Biography

Karin Rehnqvist is one of Sweden's most performed composers on the international stage. With her love for folk music, she has created a unique tonal language, where elements of the ancient singing technique kulling have become one of her hallmarks. Her wide spectrum of chamber, orchestral and vocal music has been the subject of both international composer festivals and portrait concerts. With her powerful and precise expression, she has given the repertoire for choirs, especially children's and youth choirs, an innovative and important addition. She is Sweden's first female professor of composition and initiator of KVAST, Kvinnlig Anhopning av Svenska Tonsättare.

An often mentioned and characteristic feature of Karin Rehnqvist's music is the cross fertilization of art and folk music. The folk musical elements characterize the music in depth and not as an effect or for a nostalgic purpose. The use of curling is a striking element in several of her works, including aiPuksanger - callfor two women's voices and percussion andThe sun songfor soprano, recital and chamber orchestra.

 

Rehnqvist's ability to compose for musicians of different kinds and at different levels, especially young musicians, has often been praised. The music gives the practitioners both technical and artistic challenges without compromising the artistic. Karin Rehnqvist had many years of close collaboration with the legendary girls' choir conductor Bosse Johansson, and composed many works for Adolf Fredrik's Girls' Choir. 1976-91 Rehnqvist was leader of the ensemble Stans Kör, an important period for her development as a choral composer. Since then, she has composed a large number of works both for choir a cappella and with instruments, with humor and complexity, for everything from children's choirs to radio choirs.

 

Between 2000 and 2004 she was Composer-in-Residence with the Swedish Chamber Orchestra and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra in collaboration. In 2006, a festival was dedicated to Karin in Stockholm's Konserthus, where a large part of her production from 1983 onwards was presented. Since 2015, she has been an Honorary Doctor at Birmingham City University. She was the main composer for the festival Svensk Musikvår 2017 and the Karin Rehnqvist festival at Tromsö University in the same year. She has been the subject of a number of portrait concerts in London, New York and Cologne, among others.

 

Blood courtis a monodrama for mezzo-soprano and eight instruments to a text by Gerður Kristný that connects to the me too movement and gives voice to
women living with violence. The work was intensively talked about after its premiere with Lena Willemark and ensemble recherche in 2019, and won the Järnåker prize in 2020.

 

2022 premieredSilent Earthfor mixed choir and orchestra at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. Kerstin Perski's libretto revolves around the climate changes of our time and the work was a joint commission from the Dutch Radio Choir and Philharmonic Orchestra as well as the Swedish Radio Choir and Radio Symphony Orchestra. Silent Earth was awarded the Nordic Council's Music Prize 2022.

 

The all-night operaStranded,also the one with a libretto by Kerstin Perski, had its world premiere at the Royal Opera in 2022. Perski and Rehnqvist have previously collaborated on the children's operaSweet school.

 

Karin Rehnqvist has been awarded several times. In 1996 she was awarded Läkerol's culture prize "for her renewal of the relationship between folk music and art music", in the same year she received the newspaper Expressen's prize "The Fiddler", in 1997 the Lilla Christ Johnson prize forThe sun songand the 1999 Stockholm City Honorary Award. In 2001 she received the Kurt Atterberg prize, in 2003 the Litteris et Artibus medal. The Academy of Music's main award, the Medal for the Promotion of Music Arts, was awarded to Karin Rehnqvist in 2012 and in 2017 she received the Music Publishers' Honorary Award for "fearlessly drawing the music of the future with backwards figures, and dressing it in as much dazzling light as searing darkness".

 

Her portrait CDs include Davids nimm (Phono Suecia 1996), Arktis Arktis! (BIS, 2005) and Till Ängeln med de bränning händerna (Intim Musik, 2008). Her album LIVE (Sterling Modern, 2014) received a Grammy in 2014 for best classical CD.

 

From 2009 to 2021, Karin Rehnqvist was professor of composition at the Royal Academy of Music in Stockholm – the first woman to hold the position. She is the founder and initiator of KVAST (Kvinnlig Anhopning av Svenska Tonsättare), which with its humorous way of communicating statistics about gender equality in the music industry has reached far beyond Sweden's borders. In 2018, Per F Broman's biography of her was published in the Swedish Academy of Music's series Swedish Composers - the first about a female composer.

Karin Rehnqvist is a member of the Royal Musical Academy.

For more information:www.karin-rehnqvist.se

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