In December, Mats Rondin appears twice with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra
It is no exaggeration to say that conductor and cellist Mats Rondin is one of Scandinavia’s foremost artists in the field of classical music and with his wide musical scope also one of the most passionate. He can look back on a long career as conductor and soloist with most eminent orchestras in the Scandinavian as well as many European countries and Australia. In December Mats Rondin will appear twice in the Stockholm Concert Hall; on Dec. 4 he will conduct the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in Mendelssohn’s “Scottish Symphony”, and then, for the third consecutive year, lead the orchestra’s big Christmas concert.
Question: Together with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra you have appeared at a number of royal gala concerts. Among recent highlights is the gala concert preceding Crown Princess Victoria’s and Prince Daniel’s wedding. You were also commissioned to leading the Jubilee Concert celebrating King Carl XVI Gustaf’s 40 years as monarch. Can you tell us something about that event?
Answer: The challenge with these concerts is the abrupt changes of genres; to conduct an opera aria at one moment and a Michael Jackson song with a gospel choir at the next, just to mention one example. The Jubilee Concert was no exception. On the other hand, concerts broadcast live are exciting and great fun. It is absolutely essential to have a skilful and efficient team to make everything go as planned. Concerts like this involve much hard work and elaborate planning but I find it rewarding to get a chance to mix different kinds of music.
Q: Your susceptibility to various musical genres seems unbounded. Many examples of your wide musical scope can be given: the projects with the Norwegian band Farmers Market; several first performances of new Swedish music, such as Carl Unander-Scharin’s opera The Elephant Man at the NorrlandsOperan and chamber music recitals with Hans Pålsson. During this season you lead the Malmö Opera in the musical Miss Saigon. Is there anything you feel extra for and would like to do more?
A: I have a project at home in Skåne, in the very south of Sweden: the Huaröd Chamber Orchestra which is made up of the best string musicians in the Sound region. We do a number of performances every year, playing in the Skåne countryside. At some concerts we mix genres freely and we invite soloists from the stage as well as from the world of jazz and pop. Even my old electric guitar has heard seen sometimes… The fantastic support of the audience and the fact that you play together with your friends make these concerts a sheer joy on a musical as well as on a personal level, which I think the audience notices. A sold-out concert hall in a big city is a mighty experience but the proximity to the audience you experience in a packed small hall in the countryside can be just as strong.
Q: Many instrumental soloists who turn to conducting are often forced to shelve their instrument, as their conducting career sets off. You, however, are still an active soloist, for example in the world premiere of Tobias Broström’s cello concert in 2011. How do you manage to find time to practice the cello parallel to your conducting jobs?
A. Admittedly it is impossible to be in top trim all the time, as you cannot bring a cello in your breast pocket when you travel. So I simply have to practice whole-heartedly when I have my solo engagements. Sometimes I can borrow an instrument from the orchestra I am conducting, just to keep my muscles in good trim. But as the time for a solo concert approaches, there is nothing else to do but to travel around with my cello. Nowadays, as a matter of fact, I increasingly often appear in concerts both as conductor and soloist. I do feel, though, that I would not mind playing my favourite pieces more often, by Dvořák and Shostakovitch e.g., that I used to play a lot when I only did solo jobs.
The Christmas Concerts with Mats Rondin, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and soprano soloist Hannah Holgersson take place on Dec. 18, 19 and 20 at the Stockholm Concert Hall. Mats then goes on to Dalecarlia and New Year’s concerts with Dalasinfoniettan.
Swedish violin virtuoso Jan Stigmer’s recording of the 24 caprices by Niccolo Paganini has been released worldwide and is now available in all major record stores as well as on Spotify! This is the first recording of the complete cycle by a Scandinavian violinist. It marks the first of Jan Stigmer’s three recordings of virtuoso violin music.
The Swedish Concert Bureau congratulates Michael Weinius for receiving the honorable title of Court Singer - a title awarded by the Swedish monarch to a singer. The title was introduced by King Gustav III in the 18th century and among its recipients are Jenny Lind, Jussi Björling, Birgit Nilsson and Nina Stemme. On December 4 Michael visits Oulu Sinfonia in Finland as the soloist in Benjamin Britten’s Serenade for tenor, horn and strings. He will also perform at the Norrköping Symphony Orchestra’s Twelfth Night Concert on 5 Jan.
In December Karolina Andersson’s long tour with the Malmö Opera, where she has been singing the part of Violetta in La Traviata, will come to an end. She then goes on to the Royal Swedish Opera in Stockholm where she will sing the Queen of the Night in the Magic Flute between Dec. 26 and Apr. 5. On Dec. 20 and 21 Karolina can be heard as the soloist in the Göteborg Wind Orchestra’s traditional Christmas Concert.
Yinjia Gong makes his debut in Germany as Rodolfo in Theater Regensburg’s La Bohème, opening on Dec. 7.
Between Nov. 24 and Dec. 28, Fredrik Zetterström will sing the part of Sergeant Belcore in Donizetti’s the Elixir of Love. Fredrik will then celebrate New Year’s Eve with soprano Alexandra Büchel at a gala concert with the Swedish Wind Ensemble (Stockholms Läns Blåsarsymfoniker). On Jan. 5 and 6 Fredrik is a soloist in the West End Musical Show with the Jönköping Sinfonietta.
Mika Eichenholz will lead the Swedish Chamber orchestra at Örebro on Dec. 19 with tenor soloist Barry Banks. Epiphany will be celebrated on Jan. 6 with the Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra in an exuberant Opera and Operetta Concert with soloist Agneta Eichenholz.
Svenska Konsertbyrån AB (The Swedish Concert Bureau) in Stockholm is one of northern Europe's leading artist management agencies within the field of classical music.