Eve Risser winner of the Paul Acket Award 2023

Eve Risser is this year’s winner of the Paul Acket Award. Every year, North Sea Jazz presents the award to an artist whose exceptional musical talent makes them deserving of wider recognition.

Pianist Eve Risser (b. 1982) began playing piano and flute at a young age in her native France. She studied both instruments at the conservatory in Colmar before focusing solely on jazz piano and improvisation, first in Strasbourg and later in Paris. In her music, Eve fuses fantasy with feminism, which she incorporates in a contemporary and experimental jazz style. Risser draws inspiration for her compositions from nature: mountains, snow and minerals are the common thread in her work. Risser now has five albums to her name, including her recent album Eurythmia (2022), which she released in collaboration with the twelve-piece Red Desert Orchestra.

One of the jurors of the Paul Acket Award, Oslo Jazz Festival director Øyvind Larsen, describes her as a “contemporary composer who explores and expands the idiom of modern music. Risser is of great significance on the European improvised scene. Her poetic playing is percussive and physical, ranging in form from solo performances to large orchestras.”

The other jurers this year were Alberto Ibarrondo (Festival de Jazz de Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain), Anne Erm & Eva Saar (Festival Jazzkaar, Estonia), Jaïr Tchong (KAAP Arts Centre, Belgium), and Brent Oostrum (TivoliVredenburg/Transition Festival, Netherlands). The jury nominated 24 musicians, after which over 100 Dutch and international jazz critics and programmers cast their votes.

The aim of the Paul Acket Award “Artist Deserving Wider Recognition”, named after the founder of North Sea Jazz, is to showcase exceptional jazz musicians who deserve greater recognition and a wider audience for their work. Previous winners include Kris Davis (2022), Julian Lage (2019), Kaja Draksler (2018), Donny McCaslin (2017) and Cécile McLorin Salvant (2016). This year, North Sea Jazz is introducing a European Edition, which is to be repeated every four years.

Eve Risser will receive her prize at the festival where she will perform on Saturday 8 July.