Just in: Brit composer is first non-Dane, non-male to win Carl Nielsen prize

Just in: Brit composer is first non-Dane, non-male to win Carl Nielsen prize


norman lebrecht

November 26, 2015

Berlin-based and not much performed in Britain, Juliana Hodkinson has been named winner of the annual Carl Nielsen Prize. Tomorrow in Copenhagen Julia will collect a statue and 80,000 Euros.

Go, Julia.

Julia Hodkinson


  • william osborne says:

    There seems to be some correlations. She lived in Denmark for many years and studied with Hans Abrahamsen (who just won the Grawemeyer Award.) Scandinavia devotes enormous sums of public funding to the arts and as a consequence has a larger presence in the classical music world than their small populations would indicate.

    Regarding the video, I wonder to what extent electronic controllers like those used (a small mixer and a computer interface with some buttons and knobs) are genuinely meaningful in live performance. I notice, in fact, that the video, at least in part, is not the actual live performance, and has been edited together from additional clips of the performer to at least some extent. (This can be seen between 6:00-6:50.)

    Do electronic interfaces offer a quick path to putting the body in music? Is it possible to create genuinely meaningful corporeality in music without the long, existential process of making an instrument and the body-mind one? To what extent is that relationship expressed by the inherently facile and somewhat superficial relationship performers have to these electronic controllers? When we weaken the deep involvement of the body in music-making, do we weaken cognitive structures that are essential to musical meaning? If these issues are seen as problems, how will computer music musicians solve them?

    • John Borstlap says:

      Public funding for performing bodies can only be applauded. But where it tries to stimulate new creation, problems arise. This video is embarrassingly naive and shows what happens when underdeveloped minds get their hands at electronics and the sayings of John Cage. Why not cutting through the crap and conclude that generous state subsidies for new music merely produces mediocrity and non-talent, as this video amply demonstrates? Electronic media in composition liberates the ‘composer’ from dealing with the complex relationships existing between composer-performer-listener, such procedures take-out the human self and what is left, is mere sterile messing around.

      Poor Nielsen! What a humiliation.

  • Emil says:

    The prize is:
    1) called the Carl Nielsen and Anne-Marie Carl-Nielsen Honorary Prize.
    2) given bi-annually to musicians and composers, and bi-annually to sculptors
    3) has been won, on the musical side, by Sergei Azizian
    4) Has been won, again on the musical side, by Henriette Bonde-Hansen, Elisabeth Westenholz, Inger Dam-Jensen, Grethe Krogh, Anne Øland…

    So Ms Hodkinson is the first female non Danish COMPOSER. She is NOT the first foreigner, nor the first woman to receive the prize.

    Source: http://www.nielsen-legat.dk/haederspriser/komponister.aspx

  • RW2013 says:

    Music written by a “non-male” appears here to be non-music.

    • John Borstlap says:

      Indeed…. The world is full of non-males, non-composers and non-Danes. And if you are the best, you get a non-prize plus some money to compensate for the humiliation.

    • william osborne says:

      Those familiar with computer music and sound design quickly recognize that she is one of the best in the field – hence her many accolades and support by knowledge people.

  • thorvaldsson says:

    Who needs music that is performed by composer herself on the violin, but she can’t play it?
    A kind of mediocracy takes over everything…
    Compare this music with Schubert, so you will see imidiate difference.

  • Ravi Narasimhan says:

    That’s a lot of money for a random number generator. Algorithms… they’re everywhere.

    • John Borstlap says:

      The prize and the money seem to derive their justification from the need to give the territory of ‘electronic composition’, which lingers at the margins of the cultural world as a softly murmuring jamming station, some moral support.