Maija Kauhanen and Petri Kumela nominated for Nordic Council Music Prize 2023

The nominees for the Nordic Council Music Prize 2023 have been announced this week. This year, Finland's nominees represent the genres of contemporary folk and classical music.

Finland’s nominees are kantele artist, composer and singer Maija Kauhanen (pictured above) and classical guitarist Petri Kumela. Åland – an autonomous region of Finland – has its own nominee, jazz quartet Whatclub.

Petri Kumela has been praised by YLE (Finnish Broadcasting Company) as "presently the best guitarist in Finland making records". Maija Kauhanen has played Womex Official Selection two times in a row: 2017 as a solo artist and in 2016 with the band Okra Playground – which was
chosen as "European band of the year" at Songlines Magazine's music awards just recently.

Established in 1965, the Nordic Council Music Prize is intended to recognise creative and practicing musicians of a high artistic standard. It is worth DKK 300 000 (approximately 40 000 €) and is awarded on alternate years to a work by a living composer in one year, and an individual performer or group the next, as is the case this year. The winner is chosen by an adjudication committee that consists of experts from the five Nordic countries. The Faroe Islands, Greenland and Åland have submitted nominations since 1997.

Among the previous Finnish winners are Aulis Sallinen (1978), Magnus Lindberg (1988), Leif Segerstam (1999), Kaija Saariaho (2000), Kari Kriikku (2009), Pekka Kuusisto (2013), Susanna Mälkki (2017) and Sampo Haapamäki (2020). Last year the prize went to Swedish composer Karin Rehnqvist for her work Silent Earth.

The winner will be announced by the Nordic Council in Oslo on 31 October, along with other Nordic prizes.

See the complete list of the 13 nominees and their descriptions by the prize committee here.

Read our most recent articles on Maija Kauhanen and Petri Kumela.