Academy Research Fellow Juha Torvinen, PhD, Adjunct Professor

​Current research

The areas of my academic expertise include ecomusicology, cultural music research, philosophy of music, phenomenological music research, contemporary classical music and progressive forms of rock and metal. I'm currently working as Academy Research Fellow in the personal research project Music, Nature, and Environmental Crises: A Northern Perspective on Ecocritical Trends in Contemporary Music. This project is funded by the Academy of Finland. For more information about the project, please visit its website here.

Previous research and activities

My doctoral thesis was Music as the Art of Anxiety (Finnish Musicological Society 2007, in Finnish). Academic activity after the defence of my PhD includes a post-doctoral researcher’s post (2008–2009) in the project Philosophies of Performance: Finnish Music, Art, and Avant-Garde funded by the Academy of Finland and led by Professor Eero Tarasti, the personal post-doctoral research project (2011–2012) The Idea of the North in Contemporary Music: Experience, Ecology, and Finnish Cultural Identity funded by the Kone foundation, and an Experienced Researcher's post (2014) in the project Finnish Contemporary Music in the 21st Century funded by the Kone foundation and led by Adjunct Professor Susanna Välimäki. In addition, I have studied the life and music of the Finnish composer Erik Bergman with financial support from Alfred Kordelin foundation, Ella and Georg Ehrnrooth foundation, and Svenska Kulturfonden. Before coming to Turku University I worked as a music researcher and part-time teacher at the University of Helsinki.

My publications concern the topics of, for example, ecomusicology, phenomenology of music, affectivity of music, music and silence, the idea of the north in music, and Finnish contemporary music. (See the list of publications below).

During the years 2007 and 2008, I was the chief editor of Musiikki, the peer-reviewed journal of the Finnish Musicological Society. My positions of trust include Chair and Vice-Chair of the Finnish Musicological Society (2011–2014) and board membership in the Finnish Society for Aesthetics (2008–2013).

Outside academic circles, I have worked for different newspapers, magazines and radio stations as a music critic, journalist and writer popularizing musicological knowledge. From 2007 through 2011, I worked as Editor-in-Chief of the Finnish Music Quarterly (FMQ). I have also studied classical guitar and music pedagogy at Helsinki Polytechnic (1999–2001), and worked as a part-time musician in different musical fields, from popular to classical.

Scholarly ethics

I support all the existing trends, methods and branches of music research, while I am against only the narrow-minded belief in the superiority of a single school or methodology. The methods of phenomenological music research, combined with the basic ideas of the cultural study of music, however, are the closest to my personal research interests. The reason for this is that I believe these methods can provide the deepest insights into the underlying basic question that guides (my) scholarly work in this age of mediatization, globalization, blurring of musical styles, and ecological crises: what is the relationship between a single musical experience and its cultural-historical-social conditions and how does this relationship reflect, criticize and change our general view of the world, others and ourselves.

1. A selection of articles

[2015, forthcoming] ” Atmosphere and the Environmental Significance of Northern Music: Ecomusicological-Phenomenological Reading of Kalevi Aho’s Eight Seasons and Hexvessel’s No Holier Temple. In Annette Kreutziger-Herr & Britta Sweers (eds) Climate Change, Music and the North. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
[2015, forthcoming] "The Ecology of the Northern Tone: a Phenomenological Approach with Examples from Erik Bergman and John Luther Adams”. In Rachel Cowgill et al. (eds) Music and the Idea of the North. Aldershot: Ashgate.
2014. ”Musiikin filosofisuus ympäristöongelmien aikakaudella” [Music as Philosophy in the Age of Environmental Problems.]. Agon 4/2014.
2014. ”Musical Meaning In Between: Ineffability, Atmosphere and Asubjectivity in Musical Experience”. Journal of Aesthetics and Phenomenology 1 (2), 209–230. Written together with Tere Vadén.
2014. "Ihminen, luonto ja eko-apokalypsi: miten nykytaide kuuntelee luontoa?" [A Human Being, Nature, and Eco-Apocalypse: How Does Contemporary Art Listen to Nature?]. Lähikuva 1/2014, 8–27. Written together with Susanna Välimäki.
2014. ”Ääni” [Sound]. In Yrjö Heinonen (ed.) Taide, kokemus, maailma: risteyksiä tieteidenväliseen taiteiden tutkimukseen. Written together with Yrjö Heinonen, Hanna Meretoja, John Richardson and Susanna Välimäki. Turku: Utukirjat, 21–76.
2014. ”The North as an Experiential Quality in Music: On the Works of Erik Bergman”. In Dario Martinelli, Eero Tarasti, Juha Torvinen (eds) Philosophies of Performance. Imatra/Helsinki: International Semiotics Institute, 178–196.
2013. ”Ekomusikologia, tutkimus ja paha etiikka” [Ecomusicology, Research, and Bad Ethics]. Musiikin Suunta, 1/2013, 4–7.
2012. ”Johdatus ekomusikologiaan: musiikintutkimuksen vastuu ympäristökriisien aikakaudella” [A Introduction to Ecomusicology: The Responsibility of Music Research in the Age of Environmental Crises]. Etnomusikologian vuosikirja 2012. Helsinki: Finnish Society for Ethnomusicology, 8–34.
2012. ”Erik Bergman and the Subject of Composing”. Mitteilungen der Paul Sacher Stiftung 25, 18–23.
2012. ”Erik Bergman suomalaisessa nykymusiikissa” [Erik Bergman and Contemporary Finnish Music]. Kompositio 1/2012, 3–9.
2010. ”Mistä hiljaisuus kertoo? Kokemuslähtöisiä huomioita konserttihiljaisuuden merkityksistä” [What Does Silence Stand For? Experience-Based Remarks on the Signification of Silence in Concerts]. Musiikki 3–4/2009, 26–53.
2010. “The Tone of the North”. Finnish Music Quarterly 3/2010, 14–19.
2010. ”Why Perform in Silence?” In Lina Navickaitė-Martinelli (ed.) Before and After Music. Imatra: International Semiotics Institute.
2008. ”Musiikkimatka ei-kenenkään maalle: Malcolm Arnold, Deep Purple ja The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra” [A Musical Journey to No-Man's Land: Malcolm Arnold, Deep Purple and The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.] In Jaakko Tuohiniemi (ed.) Juhlakirja Anu Konttiselle. Helsingiæ: [Jaakko Tuohiniemi], 3134.
2008. ”Fenomenologia ja musiikintutkimus: lähtökohtia kriittiseen keskusteluun” [Phenomenology and Music Research: Premises for a Critical Debate]. Musiikki 1/2008, 3–17. 
2006. ”Musiikkianalyysi ontologiana I: Fenomenologisen musiikintutkimuksen filosofisesta ja historiallisesta taustasta” [Music Analysis as Ontology I: On the Philosophical and Historical Background of Phenomenological Music research]. Musiikki 2/2006, 3–28.
2006. ”Musiikkianalyysi ontologiana II: Fenomenologisen musiikintutkimuksen metodologisista lähtökohdista” [Music Analysis as Ontology II: On the Methodology of Phenomenological Music research]. Musiikki 3/2006, 70–92.

2. Books and edited special issues

2014. Philosophies of Performance. Dario Martinelli, Eero Tarasti, Juha Torvinen (eds), Helsinki: International Semiotics Institute.
2013. Ekomusikologia [Ecomusicology]. Helsinki: Finnish Society for Ethnomusicology. (= Musiikin Suunta 1/2013).
2007. Musiikki? Johdatus musiikin filosofiaan ja estetiikkaan (Music? An Introduction to the Philosophy and Aesthetics of Music]. Helsinki: The Association of Finnish Music Schools. Written together with Markus Mantere. (An electronic publication at
2008. Fenomenologinen musiikintutkimus [Phenomenological Music Research]. (= Musiikki 1/2008). Helsinki: Finnish Musicological Society.
2007. Musiikki ahdistuksen taitona: Filosofinen tutkimus musiikin eksistentiaalis-ontologisesta merkityksestä [Music as the Art of Anxiety]. Helsinki: Finnish Musicological Society. (Doctoral diss.)
2005. Musiikin filosofia ja estetiikka: kirjoituksia taiteen ja populaarin merkityksistä. Ed. together with Alfonso Padilla. Helsinki: Gaudeamus.
2002. Minä, säveltäjä 2: nykysäveltäjät kirjoittavat työstään. Ed. together with Petri Tuovinen. Helsinki: Summakustannus.
Updated 12.3.2015

Kuva: Heikki Pölönen


Phone: 040 0978 525

Email: juha.torvinen(at)

Consultation: By agreement