Veli Kujala (b. 1976) has gained a solid reputation as an outstanding interpreter of contemporary music on the accordion. In 2010 he completed his Doctor of Music -degree with distinction from the Sibelius Academy. He is a prizewinner of many international competitions for soloists and composition in the field of classical music. Kujala’s compositional output covers a wide variety of genres ranging from electro-acoustic to orchestral works. His composer portrait CD ‘Hyperorganism’ (Alba Records) was nominated for the best Finnish classical album of the year 2016. In 2020 he was given “The Contemporary Composer of the Year” -award by the Finnish Music Publishers Association. From the beginning of his career, Kujala has also been very active in the field of jazz and improvised music and performs regularly with leading contemporary improvisers such as Frank Gratkowski, Achim Kaufmann, Harri Sjöström, Evan Parker etc. Currently the most active bands he is involved in include Gourmet and Sestetto Internazionale.
Kujala has performed as a soloist with ensembles including Avanti! Chamber Orchestra, Gävle Symphony Orchestra, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Insomnio, Lahti Symphony Orchestra, the Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra, the Tapiola Sinfonietta with conductors such as Stefan Asbury, Hannu Koivula, Hannu Lintu, Susanna Mälkki, Ari Rasilainen, Dmitri Slobodeniouk and John Storgårds. He has co-operated with many contemporary composers and has premiered accordion concertos by Pekka Pohjola, Markus Fagerudd and Olli Virtaperko. Moreover, he has premiered concertos by Sampo Haapamäki, Joachim Schneider, and Jukka Tiensuu for the quarter-tone accordion; a new instrument, he developed together with Haapamäki.
Veli Kujala has performed in the whole of Europe, in major festivals and venues. He has also toured in the USA. Since 2020 he is working as head of the classical accordion department at the Sibelius Academy of the University of the Arts Helsinki.