The prize was awarded by conductor and former winner of the prize Susanna Mälkki at an awards ceremony at the Stockholm Concert Hall, which was broadcast live on Tuesday evening.
The prize is awarded on alternate years to a work by a living composer in one year and, as this year, to an ensemble or artist the next.
The jury said
Gyða Valtýsdóttir is an Icelandic musician who is classically trained but unbound by genre. At an early age she was a founding member of the lauded electronic experimental band múm. A multifaceted performer, she has since been a prominent part of Iceland’s music scene.
Fundamentally a classically trained cellist, Gyða has in recent years been performing her own music as well as collaborating with other musicians across genres. She has used her training to fulfil her visions and delivers her holistic approach to music in an organic way and with admirable technique. Gyða’s music and performance is highly unique and captivating, demonstrating a special sense of phrasing and timing. She is a particularly distinctive performer with a fascinating, earthy presence in live performance – a presence that is fragile and subtle, yet powerful and temperamental. Her deeply personal and organic performance is eminent throughout, whether playing the cello, singing, using her distinctive vocals, or playing other instruments, and has a fundamental originality to it.
Gyða crosses and bridges the gap between musical genres in a unique way, not least by dismissing any notion of their differences. Whether performing her own music or the music of others she brings her personal originality to the music through her instrumental inventiveness.
You can watch the awards ceremony for the 2019 Nordic Council Prizes here
The awards ceremony for the 2019 Nordic Council Prizes was broadcast live from the Stockholm Concert Hall. The programme can be watched via the following links and at the following times until spring 2020.
About the Nordic Council prizes
The Nordic Council awards five prizes each year – for literature, film, music, the environment, and children’s and young people’s literature. Each prize of DKK 350,000 is awarded at a gala event during the annual Session of the Nordic Council.