Possessing a rare combination of passionate musicality, explosive virtuosity and intellectual curiosity, Icelandic pianist Víkingur Ólafsson has won all the major prizes in his native country, including four Musician of the Year prizes at the Icelandic Music Awards as well as The Icelandic Optimism Prize. Víkingur’s 2016/17 season includes performances of Haukur Tómasson’s new piano concerto with NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester (world premiere) and Los Angeles Philharmonic under Esa-Pekka Salonen, as well as concerts with Iceland Symphony Orchestra (Yan Pascal Tortelier) and MDR Sinfonieorchester (Kristjan Järvi). In recital he will make his debut at Wiener Konzerthaus and Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, as well in Leipzig and at the Istanbul Music Festival. Víkingur’s debut album with Deutsche Grammophon featuring the Piano Études of Philip Glass came out at the end of January. Since February 2016, Víkingur is the Artistic Director of Vinterfest, while continuing in the same role for the award-winning Reykjavík Midsummer Music, which he founded in 2012.
Dalasinfoniettan is a passionate and versatile orchestra whose mission is to bring music from all times and traditions to the people of Dalarna. Formed in 1988 and consisting of 28 full-time musicians, the orchestra gives more than 80 concerts every year in repertoire spanning baroque to contemporary music and jazz. Dalasinfoniettan is based in Falun and performs in a variety of venues all over the Dalecarlia region. The orchestra’s flexibility allows it to join forces with other orchestras to perform large-scale symphonic works, as well as dividing into smaller chamber ensembles for more intimate concerts. Dalasinfoniettan regularly invites internationally acclaimed soloists and guest conductors such as Janine Jansen, Benjamin Schmid, Daniel Raiskin, Vilde Frang, Torleif Thedéen, Malena Ernman, Michael Schønwandt and Leif Ove Andsnes to perform with the orchestra. Dalasinfoniettan has hosted the international chamber music festival Vinterfest since 2006. In the autumn of 2015, Daniel Blendulf became the Chief Conductor and Artistic Advisor of Dalasinfoniettan.
Currently one of the most exciting young conductors on the European podium, Dalia Stasevska has been lauded for her power and vision, as well as her intense yet nuanced aproach to the symphonic and operatic repertoire. Following highly successful debuts in the 2015-16 season with the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, Trondheim Symfoniorkester and Helsinki Philharmonic, to name but few, Dalia’s 2016-17 season includes performances with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic and Gothenburg Symphony. A Finnish native of Ukranian descent, Dalia Stasevska trained as a conductor at the Royal Swedish Academy with Jorma Panula and at the Sibelius Academy with Leif Segerstam.
A Swedish national treasure, contralto and mezzo soprano Anna Larsson is internationally renowned for her rich, versatile voice and immense depth of interpretation. She regularly performs with many of the world’s most prominent orchestras, including the Berlin, New York, Vienna and London Philharmonic Orchestras, as well as singing in many of the world’s finest opera houses in roles ranging from Wagner’s Kundry to Britten’s Lucretia. A particularly eminent interpreter of Mahler, Anna sings almost the entire concert repertoire for contralto/mezzosoprano and orchestra, working with conductors including Zubin Mehta, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Simon Rattle, Antonio Pappano and Gustavo Dudamel. In 2010 Anna was appointed Court Singer by King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, and in 2011 she opened her own concert house, Vattnäs Concert Barn, in the village Vattnäs near Mora in Dalecarlia.
Praised for his “sophisticated virtuosity, stylistic aplomb and strong personal profile” (Grammophone), Iranian-American Mahan Esfahani has in recent years succeeded in establishing the harpsichord in the mainstream of classical music. Since his Wigmore Hall debut in 2009, Mahan has performed in many of the top concert halls in Europe, Asia and North America, appearing both as a soloist and conductor of such ensembles as The English Concert and the Academy of Ancient Music. With a repertoire spanning four centuries, Mahan’s critically acclaimed recordings for Deutsche Grammophon and Hyperion Records have included works by Gorecki and Reich as well as Scarlatti and Bach.
Yura Lee is a multi-faceted artist, as soloist and as a chamber musician, and one of the very few that is equally virtuosic in both violin and viola. A recipient of numerous international prizes, she has appeared as a soloist with many major orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, the NDR Symphonieorchester, the Hong Kong Philharmonic, and Tokyo Philharmonic, and worked with conductors including Christophe Eschenbach, Lorin Maazel and Leonard Slatkin. Yura made her orchestral debut at the age of 7 in her home city of Seoul, South Korea, before continuing her musical studies in New York with Hyo Kang and Dorothy DeLay at the Juilliard School.
Since taking First Prize at the 1999 Paganini Competition at 16 years of age – the first Japanese and youngest artist ever to do so – Sayaka Shoji has performed with the world’s top orchestras and leading conductors, including Vladimir Ashkenazy, Sir Colin Davis, Charles Dutoit, Lorin Maazel and Zubin Mehta. Her 2016-17 season includes performances with Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France (Osmo Vänskä), Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra (Kazushi Ono) and Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra (Shiyeon Sung), and tours of Japan with The Mariinsky Orchestra (Valery Gergiev) and NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester (Krzysztof Urbański). Praised for her “richly resonant, spirited” as well as “the poetic delicacy of her phrasing” (Gramophone), Sayaka has recorded multiple discs for Deutsche Grammophon.
Violinist Hugo Ticciati is equally well known for his “extraordinarily vivid playing” (The Strad) and his unique approach to music, which incorporates aspects of literature, philosophy, spirituality and meditation. Hugo’s last concert season included world premieres of concertos by Tobias Broström, Sergey N. Evtushenko and Albert Schnelzer as well as concertos by Bach, Mozart, Prokofiev, Schnittke, Hartmann, Shchedrin, Piazzolla, Auerbach, Glass, Lutosławski and Takemitsu in venues including Carnegie Hall, Mariinsky Theatre Concert Hall, Chicago Symphony Hall and King’s Place. A British-born resident of Sweden, Ticciati’s musical vision is evident in his meticulously curated festival O/MODƏRNT, held yearly in Ulriksdal’s Castle Theatre.
Jennifer Stumm is a virtuoso violist and a leading advocate for her instrument internationally, whose recent highly acclaimed performances include appearances at the Kennedy Center, Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall, Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, and the BBC Proms. A BBC New Generation Artist, Stumm is a founding member of the Aronowitz Ensemble and regularly appears at many of the world’s major festivals, including Marlboro, Aldeburgh and Spoleto. A native of Atlanta, she is currently International Chair of Viola Studies at the Royal College of Music, London. Her principal teachers were Karen Tuttle and Nobuko Imai and she earned degrees from the Curtis Institute of Music and The Juilliard School, also studying astronomy and politics at the University of Pennsylvania.
Swedish cellist Jakob Koranyi is one of Europe’s most interesting young soloists, described by The Strad Magazine as “A force to be reckoned with”. Passionate about innovative programmes, Jakob’s 2016-17 season includes a world premiere of Battle Abbey, a unique dance project with long-term collaborator Heather Ware, as well as solo performances with the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra in Henri Dutilleux’s Tout un Monde Lontain, Orquesta Filmharmonica de Bogata in Beethoven’s Triple Concerto, two Wigmore hall performances as well as Albert Schneizer’s Cello Concerto Crazy Diamonds with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra. A recipient of numerous international prizes and awards, Jakob was awarded the prestigious Swedish Soloist Prize in 2006.
“Riveting” (NY Times) Icelandic cellist Sæunn Þorsteinsdóttir has appeared as soloist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Toronto and Iceland Symphonies, among others, and her recital and chamber music performances have taken her across the US, Europe and Asia. Following her debut recording of Britten’s Suites for Solo Cello on Centaur Records, she has performed in venues such as Carnegie Hall, Suntory Hall and Disney Hall. Highlights of the 2016-17 season include the premiere of a new concerto written for Sæunn by Páll Ragnar Pálsson, co-commissioned by the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Sæunn collaborated closely with Daníel Bjarnason on his award-winning composition Bow to String and continues to expand the cello repertoire by commissioning new works.
Jonas Viklund has been principal clarinetist of Dalasinfoniettan since 2014. Between 2008 and 2014 Jonas held the position of principal clarinetist in Wermland’s Opera Orchestra as well as touring North and South America, Europe and Asia as a member of the Verbier Festival Orchestra and the Jeunesses Musicales World Orchestra. Jonas made his debut as a soloist in Jean Francaix Clarinet Concerto with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra in 2002, after graduating from the Royal College of Music in Stockholm and becoming one of the very few clarinetists ever to be admitted to the college’s soloist diploma program. During his career, Jonas has continued to evolve through studies at the University of Southern California and with Professor Yehuda Gilad at the Colburn School of Music.
Broolyn-based Canadian pianist Vicky Chow has been described as “brilliant” (New York Times) and “one of the new stars of new music” (Los Angeles Times). A great champion of contemporary music, she is the pianist for the Bang on a Can All-Stars, Grand Band, New Music Detroit, and has collaborated with ensembles such as the International Contemporary Ensemble. Vicky has released numerous critically acclaimed recordings of music by composers such as John Cage, Steve Reich and Tristan Perich. Vicky made her orchestral debut at the age of 10 with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and trained at the Juilliard School and Manhattan School of Music.
Winning five prizes at the 2006 ARD International Music Competition in Munich kickstarted the Armenian pianist Marianna Shirinyan’s international career as soloist and chamber musician. Marianna has performed with orchestras including the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, Potsdamer Kammerakademie as well as the the Oslo, Wuhan, Helsinki and Copenhagen Philharmonic Orchestras, with conductors including Hans Graf, Lawrence Foster, Zoltan Kocsis and Antonello Manacorda. A dynamic and sought-after chamber musician as well as a soloist, Marianna frequently appears at festivals such as Schwetzinger Festspiele and Risør International Chamber Music Festival. Since settling in Denmark, Marianna Shirinyan has received numerous awards for her contributions to cultural life in the country.
Duo FriBerg is one of the most innovative young ensembles on the Nordic scene today. Founded in 2003 by two outstanding instrumentalists, Joakim Berg and Per Friman, the duo explores works for the unconventional ensemble of percussion and saxophone through imaginative programming and dynamic performances. The sounds of duo FriBerg are both accessible and fresh to the ear, working on the tectonics of the known and the unknown, the aural and the visual. The duo has performed extensively in Sweden, premiered works written for it by composers such as Andrea Lindberg Tarrodi and Tobias Broström, and recorded for the Naxos label.
Swedish actress Caroline Rendahl enjoys a varied and successful career on stage, in film, television and radio. Along with her numerous roles at Dalateatern in plays for all ages, ranging from Sam Shephard’s A Lie of the Mind to Kersti Björkman’s Hitom Ditom Bortom, Caroline has worked for Regionteatern in Blekinge/Kronoberg, where her roles have included Puck in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Hedvig in Ibsen’s Wild Duck. Caroline has taken part in television productions including the series Nya tider, as well as lending her voice to characters on animated series and giving radio readings of several novels. Caroline studied acting at the Malmö Theatre Academy.
Bringing the fiery intensity of the tango nuevo to the heart of wintery Dalecarlia, Three for Tango released their first album, containing exciting new arrangements of classical works, folk music and tango in 2012. The dynamic ensemble consists of three Orsa natives and has performed in various venues throughout the region: Violinist Anders Jakobsson is the concertmaster of Dalasinfoniettan, was previously concertmaster of the Gävle Symphony Orchestra and a member of Uppsala Chamber Soloists. Double bass player Jan-Anders Ernlund is the leader of the bass secton in Dalasinfoniettan and bassist in Benny Anderssons Orkester, with previous posts at the Gothenburg and Gävle Symphony Orchestras. Accordionist Åsa Sundstedt, whose repertoire ranges from baroque to contemporary music and encompassess all styles, has worked extensively with theatre and opera companies across Sweden. She is the head arranger for Three for Tango, as well as serving as cantor for the local congregation in Orsa.
Swedish conductor David Lundblad has worked with several leading ensembles such as Norrköping Symphony Orchestra, Gothenburg Opera Orchestra, Gothenburg Opera Chorus, Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra, Gothenburg Wind Orchestra, Finnish Radio Chamber Choir, Dalasinfoniettan and others. He has also made several recordings for radio, television and CD. Making his debut at 17, David studied conducting at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, graduating with diploma in 1999. He has also a diploma in church music from the Royal Academy of Music in Stockholm 1997.David holds a position as conductor at Dalasinfoniettan, Falun Chamber Choir, Borlänge Chamber Choir and Dalasinfoniettan’s Choir.
Jane af Sandberg is a freelance journalist who writes with a focus on the people and the feeling in the music. It’s about musicians, instruments, singers, dancers, composers and conductors. She began with a story about a young indie rock band and has continued straight into art music – from Side Effects to Wagner. All from a large personal love for music and with a drive to make the reader more curious. She also writes about business, school, society, recreation and culture in a broad sense. She originates from Stockholm, but lives, since two years, in Vattnäs, outside Mora.
The swing and jazz group LEMON TRIP consists of Sebastian Norén, guitar, Charlie Brissman, double bass, Natasja Dluzewska, vocals and violin and Tilde Schweitzer, trombone. All four study jazz at Falun Conservatory of Music, whose jazz programme is constantly expanding, both in terms of quality and numbers. The programme has never had as many students as this year, suggesting an increasing interest in jazz among today’s youth. The Conservatory of Music in Falun is a high school with a focus on the arts that takes in students from the entire country. Since the requirements for running arts education of this calibre are strict, there are only a handful of similar schools in Sweden. The school is quite unique in bringing together high-level students of classical, jazz and folk music, all under the same roof.
Dalasinfoniettans choir is a mixed choir of about 40 members from all over Dalarna. The choir was formed in 1994 for Tchaikovsky’s opera Eugene Onegin, in a collaboration between Musik i Dalarna and University College of Opera in Stockholm. Together with Dalasinfoniettan, the choir has over the years performed a number of the larger symphonic choral works, requiems and cantatas, but also appeared in other concerts, including a collaboration with the rock group Procol Harum. David Lundblad has been the choirmaster of Dalasinfoniettans choir since 2011. David studied conducting at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki. He has worked as choirmaster at the Gothenburg Opera and the Royal Opera in Stockholm. He is currently a PhD student at the Sibelius Academy on the subject “Swedish choral sound”.