Composer Panu Aaltio has been presented with the International Film Music Critics Association Award for Best Documentary Score in 2012, for his score for Metsän Tarina, by IFMCA members Jon Broxton and Craig Richard Lysy.
This is Aaltio’s first nomination and first win. The other nominees in the documentary category were Kingdom of Plants by Joel Douek, Freddy Sheinfeld and Elik Alvarez, Los Mundos Sutiles by Pascal Gaigne, Samsara by Lisa Gerrard and Michael Stearns, and Shakespeare & Us by Miguel d’Oliveira.
Metsän Tarina, known in English as The Tale of a Forest, is directed by Kim Saarniluoto and Ville Suhonen, and is a sweeping, beautiful look at the rich animal and plant life that makes its home in the spectacular forests of northern Finland, and the obstacles both must overcome as the seasons change. Thematic, expressive, colorful and lively, Aaltio’s multi-faceted orchestral score accompanies the trials and tribulations of those that live in the region with drama, adventure, playfulness, and a vivid sense of wonder. IFMCA member James Southall called Aaltio’s music “simply exquisite” and hailed the score as “one of the most impressive of 2012”
Aaltio was born in the small town of Nurmijärvi in Finland in 1982. A classically trained cellist since the age of six, Aaltio studied at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, and at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, where he received the Harry Warren Scholarship for Excellence in Film Scoring. He began his career working with fellow Finnish composer Tuomas Kantelinen on scores such as Mother of Mine, Year of the Wolf and Arn: Tempelriddaren, and scored several small Finnish TV projects, before making his mainstream film music debut with the film The Tale of Dark Butterflies in 2008, for which he received a Jussi Award nomination, Finland’s equivalent of the Oscars
Since then, Aaltio’s credits have included the video game Apache Air Assault in 2010, the fantasy action-adventure Dawn of the Dragonslayer in 2011, and the thriller Syvälle Salattu (Body of Water), also in 2011. Three of his scores – including Metsän Tarina – have been released by the independent record label MovieScore Media, and are available for purchase here.
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Photos by Holly McQuillan