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Orchestral works

Blaze of the Earth (2023)

(17') for orchestra (3333 4331 1+2 hrp pno/cel str)

Premiere: Helsinki, Music Hall, March 3, 2024. The Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, cond. Hannu Lintu

Commissioned by: Finnish broadcasting Company

Maan roihu
Spring Flames

Spring Flames (2022)

(13') for orchestra (3333 4331 1+3 hrp pno/cel str)

Premiere: Tampere Hall, January 19, 2024. The Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra, cond. Matthew Halls.

Commissioned by: The Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra

I haven't encountered a new work as impressive as Ilkka Hammo’s Spring Flames in ages. [- -] The work flows like a clear thought, the use of orchestra is natural and the means of expression keep the interest up. [- -] The piece has quite extraordinary beauty for contemporary music, which however does not emerge with neo-romantic gestures, but through balance, simplicity and hopefulness. [- -] Concluding a work is its own art form. Spring Flames ends at the very moment when what needs to be said is said. Subtly and wisely.”

(Harri Hautala, Aamulehti, January 20, 2024)

Silent Crossings (2021)

(9') for big band (5 sax, 4 tpt, 4 tbn, pno, cb, dr - doublings: s. sax, fl, cl, 4 flug)

Premiere: Helsinki, Music Hall, April 14, 2022

Commissioned by: Kirkkomusiikin Säveltäjät ry (Church Music Composers) and Umo Helsinki Jazz Orchestra

Silent Crossings is music from the interfaces of different imagery and music styles. It is based on a metaphor of crossroads from which roads branch in many directions. The work seeks to take perspectives across the horizon, blurring boundaries, and freely finding its own route. Vitality and joy of life but also the inevitable pain of giving up are evolving from music. The dramatic stages are combined with meditation according to the themes of the Holy Week. The work is composed for Silent Music concert series of Umo Helsinki Jazz Orchestra which is held annualy just before Easter.


The musical home of the work is in the tradition of classical music and in the means of modern art music, which is evident in e.g. on the textures of the flute, clarinet, and soprano saxophone. Along the way, however, the handling of rhythm in particular gets influences from both the energy of funk music and the power of progressive rock.


Silent Crossings is my first composition for a big band and is dedicated to the Umo Helsinki Jazz Orchestra.

Silent Crossngs

Windirium - the land of gust (2020)

(6 ') for orchestra (3333 4331 1 + 3 hrp cel str)

Premiere: Tampere Hall, May 18, 2022. The Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra, cond. Eero Lehtimäki

Commissioned by: The Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra


Windirium - the land of gust is an orchestral work commissioned by the Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra for the Art Testers school project. The composition was completed just before the start of the coronavirus pandemic. The theme of this project was defined as Tales and Fantasy. Before composing, I wrote an assignment for 8th graders in the schools involved in the project, asking them to draw pictures of a fantasy world they had developed themselves. I also asked for name suggestions for this world. There were a lot of pictures and name suggestions and they started to form a unified theme for this work: the dichotomy between nature and man, and the constant struggle between man and nature spirits.


The title of the work, Windirium, comes from schoolchildren’s drawings and plans. It describes a land where the spirits of the winds reign. In the work, the turbulent textures are in dialogue with the singing melody depicting humans. The piece opens different perspectives on this wild world.

Windirium - tuulten maa
On the Horizon

On the Horizon (2018)

(11 ') for orchestra (3333 4331 1 + 2 hrp pno str)

Premiere: Helsinki, September 27, 2019. The Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, cond. Hannu Lintu

Commissioned by: Finnish broadcasting Company



On the Horizon is my second composition for a large symphony orchestra, but the first to have premiered. The work is based on a narrative; its inner drama tells a wordless story without, however, being directly programmatic. As the name implies, the work reaches the horizon, constantly striving to progress towards harmoniously resting surfaces. The turmoil bubbling beneath the surface inevitably drives music to new areas. The solo sensitivity and the massive, broadly brush-painted orchestration alternate as the work progresses towards its ultimate goal.

“On the Horizon proved to be a cornucopia of fascinating textures as well as energetic passages and mysterious turns. It progressed confidently towards the condensation of information into the motive of four notes and eventually into a merger like a line on the horizon. Magnus Lindberg influences could be spotted towards the end, but his own personality was also found. Hammo writes to instruments naturally - but not with cliché - and balances everything skillfully. It is good to continue from this. ”


(Vesa Sirén, Helsingin Sanomat, September 29, 2019)

Melting Crystals

Melting crystals (2017)

(8 ') for orchestra (2111 1101 1 pno str)

Premiere: Tampering Festival, Tampere, August 26, 2017. Tampering Ensemble, cond. Maja Metelska

Commissioned by: Tampering Society



When composing Melting crystals, my creative thought process set in motion entirely on extramusical topics such as climate change and the inevitable melting of the polar glaciers associated with it. As the work progressed, however, I did not want to follow such concrete programmaticity and the images of the work became more and more ambiguous. The title of the work came to my mind quite early on, which is exceptional for me. The name may refer to melting ice, of course, but it also works on a more general level. When composing, I was generally interested in the crystal-like clarity of the texture. In this sense, the ideal of classicism is the background influencer of my work. The electric, scherzo-like rhythm with its staccato articulations and the use of bright tone colors were the starting points of the work from the beginning. In the beginning of my composition process I spent a long time in front of a piano and piano eventually became the central instrument of my work. As the name implies, the work deals with the melting of the aforementioned crystallinity. The overall dramaturgy follows the dramatic curve typical of late romantic music with its meditative passages and culminations as the musical material consists of different melting processes: music playing in the upper register descends towards a lower register, sharp articulation softens, dissonances "melt" almost in tonal harmony. Sometimes there is a kind of farewell atmosphere in the sound of the string instruments and the wavy texture surging at the culmination eventually drifts into an almost chaotic state. However, have the first ideas of the composition process about the description of current environmental threats been left behind? Let it be up to the listener to decide.

“In Ilkka Hammo’s Melting Crystals, on the other hand, the glow of late Romanticism is combined with a current theme, climate change. The strength of Hammo's work lies in its glorious orchestration, in which the composer has effortlessly implanted various gestures related to melting.”


(Harri Hautala, Aamulehti, August 28, 2017)


Verso (2014) (10 ') for orchestra (3333 4331 13 hrp pno str)

Fall Foliage

Fall Foliage (2012)

(8 ') for string orchestra (5/5/4/3/2)

Premiere: Kaustinen Chamber Music Week, February 3, 2012. Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra, cond. Juha Kangas


Fall Foliage means autumn colors in the leaves of trees. The name refers to both the time of compositional work and the metaphor of autumn colors that embodies the character of the piece. In the fall, as the days get shorter, the first night frosts bite the green, vibrant leaves of the trees, causing some of their cells to die. This results in a variety of yellow and red colors. Cell death causes a multi-layered color glow in the foliage that is beautiful in a rough way. The fall season is associated with rain, storms and sunshine, but also melancholy, as the long and gloomy winter time is inevitably imminent in spite of everything.


The starting point of the work is in the slow and wide cantabile texture, which can be considered the main character of the piece. In addition, the work is dominated by a strongly dynamic, fragmented and striking character as well as fast moving patterns. These three main characters create the dramaturgy and identity of the work, appearing both as independent and different combinations, sometimes standing strongly against each other, sometimes following each other. The work is my first string orchestra work and it has been created in collaboration with the Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra.

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