Project for New Church Music in Sweden #fst100

& Lund Sacred Contemporary Music Festival 2018

KVAST:s repertoire survey 2014/15

In 2015 the Association of Swedish Women Composers (KVAST) published a report regarding the repertoire performed by 23 orchestras and at opera houses in Sweden. The survey was sponsored by FST – Society of Swedish Composers which concluded that the repertoire played during season 2014/15 was dominated by deceased composers of either German or Italian descendancy.

At the same time the Church of Sweden launched a proposal for the new Missal to be ”joyful, simple and popular”. This resulted in a storm of protests from church musicians in Sweden who thought the proposal was insufficient and unsuitable. These issues also received a strong response from the Swedish daily press, which also wanted to add “music performed at national and public royal events” to the debate.

All this was intertwined to the main issue: Do we risk losing contemporary art music in Sweden?

FST creates a thinktank for Swedish church music

In response to the questions above the president of the FST, Martin Q Larsson, took the initiative to create a thinktank concentrating on church music, in order to monitor this debate. Up until the year 2018 the thinktank consisted of composers Maria Löfberg, Kjell Perder, Johan-Magnus Sjöberg and Thomas Åberg.

Nordic Church Music Symposium 2016
FST:s think-tank participated at the Nordic Church Music Symposium, in Gothenburg 2016, with a program in the form of a panel discussion. Other participants were composer and choir leader Ulrika Emanuelsson with vocal ensemble, professor Karin Johansson, organ, vocal ensemble from Petri Sångare, Malmö, led by Alexander Einarsson and finally Norwegian composer Henrik Ødegaard.

Here the thinktank mainly aimed to highlight positive examples where the organizers of music in our churches regularly encourage audiences to familiarize themselves with contemporary art music in a natural way, while at the same time maintaining large audiences. However, it was also noted that there are many provincial differences here and also it is not unusual that the church musicians underestimate the ability of their audience to absorb contemporary music.

Moving on to Lund

In 2018 FST:s thinktank moved on to Lund for a new project and expanded the team with composers; Ulrika Emanuelsson, Daniel Hjorth, Stefan Klaverdal and Nils Tykesson.

Lund Sacred Contemporary Music Festival #lscmf

Spanning several generations the southernmost province of Sweden, Skåne and Kronoberg, has delivered contemporary art music to a broad and inquisitive audience. The most important concert organizers in this province are “Musik i Syd” and the Church of Sweden through the Parish Of Lund. Musik i Syd is a music institution in this region that aims to further the accessibility of creative live music experiences. The Parish of Lund has a central role in the spiritual and cultural life of the province and has taken many bold initiatives to involve local composers, musicians and poets.

In 2018 the Lund Parish held the final part of their three-year celebration of The Protestant Reformation. Celebrations which coincided very timely with the FST:s 100th anniversary. This created a unique opportunity to actualize extra resources needed to organize Lund Sacred Contemporary Music Festival. The festival was also co-hosted by Sensus, a cultural and educational organization belonging to the Church Of Sweden. The Festival Director was the organist and composer Johan-Magnus Sjöberg (Allhelgonakyrkan, Lund) assisted by Festival Coordinator, Thomas Åberg.

The festival is considered to be the largest church music festival in Sweden highlighting contemporary art music since 1994.

The festival contained works by Johan-Magnus Sjöberg, Kjell Perder, Maria Löfberg, Nils Tykesson, Stefan Klaverdal, Ulrika Emanuelsson, Benjamin Staern, Daniel Fjellström, Daniel Hjorth, Lars-Eriks Larsson, Stig Gustav Schönberg, Tobias Broström, Henrik Dahlgren, Maria Tomner and Thomas Åberg.

Link to program

The Parish Of Lund commissioned two new works for the festival

The Parish of Lund commissioned two works for the festival: Mass for children’s choir and youth choir, from the composers Maria Tomner and Henrik Dahlgren. The premiere performance took place in Norra Nöbbelövs kyrka (the church of the parish of Norra Nöbbelöv). Photo: Nida.

Panel discussion at Domkyrkoforum (Lund Cathedral Seminar):
”What place does contemporary church music have in our secular cultural modern day?”

Participants: Dean Bo Sandahl, Cathedral Chaplain Lena Sjöstrand, Cathedral organist Robert Bennesh , Music professor Mattias Lundberg, Professor Karin Johansson together with composers Kjell Perder (moderator), Daniel Hjorth, Stefan Klaverdal, Nils Tykesson, Johan-Magnus Sjöberg and Thomas Åberg. Snapshots from video by Olle Grane.

Dean Bo Sandahl, professor Karin Johansson and cathedral chaplain Lena Sjöstrand.

Karin Johansson –” We are living and working in a new landscape where it is not possible to separate church music from the secular. This creates both freedoms and concerns… ”

Dean Sandahl emphasized hymn singing as an important ”nerve” in church fellowship. ”This, he said, is the symbol of our belonging together”.

From left professor Karin Johansson, cathedral chaplain Lena Sjöstrand, Music professor Mattias Lundberg and composer Kjell Perder who also moderated our panel discussion.

Mattias Lundberg talked about the church’s duty to deliver new, challenging and exciting music. ”In Josquin Des Prez’s day first performances were part of every Mass,” he continued.

Cathedral Organist Robert Bennesh emphasized the importance of creating a relationship with the audience. ”No point in standing on the sideline”, he said with a strong sense of optimism for the future.

In summarising we can say that in these times of an evolving cultural landscape, the Church is a haven for religious ritual, meditation and cultural experience. It is therefore important that the Church constantly maintains its musical heritage and trademark with newly composed music of the highest quality.

Lund Sacred Contemporary Music Festival; After the final concert

After the final concert of the festival, from left Johan-Magnus Sjöberg, Kjell Perder, Nils Tykesson, Stefan Klaverdal, Daniel Hjorth, Benjamin Staern, Mattias Lundberg, Maria Löfberg och Thomas Åberg. Photo: Nida.

We send thanks to all the participants of the festival! Special thanks to Dean Bo Sandahl, Peter Wilgotsson (Musik I Syd), Martin Jonsson Tibblin (chairman FST) and Anna Cokorilo, project manager #fst100. Many thanks also to our recording teams with Olle Grane, Stefan Klaverdal, Janne Waldenmark.

For more information about the festival and the panel discussion contact Johan-Magnus Sjöberg or Thomas Åberg.
Lund Sacred Contemporary Music Festival 2018

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