The winner of Esko Linnavalli Composition Competition is Alex Cassanyes from Spain


The winner of the Esko Linnavalli Big Band Composition Competition is Alex Cassanyes from Spain with his composition El mal de Montano. The second prize goes to German Tobias Hoffmann and his piece Venteto. The third prize was split into two: to Dr. John Mills (USA) and his Helsinki Rules, and to Manuel Dunkel’s (FIN) Ancient Dance. Also the concert audience voted their favorite and that prize went to Mikko Pellinen’s (FIN) Dark of Light

The Finnish Big Band Association and UMO Helsinki Jazz Orchestra were organizing the competition for the 8th time: it has been organized biennially since 2005. This year the competition was very international and of high quality and got a record number of compositions, 31 – 12 of which from outside Finland. Ten of the compositions were picked by jury to the final concert, which was held in Savoy Theatre Helsinki on Tuesday 28th of May. UMO Helsinki Jazz Orchestra, conducted by Antti Rissanen played the pieces in front of sold out venue. 

Alex Cassanyes Sabater, born in 1982 in Barcelona, is a composer and arranger. He has been recognized with international awards also before: he got the 1st place in “The 1st European Bigband Composer Competition” in Copenhagen. In  2014, the 1st Prize in the “Concorso Internazionale de Composizione per Orchestra Jazz” and the 1st Prize in the arrangement competition of the “XXXVth Festival Internacional de Jazz de Granada”. His main project is centered leading his own band called “Alex Cassanyes Big Band Project”. Alex studied musical composition in ESMUC (Barcelona) and has recently taken lessons with composers / arrangers Duccio Bertini, John Hollenbeck and Florian Ross. Currently, Alex is a teacher and the Big Band’s conductor at the School of Music of Vilafranca del Penedes (Barcelona).  

The competition pays homage to UMO’s late founding father, conductor Esko Linnavalli (1941–1991), the artistic director of the orchestra in 1975–1991. Thanks to mr. Linnavalli, UMO developed into an internationally distinguished jazz orchestra and a steady pillar of the Finnish music scene. 

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