Naisen muotokuva/Portrait of a woman for ensemble


all photos from the performance by Heta Kuchka

Naisen muotokuva (2013)

Work for ensemble. Duration 23 min. Also possible to realize with with visual installation by Heta Kuchka.

fl (doubling picc. and fl alto), ob (doubling cor Anglais), cl (doubling bass cl.), bsn (doubling double bsn), cor, vl, vla, cb

Fp: June 15th 2013. Zagros ensemble (Hanna Kinnunen fl, Hannu Perttilä ob, Päivi Kiljala cl, Otto Virtanen bsn, Tommi Hyytinen cor, Hannu Vasara vl, Riitta-Liisa Ristiluoma vla, Sampo Lassila cb)

Minna Leinonen´s and Heta Kuchka´s collaboration Naisen muotokuva (A Portrait of a woman) portrays women´s work and life through ages by connecting music and visualisation. The wish of the commissioners was to bring the idea of being a female artist from the historical perspective to the present and at the same time to make a reference to the 150th anniversary of Venny Soldan-Brofeldt. The titles of movements I-IV are citations from criticism that paintresses received in the 19th century, the title of the fifth movement quotes one of Soldan-Brofeldt's´s own remarks.

The music in Naisen muotokuva sets side by side three eras prominent to female arts: melodies from the medieval mystic Hildegard von Bingen not silenced by the church because her works were considered epiphanic; criticism of 19th century paintresses´ works which were seen as curiocities rather than works of art; and finally contemporary art, in which the sex of the artist in conventional sense is not relevant and in which integrating female and male qualities might even be essential.

Minna Leinonen, Heta Kuchka, Hildegard von Bingen: Naisen muotokuva (2013)

I "restrained, controlledly soulful" (Maria Wiik)

II "women longed for more spiritual subjects"

III "like pale, timid and solemn flowers"

IV "minor subjects were suitable for women"

V "all those paintresses seem to bear their misfortunes with remarkable tranquility" (Venny Soldan-Brofeldt)


Minna Leinonen´s personal Naisen muotokuva was an impressive final of the concert. Timelessness of Hildegard von Bingen´s medieval hymns, attitude of 19th century´s female artists with contemporary scenery made Naisen muotokuva a profound experience and sealed the spirit of the whole concert in a touching way.

  • Harri Hautala, Aamulehti 03/2019

Other performances

23st April 2023
Naisen muotokuva, Konsertihuset Stockholm
Tampere Raw cond. Maria Itkonen

1st Dec 2019
Naisen muotokuva
Tampere Raw cond. Maria Itkonen
Helsinki Music Center (Camerata Hall)

24th March 2019

Naisen muotokuva - Portrait of Woman
Tampere Hall, small auditorium
Tampere Raw, cond. Maria Itkonen

all photos from the performance by Heta Kuchka