Erkki Salmenhaara
Humanist of the day

Erkki Salmenhaara

Erkki Salmenhaara was one of the most important music researchers and composers in Finland in the second half of the 20th century. He held a Professor of Musicology post and for over 30 years his research concentrated on music history and theory. He is remembered especially for writing the biographies of Jean Sibelius and Leevi Madetoja. Salmenhaara was a wide-ranging composer; his repertoire included choral music, piano music, chamber music, electronic music, opera and symphonies.

Erkki Salmenhaara

Erkki Olavi Salmenhaara
Born March 12, 1941, Helsinki. Died March 19, 2002, Helsinki.

BA 1964, licentiate 1965, PhD 1970 (Musicology), University of Helsinki
Cello studies 1948–54, Helsinki Conservatory of Music

Diploma degree in Composition from the Sibelius Academy, 1963
Musicology assistant 1961–66, lecturer 1966–74, assistant professor 1975–98, and professor 1998–99, University of Helsinki
Music critic at the Ylioppilaslehti student newspaper 1959–61, Kauppalehti daily 1962–63, and the Helsingin Sanomat daily 1963–72
Editorial staff of the Musiikki journal 1971–75 and 1987–98, Associate editor 1975–76, Editor-in-chief 1977–1987
Chair of the Society of Finnish Composers 1974–76 and member of the board of directors 1966–74, 1990–96
Chair of the Association of Finnish Symphony Orchestras 1974–78
Editorial staff of the ‘Big Encyclopaedia of Music’ (Otava) 1975–1980
Advisory board member of the ‘Great Encyclopaedia of Music’ (Weilin+Göös) 1989–1992
Jean Sibelius Collection planning committee member 1992–96 and editorial staff 1996–2000
Additional membership in the board of directors of many music organisations

Finnish Cultural Foundation Special Achievement Award 2002
Finlandia Prize, non-fiction category, for Suomen musiikin historia ‘The history of Finnish music’ (with F. Dahlström and M. Heiniö) 1997
Professor of the year 1996
Finnish Music Library Association’s Music Library Prize 1995
First Class Knight of the Order of the White Rose of Finland 1990
State Award for Public Information (for the biography of Leevi Madetoja) 1988
Public education fund’s Tammi Foundation Award 1984

Photo: Maarit Kytöharju, Music Finland
Written by Riitta-Ilona Hurmerinta
Translated by

Erkki Salmenhaara had already composed dozens of works when he began music composition studies at the Sibelius Academy at the turn of the 1960’s. He also took courses in musicology at the University of Helsinki. Salmenhaara’s compositional work was vast both in quantity and also in the use of musical genres.

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