Celebrating 100 for the Swedish Society of Composers

Logo of the Föreningen Svenska Tonsättare

On Thursday 29 November I attended an exciting event: The Swedish Society of Composers celebrated its 100th anniversary with a marathon concert in the newly rebuilt Royal College of Music in Stockholm. The concert took place in the beautiful “Royal Hall” and was broadcasted by the Swedish Radio.

Main entrance of Kungliga MusikhögskolanKungliga musikhögskolan; photo by Frankie Fouganthin

used under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license

The Swedish Society of Composers was founded in 1918 by some of the most renowned Swedish composers of the day – Kurt Atterberg, Hugo Alfvén, Oskar Lindberg, Wilhelm Peterson-Berger, Ture Rangström, Wilhelm Stenhammar and others. The aim was to promote Swedish music and to protect the financial interests of its members. The Society founded Stim, the Swedish Performing Rights Society, in 1923.

Today the Swedish Society of Composers has around 400 members in the field of contemporary classical music composition. Biographies, books, scores and parts can be found at the Swedish Music Information Centre. The Society has a close co-operation within the Council of Nordic Composers. The music festival Nordic Music Days takes place every five years.

Kungliga Musikhögskolan, Kungasalen

The concert hall Kungasalen; photo by Frankie Fouganthin

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The festive evening started with an anniversary fanfare, collectively created by 38 composers! Besides from contemporary music for large ensembles, some “classical” choral pieces were performed, for example  Folke Rabe’s iconic Rondes (1964) and Sven-Erik Bäck’s Natten är framskriden (1959). Another choral composition on the programme was Tina Andersson’s the Angel (2011), which won the Abbey Road Studios Anthem Competition in 2011. I predict that it will be included in the Swedish standard repertoire for choir from now on. Tina Andersson, who was born in 1966, is an alumna of the Academy of Music and Drama in Gothenburg (where I work).

After the first part of the voluminous concert evening the audience was served champagne and cakes. There was a lot of fraternizing during the intermission – “everybody was there”. My companion Lena Nettelbladt, former President of the Swedish IAML Branch, and I were the only librarians present, however. I proudly recollected the following quotation by Roger Flury (IAML President 2010-2013): “The music librarian is too often the unsung hero of the music profession, but any musician or music scholar will tell you that without the library foundation and the professional services that it provides, the platform and pillars of music would collapse. One cannot survive without the other.”


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