Ulf Stenberg/EMS

translation: Cambrian Language Service
original text (Swedish)


The emsPrize has been awarded now for the past two years. It is different from the prize that was awarded earlier in connection with the former Electronic Music Festival in Stockholm, the Stockholm Electronic Arts Award, in that it has one theme, that of text-sound compositions. However, there is nothing that says that this theme cannot be changed in a few years, if preferred. But at this moment, it is the text-sound theme that is of interest.

This is hardly by chance, of course. The EMS and Sweden have a long and glorious tradition in this area; indeed, text-sound composition is quite simply a Swedish invention, with such names as Åke Hodell, Sten Hansson, Lars-Gunnar Bodin, Bengt Emil Johnson and Ilmar Laaban as prominent figures; many of them are still active in their fiels. The introductory period at the beginning of the seventies, when there were also text-sound festivals at Fylkingen, remained in hindsight rather isolated, even though the composing process has never stopped. The eighties and nineties were no match for the introductory phase, even though the composing of text-sound pieces has continued (albeit partly along new lines).

The emsPrize intends to change all that and start the composing process again, as the concept itself is still alive to a very high degree and far from exhausted. There has never been any strict definition, if it is possible to make one at all, but it is at least initially, rather broad and open, which is also a conscious strategy designed to attract as many contributions as possible. There have been about 80 of these over the past two years. In summary, it can be said that they have been more about text and sound rather than text-sound in the traditional sense, and it is possible that we may make this more strict. At the same time, it has been intereting to see the scope and all the various conceptions of text and sound. The various interpretations have rally proved to be quite different from each other everything from radio documentaries to processed language sounds.

16 countries were presented last year and out of almost eighty contributions, half were from the USA. Almost all of the other were from Europe, and I assume that this is a relatively true reflection of the degree of activity in the various degrees of latitude. Surprisingly few contributions were from Sweden, however, somthing that we would like to see change in future. It will take time to awaken this sleepig beauty again, but she is already rubbing the sleep out of her eyes at least.


emsPrize WINNERS 2001

Out of 60 entries the jury of the emsPrize 2001 (Lars Gunnar Bodin, Anders Blomqvist and Ulf Stenberg) has decided to give the prize to two composers, Christian Banasik for ... letzte Gebūrde offener MŸnder and William Brunson for Creature Comforts with the following motivations:

Christian Banasik: "Within the framework of a classical text-sound-composition the composer elaborates a linguistic material into concentrated poetical brightness."

William Brunson: "With humour and love-and-hate-feelings the composer listens to and attacks our contemporary media world."

The jury has also picked out five honourable mentions:

Hsin-Wen Tsao for Clair de lune

Hanna Hartman for Die schrauben, die die welt zusammenhalten

Erik Peters for Allt som ligger under snön är gratis

Lidia Zielinska for Just too many words

Jaroslaw Lublin for Rum-Cum


emsPrize WINNERS 2002

Out of 75 entries the jury of the emsPrize 2002 (Erik Peters, Hanna Hartman and Ulf Stenberg) has decided to give the prize to two composers, Paul Rudy for Thema: Omaggio and Francis Corcoran for Quasi una Missa with the following motivations:

Paul Rudy: "with irony and humour the composer virtuosly transforms a very familiar soundmaterial to a playfull and coherent whole"

Francis Corcoran: "with an open mind the composer uncovers a concrete and traditional image- and linguistic material and places the maybe-higher-power in the middle of an irish stew"

The jury has also picked out three honourable mentions:

Angelo Sturiale for Voiceless madrigal

Hans Sydow for Dada3

Chris Mann for Double Standard


I would like to thank all participants for their contributions and congratulate winners and honourable mentions and also welcome everyone to the emsPrize 2003, which will have the same theme: text-sound-compositions.


Ulf Stenberg is the director of EMS (The Swedish National Electronic Music Foundation)










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