BLOG: 1950s laureate now in her 90s

The Maj Lind Piano Competition was still just a small-scale event in the 1950s, open only to students at the Sibelius Academy. After the sixth competition, it began being held every other year.


No first prize was awarded at the fifth Sibelius Academy Maj Lind Piano Competition (October 27–28, 1950). The second prize of 40,000 marks (nowadays equivalent to about €1,500) went to Sirkka Harjunmaa. The newest member of the Jury was Kurt Walldén (1906–1979), who was both a pianist and a district court judge.

The competition was an all-ladies’ event. Taking part with Sirkka Harjunmaa were Liisa Karttunen, Maija-Liisa Liikkanen, Anna-Liisa Mäki and Kerstin Pettersson. The repertoire was all-male: the compulsory B&Bs were Bach’s Prelude and Fugue in A Flat and Beethoven’s Sonata in E Flat op. 31, no. 3. As her elective piece, Sirkka Harjunmaa played Brahms’s Scherzo in E-flat Minor.

Sirkka Harjunmaa (née Rytkönen, b. 1926) lives in Helsinki and is in good health.

Please read the blog Maj Lind! on the website of the Sibelius Academy of the University of the Arts Helsinki.

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comissioned work by Outi Tarkiainen

The commissioned work for the competition was composed by Outi Tarkiainen. Competitors may, in the second round, alternatively improvise on a theme. The theme is issued 20 minutes before performance.

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