The Nordic Council of Composers’ honorary prize for 2019 is awarded to UNM

Returning to its tradition of awarding honorary prizes to candidates who have served the interests of Nordic composers and their lives in exceptional ways, The Nordic Composition Council awards this year’s honorary prize to UNM (Ung Nordisk Musikk = Young Nordic Music), a Nordic organisation that works to promote collaboration between young Nordic composers and musicians.

The Nordic Council’s prize of NOK 50,000 was presented by the newly appointed president of the Nordic Council of Composers, composer Bent Sørensen during the closing concert at Nordic Music Days 2019 in Bodø’s concert hall on November 16.

Every year since 1946, UNM has arranged its UNM Festival, with performances of works by Nordic composers, sound artists and others who work with sound as an artistic medium – all under the age of thirty.

The youthfulness of composers is a central principle of the festival. On many occasions, UNM has played a crucial role in helping young composers to transition from student to professional status. UNM provides young composers with a serious performance setting and dedicated performers. The UNM Festival allows them to gather experience of the performance situation while enhancing professional knowledge through the provision of masterclasses, seminars and a forum for discussions with other young Nordic composers about music and aesthetics.

In addition to valuable experience relating to professional composing, many of the participants in this network also profit from the opportunity to engage with organisational work, since responsibility for the programme rotates from country to country. Thus young composers are able to build relevant networks of professional contacts that in many cases accompany them throughout their professional lives.

Both the Nordic Council of Composers and the various composers’ societies from which the council draws its members have recently conducted a survey about repertoire, which indicates that the exchange of Nordic music between the Nordic countries is minimal.

With this award, the council wishes to honour UNM not just for its enduring efforts on behalf of young composers and their reciprocal contacts, but also for its contribution in the form of concerts that have enabled Nordic audiences to become acquainted with music from across the region.

We congratulate UNM and hope that this prize will inspire continued efforts that promote Nordic exchange and cooperation.

For more about UNM, see