Iro Haarla
17.11.2008 Southbank Centre, Queen Elisabeth Hall, London

This year's London Jazz Festival in association with BBC Radio 3 features an enticing mix of premieres and new collaborations with world famous stars and emerging talent. Over the coming months more performances are added in more venues in the capital, along with the Festival’s renowned education programme and its acclaimed Jazz for Free strand, to create the UK’s biggest international jazz festival and a truly inspirational celebration of music-making.

Iro Haarla is playing at the Southbank Centre with her five piece band on the 17 November. A member of the Edward Vesala Sound & Fury ever since its inception, Haarla was an integral part of the collective's soundscape. Her serene piano meditations, piercing analog synth wails and solemn harp flourishes added an otherworldly spice to the group's organic tone.

In the last couple of years, Haarla has collaborated in the live setting with bands like RinneRadio, Loco Motife, and Otná Eahket. In addition, she has composed music for e.g. the UMO Jazz Orchestra. A particularly triumphant album session was arranged in Norway with Krokfors, trumpeter Mathias Eick, saxophonist Trygve Seim, and drummer Jon Christensen. The resulting album, 'Northbound' was Haarla's debut in the ranks of the prestigious ECM Records.

As a composer, the pianist combines the Vesala school of free expression with the formal music studies she undertook in the 1970s and 1980s with the likes of pianists Izumi Tateno and Heikki Sarmanto at the Sibelius Academy. In 2006, Iro Haarla became the recipient of the Georgie Award.