For 2014 the Nordic Council Music Prize is to be awarded to a composer. Norway’s two nominees represent both contemporary and jazz composition respectively: Øyvind Torvund and his work ‘Constructing Jungle Books’ and saxophonist/composer Marius Neset and his piece ‘Lion’.
The €47000 prize will be presented to its final recipient at a Copenhagen ceremony on Oct 29th.
Øyvind Torvund: Constructing Jungle Books
In ‘Constructing Jungle Books’ (2014) the orchestra is interpreted as a jungle, filled with sounds from nature and strange wild animals. Between the trees there is a composer composing and writing the music down on paper. In his dialogue with the musicians, Øyvind Torvund combines musical notation and oral instruction. His “notes” might also be field recordings of natural sounds that musicians are asked to imitate, develop or hand over. Thus, this music also draws on folk music traditions in which music is conveyed through listening and playing, and where the performers have great freedom. The piece is written for the German Splitter Orchester, a group of performers searching to combine the individual and the collective, interpretation and free improv. Constructing Jungle Books premiered at the Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin in March 2014. Øyvind Torvund holds a DAAD scholarship from the same city.
Lion was written for the Trondheim Jazz Orchestra. Its composer, saxophone player Marius Neset, was awarded the 2011 “Sparebank 1 SMN JazZstipendiat” scholarship at the Molde International Jazz Festival. The scholarship involves a commissioned work to be written for the following year’s festival. Lion consists of eight sections, some named after animals, others evoking cosmic associations, like Golden Xplosion or Sacred Universe. The music springs from the core of jazz, performed however with an unusual nerve and authority. Neset’s writing is idiomatic yet challenging for the instruments in a way that combines power and elegance, and which makes Lion’s lineup of 13 musicians sound like a much larger group. At the same time, this chamber format allows for smooth shifts between melody and free improvisation, solos and orchestra. The arrangements stretch and challenge the performers technically and artistically. The work has toured festivals throughout Norway and has recently been released as in a recorded format.
The Music prize for creative and practical music was established in 1965 and was originally awarded every third year to a composer from one of the Nordic countries. Since 1990 the prize has been awarded every year alternately to a living composer and to individual artists or groups. In 1997 the autonomous territories, the Faroe Islands, Greenland and Åland were granted permission to make their own nominations for the prize.
The Nordic Council of Ministers appoints a Nordic adjudication committee, which chooses the prizewinner. The Adjudication Committee consists of one member from each of the five Nordic countries.
Past Norwegian Nordic Council Music Prize winners includes Mari Boine, Cikada Ensemble, Lasse Thoresen and Natasha Barrett.
The Music prize ceremony will be held in Copenhagen on Oct 29th