Jarmo Sermilä (b. 1939) studied composition under the guidance of Prof. Joonas Kokkonen at the Sibelius Academy ( in Helsinki. At the same time he studied musicology at the Helsinki University. In 1975, he received his composition diploma and Master of Arts degree. Besides academic studies he studied composition privately in Prague with Prof. Frantisek Kovarícek.

Sermilä has composed ballet music and orchestral works, but the focal point in his output is in chamber music and electroacoustic music. In his early pieces he used atonality as the main tool, but never in strict or serialist way, because his keen interest in Edgard Varèse's music lead him to use totally free tonality. He has always been very fond of the alternation of comprehensions of spatial and periodic rhythm. In the longer time span this has lead from quite spatial, tempoless music towards strictly notated periodic music with clear pulse. Being acquainted with melody instruments, his starting point in all composing is a linear line - the horizontal factor instead of the vertical one.

In Finland, Jarmo Sermilä has had many duties. In the 70s he was director of Finnish Music Information Centre ( During the same decade he was co-founder and artistic director of the Experimental Music Studio of the Finnish Broadcasting Company. In 1981-2005 he has been vice president of the Finnish Composers' Society (, in 1994-1999 he was the vice president of the Finnish performing rights' office Teosto (www. and in 1987-1999 he worked as artistic director of the annual new music festival, Time of Music (Viitasaari, Finland, In 1999-2000 he was active as program coordinator for the Nordic Music Days held in Finland through September 21-27, 2000. From 2001-2003 he was member of the state music committee in Ministry of Culture ( The Hämeenlinna City Orchestra invited him as composer-in-residence in 2004-2008. Though he has basically functioned as free composer, he has also run his own publishing and record producing company. In 2004 he was appointed the honorary title of Professor by the President of Finland. In 2005 he was nominated as Honorary Member of the Finnish Composers' Society.