Ilpo Martikainen

Son of awaked family had the sense of listening to music.

Ilpo Martikainen, the founder of Genelec Oy, passed away on 30th of January 2017 after a long illness. He was 69 years old, born in Lapinlahti on the 22nd of December in 1947.

Martikainen grew up at the farm house where reading, knowledge, foreign languages, music, and the spirituality of Lutheran pietistic movement “Awakening” (körttiläisyys) were highly valued. Besides these matters, Ilpo was devoted to mechanics.

He was put to school in the age of five, so he could join the farm work at home faster. Martikainen begun his loggers work in early age. Soon he found himself sitting, thinking ”is this it?”

Martikainen was postgraduate in acoustics and his plans turned in a new direction when he was asked by Finnish Broadcasting Company Yleisradio to design an active loudspeaker suitable for professional radio production. A succesful prototype made it possible to found a company in 1978 and move back to his childhood home.

After demanding years of learning, the speakers of Genelec became phenomenal. Genelec became an agent of change within audio world and its activities increased worldwide. On the basis of the unique spiritual point of view, scientific curiosity and lot of work, Genelec became the leading brand in the field.

Under the leadership of Martikainen, Genelec developed the extraordinary culture and philosophy of its own. Ilpo’s wife and theologian named Annikki, whom he described as asharp and warm hearted teacher, was the key person in seeking and protecting these attributes. Being an entrepreuner was a way of life to him and the company was like poetry.

Martikainen didn´t aim to have as much money as possible. Instead, the end users were in the center of his attention. It was the target of whole business to introduce solutions to the problems of customers and to create products that fulfilled dreams and created joy for professionals in the audio world.

Martikainen was awarded The Prize of the President of Finland. Kauppalehti, the leading magazine in business in Finland, nominated him The Manager of the Year and Aalto University doctor honoris causis of technology. The products of Genelec have been awarded by numerous highly valued international prizes.

Besides Genelec, Ilpo served more than 25 years on the board of Portaanpää Christian Institution, mainly as its chairman. In his view, the humanistic view of education and the idea of free enterprise were in harmony with each other.

Ilpo Martikainen was an authentic repsentative of the old covenant, but he did not see traditions as untouchable ideas that belonged in museums. The pine pain bark bread tradition of The Awakening was transferred to the production of loudspeakers, for instance within the choices of material. When we used wood composite for our speakers, he said, “We have put half of the pine bark into it.”

Ilpo was quiet, shy and humble of character, full of “sisu”, a person who had found balance between reason and emotion. When he sat in a plane and read during his travels, he was thought to be an orthodox priest. He had two listening ears and one mouth. When talking in his deliberate fashion, his sentences were absolutely quotable. In Japan, Ilpo-san felt cozy and in the taxis of New York he was unfomfortable.

Lumbering in the forests surrounding his farm house was characteristic of him more than hanging out in the jet set parties.

The loving beat of Ilpo’s heart belonged to his family.

Siamäk Naghian and Petri Järveläinen