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Edvard Fazer Prize awarded to principal dancer Frans Valkama

The Finnish Cultural Foundation’s Edvard Fazer Prize has been awarded to principal dancer Frans Valkama of the Finnish National Ballet. Valkama received the award trophy and the accompanying 10,000 euro cheque onstage at the Finnish National Opera and Ballet’s premiere of The Stravinsky evening on Friday 19 April 2024. 

The prize was presented by the Finnish Cultural Foundation’s Vice Chairwoman of the Board of Trustees, Anne Birgitta Pessi and CEO Susanna Pettersson, and the Finnish National Ballet’s Artistic Director Javier Torres, who was also a member of the jury. Besides Torres, the jury comprised Leena Niemistö, Chair of the Board of the Finnish National Opera and Ballet and Gita Kadambi, General Director of the Finnish National Opera and Ballet.

According to the jury’s rationale, Frans Valkama’s musical talent, precision, and determination have earned everyone’s respect and admiration from the outset of his career. These qualities have also enabled him to reach the very highest technical and artistic standards, and over the years, his passion for dance arts has only grown and deepened. In addition to performing lead roles in numerous classical ballets, he has showcased his talents in a wide range of contemporary works. Beyond his prowess as a dancer, Frans is highly valued by his colleagues and the entire Finnish National Ballet staff for his remarkable empathy, readiness to help, and his impeccable work ethic.

Frans Valkama joined the Finnish National Ballet in 2005. He was promoted to soloist in 2011 and principal dancer in 2014.

The Edvard Fazer Prize of the Finnish Cultural Foundation has been awarded at the Finnish National Ballet 20 times, since 1984. Earlier winners have been the dancers Aku AhjolinnaUlrika HallbergMaija HänninenTommi KittiJarkko NiininenJuha KirjonenBarbora KohoutkováMinna TervamäkiJaakko EerolaCarolina AgüeroTimo KokkonenNicholas ZieglerSalla EerolaTiina MyllymäkiSamuli PoutanenMichal KrčmářEun-Ji Ha, Linda Haakana, and Abigail Sheppard. The entire ensemble of the Finnish National Ballet shared the prize in 1994.

The Finnish Cultural Foundation’s Edvard Fazer Prize

The Edvard Fazer Prize is a rotating trophy awarded biennially by the Finnish Cultural Foundation within the Finnish National Ballet for merits in promoting dance. The Edvard Fazer Prize was established in the 60th anniversary year of the Finnish National Ballet in 1982 and presented for the first time in 1984. The trophy is a silver cup, which was donated by the Titular Commercial Counsellor and Mrs. Roger Lindberg. It was originally gifted by the staff of the Finnish National Opera to their then Director, Edvard Fazer, for his seventieth birthday in 1931. In 1996, the Fazer Music Foundation transferred its assets to the Finnish Cultural Foundation, and the Fazer Music Fund was established. At that point, the award was renamed the Finnish Cultural Foundation’s Edvard Fazer Prize. Today, the Fazer Music Fund is known as the Roger Lindberg Music Fund. Its purpose is to support Finnish music arts and to award the prize named after Edvard Fazer.