The Teosto prize is a prestigious prize awarded by the Finnish Composers’ Copyright Society ‘Teosto’ to highlight fresh, original and innovative works.
The prize is awarded each year to 1-4 works in any genre.
A splendid candidate for the year 2014 is obviously the Sid Hille Contemporary Collective’s recording ‘Outer Space’ that features just exactly all of the necessary elements for this prize:
– it is as fresh and alive as a concert performance can be, spontaneous, surprising, virtuosic and mesmerizing
– it is definitely original, combining instruments in a rather unusual way, with bass clarinet, guitar, piano and cello, (all of them having a very large range of register, each instrument being able to take turns as bass provider or as soloist, way up high in the register), and creating unusual, even unheard-of new textures, adding electronica to the traditional tone colors
– and most certainly it is innovative, by not only crossing boundaries between genres but simply defying them, rendering them irrelevant, saying: this is not music of a certain genre, this is simply music! Here and Now! (Where it should be.)
‘Outer Space’ is just the kind of work that the Teosto prize was instigated for.
And here is, why ‘Outer Space’ most likely will not even be nominated:
– works are nominated by the various genres’ peer groups, the classical Finnish Composers’ society, the pop composers’ and lyricists’ society Elvis, the publishing houses, some radio journalists.
– none of these peer groups have a particular interest in ‘Outer Space’, because
1. it represents neither typical contemporary classical nor typical jazz or pop music (which we consider its very merit)
2. as mainly improvised music it can’t be published in sheet music, so it’s out for the publishers and
3. with it’s duration of 40 minutes it has received practically no radio play at all, as it doesn’t fit into the slots and playlists that radio nowadays consists of. (There are a few great exceptions with programs such as Avaruusromua or Välilevyjä on the Finnish National Broadcast YLE 1).
– last year the award went to a pop musician, the year before to a contemporary classical composer and a pop singer, and the year before that, a folk musician got the prize. It’s been a while since a jazz act was awarded, so it’s easy to guess whose turn it will be this year. And it’s also the reason why this act will most likely be a clear-cut jazz purist – modernist of course, but mainstream nonetheless – that’ll keep the jazz guys happy for a while again, fair play between the genres, you know.
– even though ‘Outer Space’ has received some raving reviews from the essential critics in Finland, and even though the Sid Hille Contemporary Collective has been touring throughout the country, the phenomenon is utterly marginal next to the various music program formats, such as Voice of Finland and the likes, that have gotten huge media exposure – even the jazz radio didn’t touch ‘Outer Space’! And a small company like SatnaMusic has no means and resources to push their artists’ products in any similar way as the multi-nationals do.
The ways of the industry are mysterious: have the people who decide about this prize even heard of ‘Outer Space’?
Well, whatever! With your support, dear friends, readers and listeners, we will continue to produce quality, artistic and beautiful music, without compromise, not bending to fit any slots or peer groups, and maybe one day, by coincidence or destiny, somebody in the right position will pay attention and notice some of the very interesting things that are happening here, in the creative margins outside of the genres.