Sanna Salmenkallio receives Harpa Award for her music for the film Aalto

Composer Sanna Salmenkallio was awarded the Nordic Harpa Film Music Prize on Saturday 12 February. The prize is awarded annually at the Nordic Film Music Days in connection with the Berlin Film Festival.

The international jury states that Sanna Salmenkallio's composition in Virpi Suutari's film Aalto is "mesmerizing" and "a very well written and very intimate score, made as a classical suite". The explanatory memorandum describes how the composition “manages to humanize the furniture and architecture that is seen in the documentary, making us feel the objects and buildings and creating a strong sense of connecting with both the man and his art ”.

"Rewarding this music internationally means a lot to me, I thank Alvar and Aino Aalto for their example in internationality, courage and perseverance. Without these pioneers, I wouldn't be here. I would also like to thank Virpi Suutari and the entire extremely skilled and committed film crew who gave me the opportunity to be part of a complete work of art in accordance with Aalto's ideology.” Salmenkallio says in her words of praise.

The Aalto documentary, directed by Virpi Suutari and premiered in 2020, is compiled mainly from archival materials found as a result of huge background work, which Sanna Salmenkallio's elegant and moving music opens up into a spatial and emotional experience.

The Harpa Film Music Prize has been awarded since 2010. Finnish composers have won the Harpa Prize twice before (Tuomas Kantelinen 2013 and Dani Strömbäck 2010). Sanna Salmenkallio is the first female composer to win the award.

The Harpa competition is organized in co-operation with the Nordic music producers' organizations and music export promotion organizations. Finland is represented in the community by Suomen Musiikintekijät and Music Finland.

The members of the international jury this year were Flemming Nordkrog (Denmark), Lucy Bright (UK), Mark Siegmund (Germany / Korea), Miriam Cutler (USA) and Thomas Van Parys (Belgium).

The other nominees of the year were Jonas Struck, Denmark (Vores mand i Amerika); Tóti Guðnason, Iceland (Lamb); Erik Ljunggren, Norway (Gritt) and Johan Testad, Sweden (Björnstad).

Watch the official trailer for Aalto: