap he saw as a teacher. He guided his pupils on the path to discover new music by composing small pieces for them.

His efforts resulted in a rich and pedagogically valuable line of works, in which the technical and artistic demands get higher from one piece to another. The experienced pedagogue breaks the barriers of time signatures little by little and spices up the free-tonal harmony with surprising whole tone scales or complex rhythms.

Eerola’s etudes and collections with the plant theme contain small, elementary level pieces (N Suite, K Collection and Herbal Collection) as well as more challenging material (H Suite). He also arranged the piano part of the N Suite and the Herbal Collection for string orchestra.

Lauri Toivio

Translation: Anri Tuohimäki


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Published works

Levels of Difficulty:


30 Etydiä / 30 Studies

originally for clarinet in Bb,

available also for:

• flute/oboe (in C)

• alto saxophone in Eb

• tenor saxophone in Bb

  1. bassoon/tuba (in C)

25 Etydiä / 25 Studies

clarinet in Bb

Rohtokokoelma /

Herbal Collection

for wind instrument and piano, available for:

  1. flute/oboe (in C)

  2. clarinet in Bb

  3. horn in F

  4. bassoon/tuba (in C)