Henrik Otto Donner

Born: November 16th, 1939, Tampere (Finland)
Died: June 27th, 2013, Jakobstad-Pietarsaari (Finland)
Nationality: Finnish

Henrik Otto Donner studied the trumpet at the Sibelius Academy, Helsinki, and electronic music at the Siemens-Studio in Munich. He can probably be considered as Finland’s single most important avant-garde composer, having some experimental pieces to his credit, such as ‘Ideogramme I’ (combining the sound of twelve radios with an ensemble consisting of flute, clarinet, trombone, and percussion; 1962) and ‘Street piece Helsinki’ (1963). Moreover, he worked as a jazz trumpeter, arranger, and composer; he led the group Free For All and worked with influential jazz musicians such as Mauri Antero Numminen and Juhani Aaltonen. Donner regularly composed music for TV programmes and films.

With Jim Pembroke, Henrik Otto Donner composed the 1981 Finnish Eurovision entry ‘Reggae O.K.’ by Rikki Sorsa and also penned the orchestration to it. Because regular Finnish conductor Ossi Runne was the TV commentator for the Finnish viewers in that’s years contest, it was Donner himself who conducted the orchestra in Dublin. One year later, Runne was back as a conductor, but Donner again teamed up with Pembroke to compose the Finnish entry, the much-discussed ‘Nuku pommiin’ by Kojo; again, Donner wrote the arrangement. Whereas ‘Reggae O.K.’ finished 16th, ‘Nuku pommiin’ failed to pick up any points and came 18th and last.

In due course, a more extensive biography of Henrik Otto Donner will be published on this website


Songs conducted
1981: Reggae OK