Nordic Council Music Prize for Black Box Music

“An uncontrollable blend of craziness, humour, charm and exuberant inventiveness.” The Nordic Council Music Prize has been awarded to Simon Steen-Andersen for his Black Box Music.

Black Box Music, by the innovative composer Simon Steen-Andersen (born 1976), is a unique and radically different work. Andersen plays, with great virtuosity, in the intersection between composition, installation art, electronica and performance. Black Box Music is a challenging piece of avant-garde music, quite unlike anything else, and yet embracing it requires no prior musical knowledge. It is unusual for a form of expression as personal as this to reach so many people. Andersen's works are played by musicians and at festivals all over the world, from Shanghai to South America and Europe. Black Box Music is captivating – an uncontrollable blend of craziness, humour, charm and exuberant inventiveness. The piece also meets this year’s criteria for the Nordic Council Music Prize: it is a work of high artistic quality and original in its genre. It has a clear structure and form, and its third movement contains elements that emerge spontaneously in the performance moment. —NCMP

Composed for solo percussion, an ‘amplified’ box, 15 instruments and video, The Nordic Council describes Black Box Music as “a unique and radically different work”:

On stage, the soloist has his hands buried in a black box with a built-in camera and various sound sources. From the box, he plays on everything from tuning forks to elastic bands and ventilators, while directing the 15 musicians with gigantic hands projected onto a screen behind him. BBM has a razor-sharp score, which combines - at one and the same time - unruly craziness; humour, playfulness and hardcore instrument noise.