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Mauri Antero Numminen

Born March 12, 1940, Somero

Student at the University of Helsinki 1960–67 (philosophy, linguistics and sociology, as well as Inuit and Bantu languages, folk poetry, economics, ethnography, Finno-Ugrian languages, astronomy and politics)

Musician, author, cultural all-rounder
Record producer 1970–79, Love Records
Chairman 1997–2000, Finland’s Beer Society

The works of M. A. Numminen

Finland Prize 1993
Swedish-Finnish Cultural Foundation Cultural Prize 1997
The Alexis Kivi Society’s Esko award 2005
Honorary PhD 2001, Åbo Akademi University
Honorary PhD 2014, University of Helsinki


Photo: Dex Viihde Agency
Written by Mauri Antero Numminen, Juha Merimaa and Olli Siitonen
Translated by Matthew Billington

Some Philosophy and Advice for Students

M.A Numminen on stage at Norrtälje on October 10, 2015. Photo by Tomas Wennbom.

Mauri Antero Numminen never completed his degree, but it has never much bothered him. Numminen, best known for his musical output, has participated in philosophy seminars in Sweden and at Åbo Akademi University. He also keeps himself abreast of developments in various fields.

Numminen is known for the Tractatus series, composed in 1966, which contains 6 songs based on the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus by Ludwig Wittgenstein. In addition to the Tractatus Suite, Numminen was commissioned to compose an atonal operetta titled Rameaus brorson (‘Nephew of Rameau’) for the 1993 philosophy conference in Stockholm.

From his recent work, Numminen mentions a cantata performed in July 2015 in Germany, titled Verliebte Philosophen. Hannah Arendt und Martin Heidegger. Eine Liebe in Prosa und Poesie. The cantata is based on the relationship between Hannah Arendt and Martin Heidegger.

“The piece was performed at the 60th anniversary of the Kassel dOCUMENTA art festival. It was written for three operatic singers and a classical quintet. Due to “public demand,” I performed two songs at the event based on Heidegger’s works that were so abstruse that the audience laughed because they could not understand anything. That was fun!”

  • M. A. Numminen singing Wittgenstein in Oslo: Wovon man nicht sprechen kann


Numminen uses his own experiences to guide young students wading through academic waters.

“While studying at university, it is good to have other hobbies as well. Cultural events and nights spent in restaurants are important experiences for the adulthood to come. When it comes to studying itself, it behoves you to milk all the knowledge you possibly can out of professors and teachers. They are at the university to share knowledge with others. Students must take advantage of this assiduously.”

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