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Following are the seventeen insights provided in our 
preliminary investigation into the environment of
contemporary and classical music in the Nordic countries.
Browse by clicking on each insight
Talent & 

For all of the Nordic institutions, talent building is of great importance. It does not necessarily have to do with education - but could have - and is a vital factor in order to develop quality and collaboration. Fostering talent building and collaboration leads to more creativity, which again leads to more experimentation, performances and might eventually lead to a change or evolvement. 


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Seeing and supporting talent is vital for society as a whole. We see it as an investment in moving forward on many levels. The same could be said about collaboration which is generating all sorts of positive energy and inspiration for the local scenes. For supporting talent the industry surrounding art music needs support. 

Insight 1
Insight 2

Understanding the infrastructure (or lack thereof) of the Nordic music scene is vital. Creativity and openness seems to prevail although both the educational structure, support system and the industry aspect of the art music scene is very different between the Nordic countries. 


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It is important to remember that infrastructure has and will influence how the local Nordic scenes develop. Although the concept of infrastructure as such represents a void structure, it generates content.

& spaces

Repurposing old buildings is one of the ways new spaces occur taking sustainability into account. Music buildings speak to opportunities given to live music in communities. Despite the fact that everything is online, there is still a need for local, accessible venues. Take a look at the new music buildings in Stockholm or Copenhagen to get an idea.


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The global movement of gentrifying areas and spaces has also reached the music scenes, and new spaces occur in old, industrial buildings where others find a new home in old palaces and beautiful areas in the big cities. Rural or urban new venues are being created to host art music of all genres. From capitals to countryside retreats.

Insight 3
Audience & reach-out

The importance of audience and reach-out is immense for all the local Nordic scenes, and we encounter huge creativity and ingenuity in reaching out. The Bergen Festival breaking down barriers, and the age-friendly orchestra as well are examples of reach-out programmes. The challenge is to have quality in focus when designing reach-out programmes and activities focused on audience building.


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Reaching out is not only about building up new audiences in order to reach higher audience numbers. It is also about involvement – connecting, networking and making the scenes visible to the world. But in the end, the most important feature should be to aim for the highest quality.

Insight 4

Are the formats, such as festivals, benefitting the music sector? That is a question that needs to be addressed. In general, there is a great focus on new formats in the art music field. The rise in the number of festivals, and the willingness to create new, particular and site-specific formats are important. The rebirth of Svensk Musikvår, the rise of micro-festivals and the creation of the Scandinavian Cello School are just a few of the many signals showing this.


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Are formats sometimes standing in the way of artistic expression and creation? Is it possible that the framework of a format is a limiting factor? We think that these questions have to be posed as we, at the same time, are proud to see all the flourishing formats coming to fruition in the Nordics.

Insight 5
Inclusion &
social impact

There are many ways of addressing topics of inclusion and social impact, but in the signals, we encounter a diversified and proactive way of dealing with and recognizing these important features. These ways are for instance represented both by Ukrainian refugees being welcomed by The Goldschmidt Music Academy and by engaging audiences through hashtags and other social media activities.


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Naturally, like everywhere in society, the topics of inclusion and social impact are very important in the field of art music everywhere in the Nordics. These topics are being treated in numerous ways, and embrace the actual, global situation calling for inclusion after pandemic times, #me-too and movements on a general scale about inclusion such as Black Lives Matter.

Insight 6
Tradition & heritage

A rise of focus on tradition and heritage in contemporary music is to be found in the Nordics. This focus fosters new initiatives, energy and formats. The roots for this attention are not only to be found in the Nordics but can also reach out to other parts of the world for instance in collaborations with music festivals. This tendency covers features from the Sami joik to the Frequenz Festival in Kiel.


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It would be interesting to evaluate the impact of heritage on art music as we see Nordic heritage increasingly having an impact on popular culture.

Insight 7

Networking remains a crucial and vital force both between the Nordics and on a broader scale. Networking touches all activities and naturally sets the scene for developing collaborations, from the possibility of a new music cluster in Reykjavik to more involvement from the music export offices in the Nordic Music Days. Stressing the importance of networking is also a way to put forward the importance of exchange and collaboration.


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Networking has been affected by the Covid-pandemic like the STATUS network has experienced first-hand. Taking global environmental issues into account, it would be interesting for the future to investigate and try out an alternative approach for networking - especially when it comes to meetings, conferences etc.

Insight 8
Political intervention & support

Political intervention and support of the contemporary music sector in the Nordics appears in various forms, ranging from direct stipends from individual persons of authority to government propaganda campaigns and projects championing the arts (e.g. Creative in Iceland) to fully state-run operations in the field of the arts (e.g. theatres, operas, broadcasting services). In recent years political intervention and support have revolved around the Covid-19 pandemic. The pandemic has changed the landscape somewhat and leaves us with a new perspective on how things were before C-19 and an opportunity for reevaluation and even change in the future.


Øjeblik | augnablik | ögonblick | øyeblikk | hetki The pandemic has shown how important the culture industry is and how dependent it is on its audience. As a result, governments were discussing and handing out crisis grants, in particular to performance arts. The pandemic raises the question of how governments of the Nordic countries are supporting the music sectors and how sustainable the working environment of artists is. It is highly important to collect and gather comparative data on governmental support in the Nordics.

Insight 9
Leadership & power structures

In mapping out the power structures in Nordic contemporary music we need to ask (among other things): Who are the leaders in Nordic contemporary music? What does the power structure in Nordic contemporary music look like? How is the gender balance in positions of authority? Where are the deals made? As with many of our insights, this could foster whole separate research. As the man said: So much to do, so little time!


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The signals hint at changes in values in con-temporary music and society, with collaboration, diversity and dialogue getting to the forefront and with new hires to influential positions showing the relevance of contemporary music in the interdisciplinary arts field.

Insight 10

Music education in the Nordics faces a multi-faceted challenge. Art education is expensive and among the first to feel the impact of funding cuts. In order to make music education accessible to all and sustainable, there is a definite need for it to be a valued part of the curriculum and the education system – as opposed to an extracurricular activity and there is a need to make music education diverse and accessible to all children.


Øjeblik | augnablik | ögonblick | øyeblikk | hetki The education of young musicians is crucial for the future of classical and contemporary music. The Church, with countless choirs and ambitious music programs as well as being an employer of musicians, plays a significant role in education outside the conventional music education system. The signals point to a need for comparative research into how large a role the Church generally plays in the music education system in the Nordics and how it is funded.

Insight 11
Trends in composition

Are there trends in contemporary music? Even in the compositions by Nordic composers? Do the Nordics have a sound? Are certain terms or themes trending?


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The signals point to sustainability as a prominent emphasis in music and performance production. In discussions among the STATUS network diversity, nature, gender representation and environmental issues are also prominent themes. It would be interesting to look at if and how trends in contemporary music come about and if they, e.g., lead to more competition — as trends often do — for instance, increased production budgets.

Insight 12

Role models and visibility are crucial when it comes to gender issues. It is important to support statistics collecting on gender representation and gender ratio in music projects, not least when it comes to compositions –especially regarding commissions, performance and leadership. Programmes such as Keychange support the representation of all genders and should be applicable to all music genres.


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The underrepresentation of certain target groups in the music industry is global. Striving for equality and diversity in the music industry is vital for making role models for the future. Gender stereotypes affect us already in the formative years and have an impact on the development of our interests in later working life. However, stereotypes also affect cultural and structural conditions in the labour market and can lead to limited opportunities and discrimination against people due to their gender.

Insight 13

For the growth of the contemporary music sector in the Nordic countries, we need to implement working conditions that ensure remuneration for artists, both composers and performers. Project-based freelancing is a prevalent state of employment with few claims to legal rights, with signs that women and non-binary genders are hit first when the going gets tough, e.g. in Covid-times. The rest of the world looks to the Nordic countries as an example for welfare and wellbeing, this should extend to the working environment in the classical and contemporary music sector as well.


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Knowing that the Nordics often serve as an example for the whole world, we should also be aware of keeping up the critical sense as to a continuous upgrading of working conditions. When being an example, one also has to commit and aim high. In order to achieve the highest level, support from structures relating to working conditions is crucial.

Insight 14
Promotion and

The promotion of classical and contemporary music differs from the promotion of other genres. A single work might be performed multiple times in concerts and multiple recordings may be done of the same one-piece, each one is different from the other, with the audience experience completing the process. The promotion of art music revolves around getting the works of the composers performed, otherwise, they will not be heard since composers are rarely performers as well. This is a significant difference from other music genres.


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The marketing of classical music differs from the mainstream commercial genres. With global environmental and health issues affecting travel and challenging international collaborations, new ways are needed in promoting contemporary works, performers and performances. Is there a way to promote Nordic art music collectively?

Insight 15
Financial remuneration
— Trust & transparency

With streaming becoming the main platform for recordings, the structure for financial remuneration for composers and performers needs to change. That, along with the recent revelations of a prominent streaming company using fake artists to increase their own income, has opened the eyes and minds of stakeholders. Increased transparency is needed to build trust between the creative side and the business/industry side of the music sector.


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Trust between partners has always been a pillar in the Nordic countries. With streaming, the music industries have to be ready for a global scene as well as preserve trust. Could we influence the world with our structures and ways of doing?

Insight 16
and innovation

Technology can be both a friend and a foe but when implemented it always means a change from what has always been. Tech can be a tool for innovation, both for performers, audiences and producers. It can build bridges between performers and audiences and offers the industry part of the music sector innovative ways of doing business.


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As a special point sheet music publishing has gone through changes through the ages from being handwritten to being typeset to being wholly digitised. Reducing the printing of sheet music has its benefits, but focusing on environmental issues alone only gives a small part of the picture. How is this change affecting performance?

Insight 17
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