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He composed till his very last breath

News   •   Jun 10, 2019 23:47 CEST

Sven-David Sandström. Foto: Elias Sjögren

On Monday June 10, 2019 Sven-David Sandström, one of Scandinavia's most beloved composers, passed away peacefully surrounded by family. He was suffering from lung cancer and reached the age of 76. During the entire illness period he composed – many pieces who are yet to be premiered. One of the works – "Uppbrott" (Break-up) with lyrics by Werner Aspenström – will have it's premiere on Saturday June 15 in Adolf Fredrik Church, Stockholm. 

Sandström has composed hundreds of works since the end of the 1960s. He was a professor of composition at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm in 1985–1995 and at Indiana University in Bloomington, USA 1999–2008.

He  composed chamber music, vocal music, choral works, orchestral works, operas and ballets. 

A few of the works that have crowned his achievement are "Through and through" (1972), "Those From All the Memories Fallen" (Requiem, 1979), "High Mass" (1994), "Staden (The City)" (opera with libretto by Katarina Frostenson, 1996), "Batseba" (opera with libretto by Leif Janzon built on Torgny Lindgren's novel "Bat Seba", 1996), "Ordet (The Word)" (1996), "Messiah" (2008), "St Matthew Passion" (2011), "The Passion of St. John" (2015).

Sven-David Sandström ranks among the foremost choral composers of our time. Since the 1990s he has composed a large amount of sacred music and works in the footprints of Bach.

Ahead of the premiere of his St Matthew Passion in Berlin 2014, this film was made where he describes his journey and process.


The following pieces have been commissioned and are waiting for their premiere performances.

15 June 2019. "Uppbrott" (Break-up) with lyrics by Werner Aspenström in Adolf Fredrik Church, Stockholm, Sweden.
Adolf Fredriks Charmber Choir and orchestra conducted by Christoffer Holgersson.

18 June 2019. "The Hidden Treasure" built on J. S. Bach: Die Kunst der Fuge – Contrapunctus 8 in Thomaskirche Leipzig in the framework of Bachfest. The project is initiated by Omer Meir Wellber and Gewandhaus. 
Die Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, conducted by Omer Meir Wellber.

22 June 2019 "For All Live Unto Him" with lyrics by Niklas Rådström in Nagoya, Japan.
Chorus North Echo conducted by Junji Hase.

3 Nov 2019. "Seventeenth Century Nuns Prayer" in Christians Kirke, Copenhagen.
Mogens Dahls Chamber Choir conducted by Mogens Dahl.

26 March 2020 "Trombone Concerto" in Berwaldhallen, Stockholm
Håkan Björkman trombone, Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Daniel Harding

May 2020. "Te Deum" at a Peace Concert in Berlin.
Conducted by Stefan Parkman

Aug 2020. "Sonnets of Darkness and Love" for singer, trombone and chamber choir. Performance under negotiation.
Nils Landgren trombone and Mogens Dahl's Chamber Choir conducted by Mogens Dahl.

Autumn 2020. "Symphony No. 5" built on the elements Wind, Water, Fire and Earth. Initiated by and in cooperation with the Multi Artist Leif Boman – in Norrköping, Sweden. 
A project where Boman has collected sand from 196 countries. This is supported by UNESCO and the Norrköping City Council. 
Norrköping Symphony Orchestra.

Future performance. 
Opera "The Book" Libretto by Niklas Rådström based on his novel with same title.
Duration 4 hours


What can better than music give the expression for remembrance.


More music to be found on recordings, Youtube and  Spotify.

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