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Janne Halmkrona

Janne Matias Halmkrona
Born April 19, 1968, Tornio.

Master of Arts (Musicology), 1996, University of Helsinki

Musician, CMX, 1990- , Sapattivuosi, 2000-
Production Head, Sony Music Entertainment Finland Ltd, 2005–2012
Founder/Programmer, Njet Communications Ltd, 1999–2004
Programmer, 1996–1999, ICL Data Ltd
Radio DJ, Radio Helsinki, 2000–2006

Publications, Awards and Special Achievements
CMX: 14 albums, 4 compilations, 16 Gold and 3 platinum records
Sapattivuosi: 3 albums
Encyclopedia idiotica (ed. Tuukka Hämäläinen): book based on CMX’s website’s forum, together with A.W.Yrjänä
Second form, Tornio inter-schools skiing competition, Silver Medal, 1976

Photo: AJ Savolainen
Written by Riitta-Ilona Hurmerinta
Translated by John Calton

From Computer Geek to Musicologist

Janne Halmkrona began his university studies at the University of Joensuu (present-day University of Eastern Finland) in 1987, majoring in computer science. In addition to computer science, mathematics and sociology, Halmkrona took language courses, but he didn’t feel at home. He had moved from Tornio to Joensuu straight after upper secondary school, it was a long way from home, and his friends were scattered all over Finland. After a couple of years, he moved south to continue his studies at the University of Helsinki.

– I didn’t know anyone here either. A friend from Tornio and a former bandmate called Aki Yrjänä was living in Espoo and I myself lived first in a Helsinki suburb and then in a student flat in north Helsinki. I tried to concentrate on my studies, and at weekends Yrjänä and I were putting together a band. But then I ended up as a member of CMX, a band that Yrjänä had founded back in Tornio. I don’t think I was very serious about becoming a rock musician since right after we issued our first album I went to the States on a student exchange in the autumn of 1991.

Janne Halmkrona busy programming at the University of the Pacific in 1991.​
Janne Halmkrona busy programming at the University of the Pacific in 1991.​

Halmkrona studied at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California, taking courses in programming, logic, telecommunications, badminton and swimming. During that semester he realised he didn’t want to be a programmer nor a computer scientist. When he returned to Finland he was browsing the university study guide and stumbled across computer-aided musicology, which was offered in the Faculty of Arts.

– My first attempt at the entrance exam was an utter failure. They expected you to be able to read music and recognise songs. That was completely alien to me. But the following year I got a place to study musicology.

On changing his main subject, Halmkrona already had the credits he needed for a subsidiary in computer science, mathematics and theoretical philosophy. Musicology felt like his thing although he did need remedial tutoring in ear training and singing intervals.

– The subject was still finding its place and I think some of the courses were cobbled together a bit hastily. But it was great to do different kinds of stuff in the music studio, and of course my programming and IT skills helped me a lot.

When writing his MA thesis, Halmkrona made use of the contacts he had formed through CMX, studying small record companies.

– One of my fellow students wrote his thesis on music videos, another on jazz improvisations. Before that, I had thought that university research would be somehow more serious. Maybe it is, we just happened to choose ‘soft’ topics.

Towards the end of his university studies, Janne Halmkrona played the guitar in CMX and worked as a programmer in an IT company. However, this did not stop him from finishing his degree.

– A summer job in a programming company almost turned into a more permanent position, but I woke up early enough to the fact that I wanted to finish my thesis and graduate. It felt great to finally get my diploma in 1996. Even my parents sighed a breath of relief. Perhaps prematurely.”

Janne Halmkrona by the campus water fountain at the University of the Pacific in 1991.​
Janne Halmkrona by the campus water fountain at the University of the Pacific in 1991.​


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