Very happy and proud of my composer friends Jonne Valtonen and Roger Wanamo who this year both won the Pirkanmaa Cultural Prize for their lifework in orchestrating game music for symphony orchestras around the world (LSO, Tokyo Phil, Stockholm Phil etc)! And now they have also been invited by the president to his Independence Day Celebration in the Presidential Palace!
|Roger Wanamo and Jonne Valtonen at the President's Independence Day Celebration 2018|
Finland became independent 100 years ago and has grown from a poor country to one of the richest in the world, so we are quite proud and thankful of our independence and celebrate it in a respectful way. Every year the president of Finland organises a Independence Day Celebration in the Presidential Palace, where he invites the people he has met during the past year. Politicians and sports people are often invited but sadly cultural people and musicians are seen more and more rarely. The president shakes hands with every one of the around 2000 guests which are invited, and the official part of the party is broadcast on national TV and is the most watched program of the year! So to be one among the invited is a very big honour!
Very proud of my two friends, who were invited! And I think it’s quite ironic that the independent composition program at Tampere University was put down, officially due to that people didn’t get “employed” after graduating (but mainly due to money being cut in educational sectors), but people who have studied in Tampere have done better career wise and become more known in the world than maybe any other students in the whole Tampere University of Applied Sciences! I already mentioned Jonne’s and Roger’s enormous successes and also composers such as Paavo Korpijaakko have been commissioned by the Finnish RSO and Tampere Phil, composer Minna Leinonen is now doing her doctorate in composition (after studying in Tampere) and is making her living as a freelance composer, Jouni Bäckström has in addition to singing also composed a lot of new music and I’m also quite proud about having been commissioned by the Finnish National Opera before turning 30 and having signed with a publisher before having officially graduated from my masters.