Finland’s musical dominance is under threat from cost-cutters.
Teachers at the Department of Musicology at Helsinki University have been told that their permanent positions are to be discontinued. Professor Eero Tarasti, author of 103 papapers, says the Department of Musicology has been effectively shut: ‘This means that a bond that has existed since 1640 has been shut down – – and it means a great loss to our national identity’.
Our correspondent adds:
Musicology at Helsinki University dates back to 1640 when the University of Turku was founded by the order of Queen Christina of Sweden. In 1820s the seat was changed to Helsinki by order of the Russian Tsar Alexander I. Over 375 years, teachers in the Musicology department have included Friedrich Pacius, Robert Kajanus, Jean Sibelius, Leevi Madetoja, Erkki Salmenhaara and Kalevi Aho.
Musicology will still be taught at the Sibelius Academy, but the studies there have a different profile: at the Helsinki University the studies in Musicology are more theoretically focused while in Sibelius Academy the focus is on instrumental teaching.
Kalevi Aho has addressed a personal appeal to the prime minister: ‘Finland will never be a financial superpower. If we have something to give to the world, it’s art and culture.’