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Turning DNA into music

Finland is home to great contrasts and extremes. And by this, we’re not only talking about the many faces of our seasons. In fact, Finnish people’s DNA is the most diverse in all of Europe. Extremes are literally in our blood.

In honour of Finland’s centenary celebration, we’ll extract DNA from Finnish people living in the extremities of our country. With the help of a geneticist, data composer and Finnish cello metal band Apocalyptica, the genetic data will then be turned into an original piece of music.

Follow the unique project that gets its premiere in late 2017 here.

#FinnishDNA

The Heroes Behind the Project

The Symphony of Extremes is developed in cooperation with top specialists from the fields of both science and music.

Eicca Toppinen

Eicca Toppinen is a member of the Finnish cello metal band Apocalyptica, formed in 1993. Originally a Metallica tribute band, the band eventually adopted a neoclassical metal style without the use of conventional guitars. They have sold over four million albums to date.

Jonathan Middleton

Jonathan Middleton is a composer based in Spokane (USA) where he teaches composition at the Eastern Washington University. He also maintains a presence in Finland where he conducts sonification research at the University of Tampere. His working process relies on algorithmic processes and intuition to translate tangible elements from the natural world into musical ideas.

Päivi Onkamo

Päivi Onkamo is a lecturer of genetics at the University of Helsinki. Onkamo is interested in the genetics of ancient Finland and the neighbouring regions: who were the early Finns? What are we made of today? In international university rankings, the University of Helsinki typically ranks among the top 100.

Janna Saarela

Janna Saarela is a research director at Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland. Saarela’s role in the Symphony of Extremes is the collection and analysis of the DNA samples. FIMM is an international research institute in Helsinki that focuses on human genomics and personalized medicine.

Themes of the Symphony1/4

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DNA OF ARCHIPELAGO

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Themes of the Symphony4/4

DNA OF HELSINKI

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Finnish Extremes in Numbers1/11

500 000

summer cottages.

Finnish Extremes in Numbers2/11

188 000

lakes.

Finnish Extremes in Numbers3/11

Finns spend

79 days

a year at their summer cottages.

Finnish Extremes in Numbers4/11

Over

3 000 000

saunas. That's more than cars.

Finnish Extremes in Numbers5/11

179 000

islands.

Finnish Extremes in Numbers6/11

-51,5°C

the coldest temperature ever measured.

Finnish Extremes in Numbers7/11

+37,2°C

the warmest temperature ever measured.

Finnish Extremes in Numbers8/11

In the winter, the sun doesn’t
rise above the horizon for

52 days

in Lapland.

Finnish Extremes in Numbers9/11

In the summer, the midnight
sun doesn’t go down for

70 days.

Finnish Extremes in Numbers10/11

Over

70 %

of Finland is covered by forest.

Finnish Extremes in Numbers11/11

3400

metal bands.