Kronos’ Fifty for the Future Composers

Karin Rehnqvist - Sweden


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About Karin Rehnqvist

Born in 1957, Karin Rehnqvist is one of Sweden’s best-known and widely performed composers. With regular performances throughout Europe, USA, and Scandinavia, her range extends to chamber, orchestral, stage, and vocal music. Above all, she enjoys working with unusual, cross-genre forms and ensembles. One strong characteristic feature of her work is her exploration of the areas between art and folk music. Both elements are integral and never merely used for effect or as a nostalgic element. In particular, Rehnqvist has explored the extraordinary and dramatic vocal technique of Kulning.

Between 1976 and 1991, Karin Rehnqvist conducted and was the artistic director of the choir Stans Kör. This cemented her special affinity with vocal music and also fired her interest in experimental approaches to concert presentation.

Between 2000 and 2004, Rehnqvist was Composer-in-Residence with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Svenska Kammarorkestern in collaboration. For them she composed a series of works including a concerto for young clarinetist, Martin Fröst, and the much performed symphonic work, Arktis Arktis!, inspired by a polar expedition in the summer of 1999. These two works feature in Rehnqvist’s latest CD on the BIS label, released to critical acclaim in May 2005.

Rehnqvist’s skill at writing for musicians of different abilities, and especially young performers, has often been praised. Most recently her choral symphony Light of Light, which features children’s choir and symphony orchestra, was singled out for critical acclaim at its world premiere in Paris in 2004, and has enjoyed subsequent performances in the UK and Sweden.

Karin Rehnqvist has received many prizes for her music, such as the 1996 Läkerol Arts Award “for her renewal of the relationship between folk music and art music.” That same year, she was awarded the Spelmannen prize by the daily newspaper Expressen, and in 1997 she received the Christ Johnson Prize for Solsången (Sun Song). In 2001, she was awarded the Kurt Atterberg Prize, and in 2005/06, the Rosenberg Award. Also in March 2006, Rehnqvist was accorded the honor of a major retrospective by the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra. In 2014, Karin Rehnqvist was awarded a Swedish Grammy for the CD LIVE, and Prix Italia for Klockrent – A Very Large Concert, scored for 200 church bells on the island Gotland.

Future plans include an opera, commissioned by The Stockholm Royal Opera. It is expected to premiere during the 2017–18 season.

In 2009, Karin Rehnqvist was appointed Professor of Composition at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm, making her the first woman to hold a chair in composition in Sweden.

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