This highly endowed classical music prize commemorates the Swedish opera singer Birgit Nilsson (1918-2005). Winner Yo-Yo Ma receives one million US dollars.

The US cellist Yo-Yo Ma will receive the Birgit Nilsson Prize this year, one of the most valuable awards for classical music.

“Through his mastery, his passion and his dedication to music, Yo-Yo Ma helps us to envision and build a stronger society and a better future,” said the President of the Birgit Nilsson Foundation, Susanne Rydén, explaining the decision of the Birgit Nilsson Foundation jury on Tuesday in a press release.

“It is a great honor for me to accept this award and to make a small contribution to the legacy of a great musical role model,” Yo-Yo Ma commented on the honor with a view to the world-famous Swedish opera singer Birgit Nilsson (1918-2005), after the the prize, worth one million US dollars (around 956,000 euros), is named.

The award has been presented every three to four years since 2009. Nilsson chose the first prize winner himself, the Spanish tenor Plácido Domingo. Since then, the Board of Directors of the Birgit Nilsson Foundation has chosen the winners based on the proposals of an international panel of experts. In 2011 the prize went to the Italian conductor Riccardo Muti, in 2014 to the Vienna Philharmonic and in 2018 to the Swedish soprano Nina Stemme.

The Swedish King Carl XVI. presents this year’s Birgit Nilsson Prize on October 18th in the Stockholm Concert Hall.