The recipient of the new music award LHV Au-tasu is Märt-Matis Lill

The aim of the new music award Au-tasu bestowed by the Estonian Composers’ Union and LHV Bank is to appreciate original Estonian music and outstanding composers. Eligible candidates were compositions that premiered in 2019 and were written by an Estonian composer. The award comprises a financial grant and an artwork by glass artist Mare Saare.

The winner of the LHV new music award Au-Tasu was announced at a concert of the Estonian Music Days in the Arvo Pärt Centre on September 15. The award goes to Märt-Matis Lill for his Smoke Sauna Symphony.

This year, the winner of the award was announced for the fifth time. According to LHV Bank’s Chairman of the Board Erki Kilu, our composers make Estonia greater. “The best examples of our contemporary music undoubtedly transcend national borders and unite music lovers from all over the world. We are delighted to be able to help introduce new music and acknowledge these wonderful compositions,” Kilu commented.

According to jury member Kerri Kotta, Märt-Matis Lill’s Smoke Sauna Symphony is a composition that transcends genres, mapping the deeper layers of the Finno-Ugric subconscious and presenting it in an artistically compelling form. “Moreover, the composition is topical, as it provides an alternative to the trendy detachment of today and acts as a sort of gateway that offers the listener an opportunity to experience oneself and restore a connection with the more archaic layers of one’s consciousness. The composition masterfully combines sound, text and visual media so that they become inseparable; thus, it creates a new kind of syncretism that – without being religious in its traditional sense – is spiritually exceptionally powerful,” commented Kerri Kotta.

Smoke Sauna Symphony premiered on August 2, 2019 at Mooste Folgikoda in Southeast Estonia. The local smoke sauna customs have been included in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List. The music was composed by Märt-Matis Lill. The production included Kaspars Putniņš as conductor, Tarmo Tagamets as director and Liisa Soolepp as scenographer. The story about the essence and traditions of the smoke sauna was conveyed by folk musicians Mari Kalkun and Meelika Hainsoo, actors Agu Trolla, Lauli Otsar and Sten Karpov, the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir and percussionists Madis Metsamart and Petri Piiparinen.

Smoke Sauna Symphony was inspired by Southern Estonian folklore, the Finnish epic poem Kalevala and Hasso Krull’s When the Stones Were Still Soft. The composition was commissioned by the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, Võru Institute and Võro Selts VKKF.

Chairwoman of the jury Tiia Teder added that the competition for the award was exceptionally intense. “In total, 38 compositions submitted to the competition and this provided an impressive overview of the music composed last year. There were chamber works, extensive orchestral compositions, stage works and electronic compositions. The nominees included several generations of Estonian composers and the share of young composers was particularly delightful. The competition was a great success.”

The jury included Chairman of the jury Tiia Teder (radio channel Klassikaraadio), winner of the 2019 LHV Au-tasu award Helena Tulve (Estonian Composers’ Union), musicologist Kerri Kotta (Chairman of the Estonian Musicological Society) and singer Iris Oja.

The award was established by LHV Bank and the Estonian Music Days in 2016. The partners of LHV’s new music award Au-tasu are the Estonian Composers’ Union, the Estonian Music Information Centre and the classical music channel Klassikaraadio.

This year’s nominees for the LHV Au-tasu award were chosen from among 38 submissions and the 12 compositions by 11 composers were as follows:

Ekke Västrik Origami No. 2 (“Origami nr 2”)
Jüri Reinvere Before Leviathan Awakes (“Enne kui Leviaatan ärkab”)
Krõõt-Kärt Kaev Fragments
Madli-Marje Sink Dream Sequence of an Ancient Forest (“Ürgmetsa Ulm”)
Maria Kõrvits Darkness and Deeper Dark
Marianna Liik Kurzschluss
Märt-Matis Lill Smoke Sauna Symphony (“Suidsusannasümfoonia”)
Riho Esko Maimets …Infinite Blue Heights (“…sinikõrgustele”)
Sven Grünberg Traces Inside You (“Jäljed sinu sees”)
Tatjana Kozlova-Johannes The Beauty of Decay (“Lagunemise ilu”)
Ülo Krigul Echo of a Bell (“Tornikella kaja”)
Ülo Krigul Worlds…Break the Soundness (“Kuskil kõlade murdudes”)