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Tuomas Holopainen

Tuomas Holopainen
Background information
Birth name Tuomas Lauri Johannes Holopainen
Born (1976-12-25) 25 December 1976 (age 39)
Origin Kitee, Finland
Genres Symphonic metal, power metal, gothic metal
Occupation(s) Musician, songwriter, producer
Instruments Keyboards, synthesizer, piano, vocals, saxophone, clarinet, guitar, bass, drums, percussion
Years active 1992 – present
Labels Spinefarm, Nuclear Blast, Roadrunner, Century Media, Drakkar Entertainment
Associated acts Nightwish, For My Pain..., Timo Rautiainen, Indica, Darkwoods My Betrothed
Website Official Website

Tuomas Lauri Johannes Holopainen (born 25 December 1976)[1] is a Finnish songwriter, multi-instrumentalist musician (but mainly keyboardist) and record producer, best known as the founder, leader, keyboardist and songwriter of symphonic metal band Nightwish.[2] He has also studied jazz and classical styles, but prefers to be influenced by harmonic film music.[1]

He has also played in the bands Nattvindens Gråt and Darkwoods My Betrothed, and collaborated with the gothic metal band For My Pain... and the band of Timo Rautiainen.[3]

Holopainen has written several songs that have been included in movie soundtracks, including a collaboration with Nightwish bass player, and male vocalist Marco Hietala on "While Your Lips Are Still Red", for the Finnish film Lieksa! in 2007. He also co-wrote the music for Nightwish's own film, Imaginaerum, released in November 2012.[4]

Holopainen released his first solo album Music Inspired by the Life and Times of Scrooge in 2014.


Tuomas Holopainen was born in Kitee, Finland on 25 December 1976 the son of entrepreneur Pentti Holopainen and Kirsti Nortia-Holopainen, a former music and English teacher in a small elementary school. He has an older sister named Susanna who works as a surgeon-urologist, and an older brother named Petri who is an autopsy assistant. His musicality and skill in text expression showed early in school.[5] His mother signed him up for piano class in school when he was seven years old,[6] and he later studied clarinet, tenor saxophone, piano and music theory for twelve years at a music college.[7] He hasn't played the clarinet nor the saxophone since the mid-nineties, though.[7] Originally aspiring to be a biologist,[7] Holopainen had no interest in metal until his school foreign exchange partner took him to see Metallica and Guns N' Roses in America, and he became hooked.[8]

Holopainen joined his first bands in 1993. He played in several bands, including recording keyboards for three albums with black metal band Darkwoods My Betrothed and playing with Dismal Silence, Nattvindens Gråt and Sethian.[1] Holopainen is a Disney, J. R. R. Tolkien and Dragonlance fan.[1] In 2006 Holopainen said that he is "not religious, but an open-minded, thinking individual". He does not consider "religion to be bad, but human interpretation of it."[9] His own religion is also something very personal to him.[9]

Musical career

Formation and first releases

In July 1996, a 19-year-old Holopainen began thinking of starting a band of his own, for which he would write the music and play keyboards. This was the birth of Nightwish, around a camp fire. He asked Erno "Emppu" Vuorinen (rhythm guitar) and classmate Tarja Turunen (vocals) to join what was then an acoustic project.[10] After hearing Turunen's strong voice, and because of the metal influences of Vuorinen and drummer Jukka Nevalainen, Tuomas decided to turn Nightwish into a metal act.[10]

Nightwish's first non-demo release, Angels Fall First, came in 1997,[11] followed by Oceanborn in 1998.[10] In 1999, Holopainen and members of other Finnish metal acts like Embraze, Eternal Tears of Sorrow, Charon and Reflexion started the gothic metal supergroup For My Pain.... However, as all the members were busy with their own bands, the project was postponed for the future.[2]

Nightwish's third studio album, Wishmaster, was released in 2000. The third release sold even better than the previous album. In 2001, again the idea of For My Pain... was brought up, and the members started planning a debut.[10]

World fame

In Nightwish's fourth studio album Century Child, released in 2002, Holopainen began collaborating with symphonic orchestras from Finland and the United Kingdom, which was a change in the band's music and Holopainen's style of composition, and also allowed for more freedom with additional instruments.[12] The use of orchestral elements has been present in the studio album releases from Nightwish as of 31 December 2007.

In 2003, For My Pain... released its debut album, entitled Fallen. The album was received well, but the band has since lost fans due to a lack of new albums –- for the same reason that Fallen was delayed by four years. In 2004 for My Pain... released "Killing Romance", a Finnish single with three previously unreleased tracks; "Killing Romance", "Joutsenlaulu" and "Too Sad to Live".

Nightwish's fifth studio album, Once was released in 2004, and became their US break-through. Singles "Nemo" and "Wish I Had an Angel" were played on MTV. Nightwish started their most extensive tour to date, the Once World Tour, visiting several countries, like Japan, for the first time. After the last concert (a filmed show in Hartwall Areena, Finland which was featured on the End of an Era DVD in 2006), in October 2005, Nightwish gave vocalist Tarja Turunen a letter explaining her dismissal from the band.

Current career

In 2006, Holopainen went through a dark period filled with anxiety and depression, made worse by rumours about himself and Nightwish in the tabloids every day. These events also inspired him in the writing of Dark Passion Play, Nightwish's sixth album.

Nightwish live in Melbourne, Australia, on 30 January 2008.

After heavy metal singer Timo Rautiainen's break up of Trio Niskalaukaus, he published his first solo album titled Sarvivuori with a crew gathered from different bands, including Holopainen on keyboards. Holopainen also wrote one song on the album. Early the next year, For My Pain... announced that they would soon start recording the successor to Fallen, but it was reported in the same autumn that the album once again was postponed.

In April 2007 Holopainen collaborated with fellow Nightwish member Marco Hietala to write a theme song for the Finnish film Lieksa!. The song, "While Your Lips Are Still Red", was the first song he had written specifically for a film, though several Nightwish songs ("Nemo", "Wish I Had an Angel", "Amaranth") have been included in film soundtracks. Holopainen has said that writing film scores is something he would like to do in the future.[13] On "While Your Lips Are Still Red", in addition to Holopainen on piano, Marco Hietala performs vocals and acoustic bass guitar, and Jukka Nevalainen plays drums.

In 2007, Holopainen played keyboards with Finnish punk band Kylähullut on their EP Lisää persettä rättipäille. He would return to play keyboards on their following album Peräaukko sivistyksessä. Holopainen can be heard singing with the chorus on both of these releases.[14]

The new vocalist for Nightwish was revealed in May 2007; Swede Anette Olzon, who appears on Dark Passion Play, released in late August of the same year. On 8 May 2008, it was announced that Holopainen would be the producer of Finnish pop/rock band Indica's next album, Valoissa, which was released in the fall of 2008. Holopainen was credited for helping to create the Finnish trance artist Orkidea's third album, Metaverse in 2008, for the collaboration in Orkidea's version of Nightwish's song "Bye Bye Beautiful" (Nightwish – Bye Bye Beautiful (DJ Orkidea Remix)).

Nightwish's seventh studio album, Imaginaerum, was released on 30 November 2011 in Finland and in North America on 10 January 2012.[4]

In 2013, Tuomas took part in creating the single "Why so lonely" with Kari Rueslatten (ex-The 3rd and the Mortal).

Solo Project

Holopainen originally confirmed that he was producing a solo project in 2012.[15] Holopainen stated on his website, The Escapist, that he planned to devote his time completely to songwriting for the project in Feb–April 2013 after the Nightwish Imaginaerum tour. In 2014 he released Music Inspired by the Life and Times of Scrooge based on the comic book series "The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck" by Don Rosa. The record featured Nightwish musician Troy Donockley as well as the London session musicians used previously in recent Nightwish releases.[16]



Holopainen is a source of inspiration for other bands, especially within symphonic, gothic and power metal. Simone Simons, lead singer of Epica, stated that she began singing due to Nightwish.[17] Ex-singer of Visions of Atlantis, Nicole Bogner, also acknowledged that Nightwish had greatly inspired the band, especially for their first album.[18]
File:Tuomas Holopainen Paris2008.jpg
Tuomas live with Nightwish in Paris, France, on 6 April 2008.
Sander Gommans of After Forever said that Nightwish "will certainly influence us in creating new songs".[19] Finnish power metal band Sonata Arctica's lead singer Tony Kakko, who has worked with Nightwish both in making the "Beauty and the Beast" duet with Tarja Turunen and as a crowd warmer, several times explained how much of an influence Nightwish is for him.[20]


In the early days of Nightwish, Holopainen was the band's male vocalist, performing all male vocals on Angels Fall First. For subsequent releases up until the arrival of bassist and male vocalist Marco Hietala, the band has recruited sessional male vocalists, as Holopainen preferred to focus entirely on his keyboards. However, he did sing Beauty and the Beast live if the band did not have a sessional singer available, contributed vocals to the track The Carpenter on Angels Fall First and chanting to the track Moondance on Oceanborn as well as vocals on Master Passion Greed (Dark Passion Play), although these songs are never performed live (with the exception of The Carpenter, which was performed at the Tavastia Club, Helsinki in 1998). He also performed the whispering in the background on While Your Lips Are Still Red, but he does not do this live.

On his profile on, Holopainen describes that his strangest on-stage experience was "'singing' in front of 20,000 people," and his worst nightmare on stage is "having to sing again."

Live gear

File:Tuska 20130630 - Nightwish - 66.jpg
Tuomas Holopainen live in a concert (2013)

Holopainen prefers Korg synthesizers and workstation as his live and studio gear. After using an M1 he borrowed from his school, he bought a Korg N364 Music Workstation with money borrowed from his father, which he continued to use live until the end of "Once Upon A Tour". He then added a Korg Trinity which was subsequently replaced by a Triton. In 2004 the then-new Korg Karma was added to the setup. In 2007, for the Dark Passion Play Tour, the N364 was retired and replaced with two Korg TRs in order to make maintenance and repairs easier. He uses K&M Spider stands. Holopainen has a very visual approach to setting up his live gear. For the last few concerts on the Once tour, he had all of his keyboards painted white, and switched to purple for the Dark Passion Play tour. In addition, he has a 12" Edward Scissorhands figure on his two-tiered keyboard stand, and a Jack Sparrow (from the Pirates of the Caribbean film series) figure on his single stand keyboard (to his left). During some concerts in the latest Imaginaerum tour Holopainen has had a large boat prop named Ocean Soul around his Keyboards.

Holopainen uses a Korg Oasys in the studio, and a few Oasys factory patches make an appearance on Dark Passion Play, but the instrument has yet to make it to the stage, instead the required patches are sampled and loaded into Holopainen's Triton keyboards.



With Nightwish


With Darkwoods My Betrothed

  • Heirs of the Northstar (1995)
  • Autumn Roars Thunder (1996)
  • Witch-Hunts (1998)

With Nattvindens Gråt

  • Där Svanar Flyger (1995)
  • A Bard's Tale (1995)
  • Chaos Without Theory (1997)

Other projects

  • Chronicles of Hethenesse- Book 1 the Shadow Descends (1999), Furthest Shore
  • Fallen (2003), For My Pain...
  • Sarvivuori (2006), Timo Rautiainen

As a session musician

  • Chamelion (1995), Plamen Dimov (tenor saxophone)[22]
  • Helvetistä itään (2003), Kotiteollisuus
  • Into the Silence (2003), Sethian
  • Sufferion - Hamartia of Prudence (2003), Silentium
  • Kylmä tila (2004), Timo Rautianen & Trio Niskalaukaus
  • Lisää persettä rättipäille (2007), Kylähullut
  • Peräaukko sivistyksessä (2007), Kylähullut
  • Why So Lonely? (2014) Kari Rueslatten


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "The Band " Members " Tuomas". Nightwish. Retrieved 12 April 2014. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Lahtinen, Luxi. "Interview with Nightwish – Tuomas Holopainen". Metal Rules. Retrieved 15 November 2009. 
  3. "For My Pain". Metal from Finland. Retrieved 20 February 2009. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 "NIGHTWISH Completes Work on New Pre-Production Demo". 2 June 2010. Retrieved 12 April 2014. 
  5. "Kirsti Nortia-Holopainen: "I'm there for Tuomas when he has heartache"". Retrieved 7 August 2010. 
  6. "Tuomas Holopainen Biography". Valley of Wishes. Archived from the original on 7 November 2006. Retrieved 12 April 2014. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 "Headliner meets Nightwish". Headliner Magazine. October 2014. pp. 34–35. Retrieved 20 October 2014. 
  8. Ruskell, Nick (16 August 2008). "Treasure Chest – An Ultimate Portrait of a Life in Rock – Tuomas Holopainen". Kerrang! (Bauer Media Group) (1223): 54. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 "The Band " Nightmail " Tuomas". Nightwish. June 2006. Retrieved 12 April 2014. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 "Nightwish Label Information". Spinefarm Records. Retrieved 15 November 2009. 
  11. "Angels Fall First- Nightwish". Allmusic. Retrieved 15 November 2009. 
  12. " band diary". Retrieved 18 February 2015. 
  13. " – Nightmail". Retrieved 18 February 2015. 
  14. "Kylähullut". Members. Retrieved 5 September 2008. 
  15. Holopainen, Tuomas. "The Escapist". Diary Entry on The Escapist. Retrieved 5 December 2012. 
  16. "Video: Nightwish's Holopainen Talks About His 'The Life And Times Of Scrooge Mc Duck' Project". 7 November 2013. Retrieved 2014-07-28. 
  17. "Epica Online". Profile Simone. Retrieved 28 December 2005. 
  18. "Musical Discoveries". Visions of Atlantis (Nicole Bogner). Retrieved 30 December 2005. 
  19. "Musical Discoveries". After Forever. Retrieved 30 December 2005. 
  20. "The Gauntlet". Sonata Arctica Interview. Retrieved 17 June 2007. 
  21. "Tuomas Holopainen". Retrieved 18 February 2015. 
  22. "Interview With PLAMEN DIMOV: “The historical moment in my career is when I met five young and talented Finns whom I’ve had the pleasure of lecturing music and later on in life, letting them fly away.” - Metal Shock Finland (World Assault )". Metal Shock Finland (World Assault ). Retrieved 18 February 2015. 

External links

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