Composer Osmo Tapio Räihälä awarded with Finlandia literary award

Composer Osmo Tapio Räihälä has been awarded with Finlandia – the Finnish literary award for his book discussing the difficulty of contemporary music. The book both presents the current state of contemporary music as well as encourages people to throw themselves into the music and observe the feelings that it evokes.

Räihälä’s book Miksi nykymusiikki on niin vaikeaa (Why is contemporary music so difficult) discusses the current state of contemporary music and offers insight on how to approach it. The idea for the book was born as Räihälä realized how contemporary music is often recognized as difficult and too distant from its original roots in classical music. The basic understanding of harmony and structures in classical music is often modified or even abandoned in contemporary compositions. This is one of the main points in Räihälä’s book as he suggests that the lack of structure makes contemporary music difficult to reach.

Räihälä also points out the role of media as one of the reasons behind the difficult nature of contemporary music. Classical and contemporary music have been marginalized in media for a long time. Therefore, this makes the prize even more significant as contemporary music gains a lot of attention in Finnish media.

The book also gives tools for the reader to approach contemporary music. Räihälä reminds that one doesn’t have to understand all about the structure and harmonies of the music, but instead should indulge in the music and explore the feelings it evokes.

“After all an artwork is always an experience and a feeling and that’s all that matters,” Räihälä outlines.

Osmo Tapio Räihälä (born in 1964) has background in music journalism and composing. Finlandia – the Finnish literary award is the most prestigious literary award in Finland and has been awarded to outstanding Finnish publications since 1984. The Finlandia prizes are awarded in three categories: fiction (novels), non-fiction and children’s and youth literature.

Miksi nykymusiikki on niin vaikeaa has been published in 2021 by Atena.

Read our 2018 spotlight article about Räihälä here.