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Press release from Ministry for Foreign Affairs

Nominees for the 2015 Music Export Prize

Published

The Government’s 2015 Music Export Prize will be presented on 29 February 2016 by Minister for Enterprise and Innovation Mikael Damberg. Today the nominees will be presented.

The nominees for the 2015 Music Export Prize are:

Ghost

The anonymous Papa Emeritus III and his Nameless Ghouls in Ghost have gone from strength to strength since the band was formed in Linköping in 2008, and the song 'Cirice' from their third album Meliora won a Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance. With a grandiose display accompanied by brilliant musical talent, hard work and assiduous touring, Ghost rapidly established itself internationally not just as a new successful Swedish band, but also as a conceptual phenomenon. The band's bio includes collaborations with producers such as Klas Åhlund and Dave Grohl, and they shared the stage early on with international names such as Slayer, Iron Maiden and Metallica. Ghost's captivating yet progressive hard rock music is difficult to define – the band members themselves have described their music as a mixture of pop and death metal. Whatever the definition, the Swedish band Ghost appears to be absolutely unstoppable.

Anders Hillborg

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.

Tove Lo

For many years now, songwriters and producers have been responsible for the success of Swedish music exports. 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.

Max Martin

Max Martin is the only music maker in the history of the Music Export Prize to have won the Music Export Prize and the Special Prize in the same year. But then again, he has achieved success on an almost absurd, historic scale. With 21 number-one hits on Billboard Hot 100, he is surpassed as a composer and producer only by Paul McCartney, John Lennon and George Martin. The year 2015 was another successful one internationally for this perhaps most played pop music maker of the 21st century. Taylor Swift, The Weeknd, Ellie Goulding and Adam Lambert are just some of the megastars that have made the charts with a little help from one of the greatest producers and songwriters of our time. The unparalleled achievements of the former French horn and hard rock musician this year as well can only be ignored by a pop history denier.

Esa-Pekka Salonen

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.

Shellback

When Johan 'Shellback' Schuster was awarded the 2012 Music Export Prize for his contributions to Swedish music exports, the producer and songwriter also met Refused, one of his favourite bands and that year's Special Prize winner. This resulted in the hardcore punk band's internationally acclaimed album, the first in 17 years, released in 2015. These songs, along with hits for Adam Lambert and Maroon 5, not only signified a comeback by one of Sweden's great international music makers, who had taken time away to recover from hectic, successful years. They also demonstrated his ability to work in musical genres other than those suited for the dance floor and radio.

Nina Stemme

With her warmth, drama and radiance, she is yet another of Sweden's exceptional singers through the ages. Nina Stemme consistently delivers on opera stages around the world. In 2015, she demonstrated her breadth and fearlessness by taking on well-established works as well as singing newly written works such as Hans Gefors's opera Notorious at the Göteborg Opera, and playing Turandot in the large open air theatre Dalhalla, a former limestone quarry. She has also been nominated for an International Opera Award in the category Readers' Award, and a Bachtrack Opera Award in the category Best Female Singer for her role in Tristan und Isolde at the Royal Opera House in London. Nina Stemme's voice has a magical quality. The combination of clarity, depth, intimacy and passion renders her characters unforgettable and moves opera audiences around the world to tears and exultation.

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