Dies Erkki Salmenhaara
Composer Erkki Salmenhaara died at the age of 61 in Helsinki, Finland on Tuesday 19 March.
Erkki Salmenhaara (b. March 12, 1941, Helsinki) studied composition with Joonas Kokkonen at the Sibelius Academy, and with György Ligeti in Vienna. The critics and writers about music have never quite been able to decide on Salmenhaara’s place in the Finnish music spectrum. The substance of his later music is in itself traditional and familiar from the classical-romantic school, to which he often alludes as if to prove his historical awareness. Salmenhaara has, however, used traditional elements in a way that distinguishes his music from imitation of times past. Some have claimed to see traces of minimalism in his use of repetition, but the composer himself dissociates himself from all such assertions.
Composing was just one of the strings to this musician’s bow. He was Associate Professor of musicology at the University of Helsinki and the leading writer on music in Finland, producing texts in the finest scholarly tradition, often seasoned with gentle humour and esprit.
His literary output includes text books on music theory, a history of 20th century music, monographs on Ligeti, Sibelius’s Tapiola and the Brahms symphonies, biographies of Sibelius and Leevi Madetoja, and a history of the Society of Finnish Composers. His biggest literary achievement was his contribution on the period from the Romantic era to the Second World War to the four-volume history of Finnish music appearing in 1995 and 1996.
4 April, 2002