Hakola's music has been performed at several major music events and festivals. Performances of his works usually attract exceptional interest. Hakola is a creator of intense musical dramas that recognize no stylistic or expressive limits. His music is a combination of uncompromising dramatic power and exceptional musical quality. Musicianship is manifest in all his achievements resulting in communicativeness and richness of sound that speak of the composer's delight at discovering his very own idiom.
Hakola has composed two operas. The Mastersingers of Mars is a delightful cartoon opera including elements unusual for an opera, and his second opera The Mustard Seed is a serious study of a Finnish religious dissident. The Piano Concerto premiered at the Helsinki Festival in 1996 is an unprecedented work in new Finnish music in its expressive range, variety of styles and scope. The Clarinet Concerto has been a roaring success and it has performed several times since the premiere in 2001. The Chamber Concerto commissioned by Present Music was premiered in Milwaukee, USA in March 2002. Hakola has also composed a Sinfonietta in 1999.
One of Hakola’s largest works is Le Sacrifice, an oratorio tied in closely with the film of Andrei Tarkovsky and commissioned by Ircam for a performance in Paris in November 2002. It was one of the three winners of the first Teosto Prize awarderd by the Finnish Composers' Copyright Society Teosto in December 2003.
Hakola's oeuvre includes also chamber works, the weightiest of them being his three string quartets and the Clarinet Quintet from 1998. His recent works include Five Clips for clarinet and marimba, the orchestral Verdoyances crepuscules (2003) and Consolation (2004) for cello and piano.
Kimmo Hakola is the composer-in-residence of the Joensuu City Orchestra. Apart from composing he has also turned towards conducting and acting as a performing pianist. He has been the Artistic Director of the Musica nova festival since 1999 and the artistic director of the Finnish Radio Chamber Choir since 2005.