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Seven works nominated for the Teosto Prize


This year, seven works have been nominated for the Teosto Prize. Awarded since 2003, the Teosto Prize is one of the most noteworthy art prizes in the Nordic countries. If the prize is awarded to a single work or collection of works, the prize is EUR 25,000. If the prize is awarded to multiple works, the maximum amount of prize money is EUR 40,000.

All the nominated works and collections of works were published or premiered in 2019.

“Venturing into the world of Finnish musical creativity is always exciting,” says musician and music journalist Arttu Tolonen, who is the chairman of the preliminary selection panel. “Every year is unique. This year, the panel was impressed by the number of excellent jazz releases and the way in which old traditions are being updated and reapplied to new times and contexts. All members of the panel enjoyed the work this year as well, and I believe that the jury that chooses the actual winner will also enjoy their extremely difficult task. Any of the seven works would be a worthy winner of the prize.”

The Teosto Prize nominees:  

Folk – Jesse Markin
Totte Rautiainen’s and Jesse Markin’s compositions and lyrics for the album Folk.

FOLK is a melting pot where hip hop and ‘00s indie rock as well as pop, soul, electronic music and jazz become something new. Totte Rautiainen’s compositions and Jesse Markin’s lyrics represent the universal music of our time.

Hattarahiukset – Sur-rur
Ville Vuorenmaa’s compositions and lyrics as well as Ville Vuorenmaa’s, Kimmo Pohjapelto’s and Ville Laurila’s arrangements for the album Hattarahiukset.

On Sur-rur’s Hattarahiukset album, simple and sometimes even naive music is paired with irrepressible lyrics that flirt with surrealism. The album features pop culture icons such as Fleetwood Mac and Miss Marple as well as a knight that questions his dragon slaying, a revolutionary breadcrumb on the kitchen table, a robot stuck in the ‘50s and many others. Even when exploring unexpected themes, the band is able to surprise the listener with delicious details.

Lehtojärven Hirvenpää – Lehtojärven Hirvenpää
Harri Kuusijärvi’s compositions and Jaakko Laitinen’s lyrics for the album Lehtojärven Hirvenpää.

Lehtojärven Hirvenpää finds new ways to approach tango. In 2019, this is surely a heroic deed of some sort. Harri Kuusijärvi’s compositions find their musical influences somewhere between tango nuevo and Finnish dance pavilions. Jaakko Laitinen’s lyrics deal with themes that the genre has not explored before and do it in a tongue-in-cheek way, updating the Finnish jokester tradition. Armpit sweat stains come as part of the package.

Album Näytän missä asun – artist M
Minja Koski’s compositions and lyrics for the album M – Näytän missä asun.

Minja Koski’s compositions and lyrics represent beautiful pop music that looks at everyday life in a way that is distinctive and moving. The power of the compositions is demonstrated by how wonderful they sound within the sometimes very bare frame of the album.

…On Escher – Sami Klemola 
Sami Klemola’s composition …on Escher.

Klemola’s series of three works is deeply paradoxical. It makes minimalist maximalist, ambient aggressive and noise beautiful. But above all else, it is energetic and exuberant.

Album Syrtti – band OK:KO
Okko Saastamoinen’s compositions for the album Syrtti.

Syrtti stands out from other excellent recent Finnish jazz albums with its Finnishness. Jazz band OK:KO has managed to introduce elements of Finnish folk music to the over 50-year-old tradition of modal jazz in a way that is subtle and sensitive and does not draw attention to itself. The effect is energising and refreshing.

Album To Sappho – band Signe
Compositions and arrangements by Josefiina Vannesluoma, Selma Savolainen, Mikko Sarvanne and Sampo Kasurinen for texts by Sappho, Edith Södergran, Josefiina Vannesluoma and Selma Savolainen for the album To Sappho.

To Sappho expands our idea of what modern vocal groups can do. The compositions – which draw inspiration from jazz, experimental and mainstream pop and contemporary classical music – feature harmonic solutions that are very daring at times. The simple execution highlights both the richness and the theatricality of the melodies.

The Teosto Prize is awarded to bold, original and innovative works

Composers, lyricists and music publishers who are Teosto members reward bold, original and innovative Finnish music annually with the Teosto Prize. This year, the prize is being awarded for the 16th time.

The prize will be awarded to between one and four musical works or collections of works, and the maximum amount of prize money is EUR 40,000. If the prize is awarded to a single work or collection of works, the prize is EUR 25,000. The works may represent any genre, but they must have been produced after the previous award season.

The preliminary selection panel and jury

This nominees were selected by a preliminary selection panel. This year, the panel consisted of musician and music journalist Arttu Tolonen (panel chairman), music journalist and non-fiction writer Mervi Vuorela, music journalist Lotta Emanuelsson, music researcher and music journalist Mikael Mattila, journalist Katri Kallionpää, violinist Eriikka Maalismaa and DJ Bunuel.

The recipient or recipients of the prize are selected from the nominees by a five-member jury consisting of last year’s Teosto Prize winners Sebastian Hilli, Stina Koistinen and Nicolas ’Leissi’ Rehn as well as Ville Vilén (Creative Director of Yle) and conductor Dalia Stasevska, who were both invited by Teosto’s management team. The winner of the Teosto Prize will be announced at an event held at the Helsinki Music Centre restaurant on Thursday, 23 April.

Photo: AJ Savolainen

Listen to the 2020 nominees:


...on Escher part 1, part 2, part 3

Further information and requests for interviews

Teosto communications
Susanna Perämaa, +358 (0)50 558 8023

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