The Royal Swedish Academy of Music

Eric Ericson Award 2021 winner Krista Audere. Foto: Bo Söderström

The academy's purpose is to promote art music and musical life. It shall thus follow developments within Swedish and international music circles, take initiatives to advance musical culture as well as support education, research and artistic development in music's various fields.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Music is a central and autonomous force within Swedish musical life. Through a great number of scholarship funds, musicians, composers, researchers and others who are active within musical spheres are inspired, encouraged and brought to the fore. The academy is one of the most influential consultative bodies in music politics and is deeply engaged in discussions about the future of Swedish musical life.

The recent efforts invested into music composed in Sweden, Swedish Musical Heritage, makes music editions and texts on composers available on the internet. The academy's publication series contains a long line of important contributions to the understanding of music's vast horizons.

The academy further organises concerts incorporating discussion segments throughout, in which the country's foremost musicians, music researchers and writers participate.

The Organisation
The academy today comprises ca 170 Swedish members chosen from diverse areas of musical life. This includes musicians, conductors, composers, educators, researchers, administrators and others who have made outstanding contributions to Swedish music. An additional sixty-some international members have been chosen from among the most prestigious musical personalities of our time. The Swedish members meet five times a year. The academy is represented by a board, its president and two vice presidents. A Permanent Secretary leads the office staff in carrying out the daily work of the Academy.

The academy has had a research committee since the beginning of the 1980s. Early research projects are focused on subjects such as Gustavian music drama, music archeology, future developments in musical life and music in a multicultural society. The committee also organises seminars and conferences on current pressing issues, such as the digitisation of music, and artistic research. No less than 60 of the country's music researchers have authored composer biographies in article form and compiled works lists for Swedish Cultural Heritage.

250-year anniversary

The Royal Swedish Academy of Music has a long and illustrious history as one the foremost pillars of Swedish musical life, providing fellowships and prestigious prizes to promote Swedish musical art. The world’s largest competition for young choral directors, the Eric Ericsson Award, and the world’s leading prize in classical music, the Birgit Nilsson Prize, are counted among the foremost. The Academy was founded on September 8, 1771 and today is the oldest still-active musical academy north of the Alps. In 2021 we celebrate this 250-year-old with musical events all over Sweden.

Read more in press release. Pdf, 1.2 MB.


Since 1957 the academy has published a series of writings consisting of biographies, work monographs, debate books, analytical writings, symposia reports, etc. Today this series includes over 150 publications. Of these, significant attention has been drawn to a number of them, not least the effort invested in Swedish composer biographies.

When the Royal Acacemy of Music was founded in 1771, it was unparallelled north of the Alps. This grand and richly illustrated volume relates its 250-year history. External link, opens in new window. Why was it created, and what is its purpose today? What were the central, fateful issues? How have gender equality and new musical currents fared? What role has the Academy played?

Programmatic activities
Each year the academy's work is presented through a variety of activities in the series Klingande Akademi ('Sounding Academy') at external locations. The programme is usually open to the public, and consists of knowledgeable speakers and live performances at the highest level.


The academy awards scholarships to music students annually, currently totalling 5–7 million Swedish kronor. Approximately 110 scholarship funds are administered by the academy. Some of the most well known donations include those contributed by Jenny Lind (1848), Christina Nilsson (1924) and Nicolai Gedda (first awarded in 1984). The academy further has two apartments in Paris at its disposal, which are available for use by award winners.

The Bernadotte Programme is a collaboration between the Royal Swedish Academy of Music, the Royal Swedish Academy of Fine Arts, Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities, the Swedish Academy and the Royal Gustavus Adolphus Academy for Swedish Folklore Studies. The programme offers mentored enrichment and development opportunities for researchers and younger artistic practitioners within the academy's areas of interest.

The Interpretation Prize, The Folk Music Prize, The Jazz Prize and the The Composer’s Prize are the academy's four most prestigious prizes, and are awarded biannually at the academy's formal banquet for outstanding contributions within each field.

The Soloist Prize is Sweden's foremost soloist competition, and the Royal Swedish Academy of Music's largest prize for younger musicians. It is awarded biannually. In addition to a financial award, the prize includes a two-year residence as in-house artist at the Swedish Radio's P2 channel, a chamber music tour and a series of soloist performances with orchestra throughout Sweden. The competition is arranged by the Royal Swedish Academy of Music together with the Swedish Radio, Berwaldhallen, Musik i Syd, the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra as well as the Inge and Einar Rosenborg Fund for Swedish music.

The academy is responsible for, and grants, a long list of other scholarships, awards and prizes for deserving contributions to musical life, music education and music research. For example, the international Rolf Schock Prize in Music, the Christ Johnson Prize (Sweden's largest composer prize) and the Carin Malmlöf-Forssling Prize.

The Alfvén Estate
The Hugo Alfvén fund within The Royal Swedish Academy of Music owns and manages the rights of the estate of composer Hugo Alfvén (1872–1960). The fund has as its mission to care for and show to the public Hugo Alfvén's last home: Alfvéngården in Tibble, Leksand. (

Swedish Musical Heritage
both makes available and brings our fantastic musical cultural heritage to life. This unique project makes it possible for today's public to come into contact with music that has been forgotten for centuries as well as that which has been written by contemporary composers. Swedish Musical Heritage comprises a comprehensive database with extensive information on both the music and the composers. Here you can search through thousands of works and download music editions of copyright-free music. (

Unga tankar om musik (UTOM)
was initiated by the academy in 2016 and is a free-standing and independent think tank whose purpose is to make use of the richness of ideas, the potential, and the voice that young people active in professional musical life possess. (


The academy was founded in 1771 with the primary objectives of promoting art music and musical life. From the very beginning, the academy has been under the protection of the Swedish regent. In the first by-laws, signed by King Gustav III, it is written that the academy shall promote, "that which the musical sciences comprise, both composition as well as execution," and it is emphasised that young people should have access to education "in composition, singing and musical instruments" under the direction of the academy.

Through the centuries the academy's care has seen these goals fulfilled in a constantly changing musical life. The commitment to education led to the formation of the central administrative agenct which fully developed at the turn of the 20th century, as well as the emergence of what is now the Royal College of Music in Stockholm. During the latter decades of the 20th century processes were set into motion that would free the academy from its function as an administrative authority and give it an independent role. Post-secondary music education became a part of the National Agency for Higher Education in 1971, now called the Swedish Higher Education Authority. In 1982 the Swedish National Collections of Music was formed, taking over from the Music Museum and the academy's library. Today these organizations are a part of the Swedish Performing Arts Agency with expanded roles, and under the titles The Music and Theatre Library of Sweden and The Swedish Museum of Performing Arts.

The academy's successful projects in more recent decades include the CD-anthology Musica Sveciae, with more than 100 hours of recorded music, from bronze-age lurs to compositions with live electronics, and from symphonies to nursery rhymes.

Musiken i Sverige is a four volume history of music that covers Swedish music history in all genres, published between 1992–1994.

Kungl. Musikaliska Akademien

Royal Swedish Academy of Music

Académie Royale Suédoise de Musique

Königl. Schwedische Akademie der Musik

La Real Academia Sueca de Música

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Kungl. Musikaliska Akademien, Blasieholmstorg 8, SE-111 48 Stockholm, Sweden,, tel +46 8 407 18 00