Zurich Festival Prize

Sophie Hunger is awarded the Zurich Festival prize 2016

Sophie Hunl Die Preisträgerin 2016: Sophie Hunger © Marikel Lahana

For the tenth time running, the Artistic Committee of the Festspiele Zurich 2016 is able to award the Zurich Festspiele prize of 50‘000 francs provided by the Bär-Kaelin Fund. This year’s award goes to Swiss singer, songwriter, film music composer and lyricist, Sophie Hunger. “Sophie Hunger is an exceptional and sensitive artist. A unique mix of lightness of spirit, concentrated energy, humour and melancholy shapes both her music and her stage performance,” says Barbara Frey, member of the Committee and Director of the Schauspielhaus Zürich. The Bär-Kaelin Fund was delighted with the choice of Sophie Hunger: “As tenth winner of this prize, the young artist has rejuvenated the Festspiel prize at precisely the right time: while previously granting awards to great creative artists from the aspect of their life’s work, the Committee has now changed its perspective and is inviting the prize winner to pursue a most promising artistic future.” The prize celebrates the outstanding achievements that Sophie Hunger has contributed to Zurich’s musical life and much more besides. It was from here that she found the courage to take her first steps out into the music world. Particularly significant to her at this time was the music club Helsinki, one of the first clubs in Zurich to offer a stage to live bands every evening. In her own words: “Without the contacts that I had with the people there, I would never have had the gall to make my first CD.”

In the meantime she has moved to Berlin. And when she stands before the audience, we see a singer who, says arts journalist Tobi Müller, “can do all those things that make pop music exciting”. The ability to write great songs and insightful lyrics is not even the most important aspect: “Hunger’s art manages to bring a sense of uniqueness to the stage. Of whatever age, the audience has the feeling that she is singing just for this moment, for this hall, for this city. And Hunger plays around with the vocals, not simply reproducing the recorded version that many people already know. She is able to blur the lines between risk, ecstasy and control until they are no longer distinguishable. Add to this her recurring components of zest and humour, and her art becomes all the more baffling. This is just one of the reasons why audiences return again and again and ask themselves: How does she do it?”

The audience will have the chance of such an experience at the prize award ceremony on Saturday 25 June 2016 at Schauspielhaus Zurich when Sophie Hunger will be presenting a musical and multi-media review of her musical career. And she has chosen Tobi Müller, one of her former journalistic observers to act as presenter.

Zurich Festival Award Ceremony

The award ceremony will take place on the 25h of June 2016 at the Schauspielhaus, Pfauen.

The Festspiele Zurich Prize will be awarded for the tenth time at the Festspiele Zürich. It acknowledges an artist’s outstanding contribution to the cultural life of Zurich city and canton. Prize money of CHF 50,000 is awarded by the Baer-Kaelin Fund to a winner chosen by the artistic committee of the Festspiele Zürich.


Previous winners

2007: Heinz Holliger, 2008 Luc Bondy, 2009 Peter Stein, 2010 György Kurtág, 2011 Matti Salminen, 2012 Heinz Spoerli, 2013 Pipilotti Rist, 2014 Fritz Senn, Anna Viebrock. Further information: www.zuercher-festspielpreis.ch.