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Press release from Ministry for Foreign Affairs

2015 Music Export Prize


The Government’s award for extraordinary services to Swedish music exports in 2015 goes to artist, songwriter and lyricist Tove Lo. The Government’s 2015 Special Prize for long-standing contributions to Swedish music exports goes to composer Anders Hillborg. The 2015 Commendation for achievements of particular importance to the internationalisation of Swedish music goes to conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen. The winners will accept their awards on 29 February 2016 at the International Press Centre.

"Sweden's music exports are an essential part of the modern image of Sweden abroad and therefore not only constitute an important industry but, from my perspective, a very important component of the broad and successful efforts to promote Sweden," says Minister for Enterprise and Innovation Mikael Damberg.

Tove Lo was awarded the nineteenth Music Export Prize with the following explanatory statement:

For many years now, songwriters and producers have been responsible for the success of Swedish music exports. As one of the greatest in Sweden in 2015, this year's winner is not just sought-after as a composer and lyricist for international artists; she has also made her breakthrough as an international artist in her own right, in particular with her unique, historic top-of the-charts achievements in the United States. Tove Lo, as she calls herself, takes the hits factory that emerged from the legendary Swedish Cheiron Studios one step further. She herself is part of the Cheiron tradition through her work with the studio's more recent group of stars – the young songwriter collective Wolf Cousins – that is already responsible for numerous international hits. Tove Lo belongs to a generation of musicians that views co-creation and collaboration in the studio as self-evident. She is a great role model for songwriters and artists and puts Sweden on the map with her creativity and natural stage presence – a deserving winner of the Government's 2015 Music Export Prize.

The other nominees for the Music Export Prize were Ghost, Max Martin, Shellback and Nina Stemme.

The Special Prize goes to a figure in the music industry who has made a long-standing contribution to Swedish music exports or has spread Swedish music abroad, thus helping promote a positive image of Sweden.

The explanatory statement reads:

In 1995, Anders Hillborg was awarded Composer of the Year at the Swedish Grammy Awards (Grammisgalan) for his musical compositions on Eva Dahlgren's album Jag vill se min älskade komma från det vilda (I want to see my beloved coming from the wild). But already twelve years earlier, he had composed Mouyayoum – the unique pioneering choral work that is now by far his most performed piece internationally. Before its planned premiere performance in 1985, the work was at first considered to be "both impossible and unsingable", but thirty years later Mouyayoum is a cherished work performed frequently as a matter of course by choirs around the world. There are around ten different recordings available and, with its tones, moods and compelling power, it is an excellent example of the composer's ability to captivate and take the audience on a journey into the future. Anders Hillborg is not only one of Sweden's most prominent composers, he is also among the foremost and most distinguished names in international art music. His broad palette spans orchestral, choral and chamber music as well as film and popular music. He works on a global basis and music capitals such as Los Angeles, Berlin and Stockholm are currently only three of the hubs around which Anders Hillborg's musical universe revolves.

This year, the commendation for achievements of particular importance to the internationalisation of Swedish music is awarded to Esa-Pekka Salonen. The prize is intended for people who have made an important contribution to the international success of Swedish music. This prize will only be awarded when there are special grounds to do so.

The explanatory statement reads:

Like no one else, he has made newly written music a matter of interest for others than just those who are already believers. He stands up unremittingly for contemporary music. Playing Beethoven, Bruckner and Brahms is not enough for Esa-Pekka Salonen, who, besides writing and performing his own music, also stands up for the music of his composer colleagues, not least his Nordic and Swedish colleagues. Esa-Pekka Salonen has performed music by Anders Hillborg, ranging from his collaboration with Eva Dahlgren on her album Jag vill se min älskade komma från det vilda to the premiere performances in Los Angeles and Berlin of Eleven Gates, Cold Heat and Sirens. As a conductor at the highest international level, Esa-Pekka Salonen has functioned as one of the foremost enablers of newly composed – not least Swedish – music reaching a larger audience.