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Festival: Stockholm International Composer Festival


November 2018

Konserthuset’s huge annual Composer Festival was founded in 1986 and quickly became an essential element of both Swedish and international music scenes. The fundamental idea – to spend an intensive period featuring modern, established composers – has proven to be successful both artistically and among audiences.

Upon taking over the position in 1986, former executive director Åke Holmquist launched the first Composer Festival in Konserthuset. He explains: “I had thought a lot about new music and how hard it is to get it out there. Why is it that far too often, so many festivals only involve the inner circle of listeners? What could we do to attract more people to come and discover music?”

The answer was a week-long Composer Festival featuring only one composer. A picture of complete artistry, with absolutely no compromises when it comes to quality. The actual presence of the composer was one important concept. Another was that the concerts should be interspersed with lectures and other types of presentations. The third essential cornerstone was that the festivals should be included in Konserthuset’s ordinary programme offering and concert subscriptions.

First up was Swedish virtuoso Ingvar Lidholm. The festivals have included not only concerts, but also – very much in accordance with the original idea – a deepened understanding of the composer through related activities such as meetings, film screenings and exhibitions. The major audience breakthrough came with the Alfred Schnittke festival in 1989.


For full information, visit the Stockholm Konserthuset site.

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