Konstmusiksystrar's philosophy is that the success of other composers should feel like their own. By promoting solidarity between composers, we want to reduce the competition and elitism that characterises much of the contemporary music industry today.
Konstmusiksystrar was founded in 2014 by Lo Kristenson and Marta Forsberg who were both composition students at the Royal Academy of Music in Stockholm. The initiative was prompted by their experiences from the 2014 edition of UNM (Young Nordic Music) - an annual festival for young sound artists with a connection to Scandinavia. In the UNM programme, only 6 of 35 composers were women. In response, Marta and Lo started an email chain with the purpose of listing the names of young female, non-binary and transgender composers in the Swedish contemporary music scene.
Initially, the intention of the list of names (soon published online) was to serve as a reference for anyone struggling to find non-cis-male composers to program, or for those who maintained the belief that there are none.
The list also prompted a new sense of community between composers and through its size and diversity it continues to contribute to a broader, more friendly and inclusive contemporary music scene. The myth of the composer as the “singular genius” has a long tradition within musical history and the societal need to sustain this image to legitimise artistic work is still prevalent today. Working as a collective of women, Konstmusiksystrar challenges this idea, working to rewrite the narrative of both composition and authorship.
Konstmusiksystrar’s list of composers grows longer with each year, and it is our aim to function as a springboard for our members’ creative and professional development. Konstmusiksystrar has a practice based approach which centres on creating work opportunities for composers. Through our work we want to provide support and make sure that no composer leaves the profession (before even getting started). The intention is to give lesser-represented composers a significant place in contemporary music contexts and ensure safe and inspiring environments for all aspiring composers.
Together with new generations of creators we hope to develop a future contemporary music scene which will be more playful, risk-taking and diverse.