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was born January 16, 1951, in Sweden. He has lived in the Netherlands since 1973.
Education Torstensson studied composition at the Ingesunds Musikhögskola (Sweden), musicology at the University of Gothenburg, and electronic music at the Institute of Sonology, Utrecht.
Career Torstensson was featured composer at festivals such as Stockholm New Music 1999 (together with Mauricio Kagel and György Kurtág), Time of Music 2001, (Finland), Montréal-Nouvelles-Musiques 2003, Baltic Sea Festival 2008, Sacrum Profanum 2009 (Krakow) and Båstad Kammarmusikfestival (Sweden) 2013. He received numerous commissions by renowned orchestras, ensembles and soloists: the Stockholm Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Dutch and Swedish Radio Orchestras, Ensemble Intercontemporain, Ensemble Modern, Klangforum Wien, Asko|Schönberg, Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, KammarensembleN, David Kweksilber Bigband, Calefax, Jennifer Koh, Harry Sparnaay, Charlotte Riedijk, the Bugallo-Williams pianoduo, and others. Torstensson worked with celebrated conductors like Alan Gilbert, David Robertson, Jaap van Zweden, Peter Eötvös, Sakari Oramo and Reinbert de Leeuw. Torstensson has been honoured with many portrait concerts, and he was composer in residence with the Swedish Radio/ Berwaldhallen, with the Brabants Orkest, at the Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ, Amsterdam, at the Stockholm New Music festival, at the Sounds of Music festival (Groningen) and at the Båstad Kammarmusikfestival.
Compositions Torstensson’s compositions are performed by orchestras, ensembles and soloists worldwide, and are also regularly presented at major new music festivals. Among Torstensson’s most frequently performed compositions we find the cycles Licks & Brains, Urban Songs, Lantern Lectures and A cycle of the North. The critically acclaimed opera The Expedition (1994-1999) for soloists, orchestra and electronics, was premiered during the 1999 Holland Festival in the Amsterdam Concertgebouw. Performances followed in Sweden, Norway, Germany and (again) Sweden. In October 2004 the song cycle In großer Sehnsucht (on texts by five ‘tragic’ women: Camille Claudel, Frida Kahlo, Cristina di Svezia,
Rosa Luxemburg and Louise Michel) received its first performance in the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, with Charlotte Riedijk and the Osiris Piano Trio. The cycle was also presented in a staged version by Onafhankelijk Toneel during the Rotterdam Opera Days 2007. The monumental concerto for percussion and large ensemble Selfportrait with percussion, was premiered during the Wittener Tage für neue Kammermusik by the Asko|Schönberg Ensemble. Over the past years, the work has been performed several times in The Netherlands, USA, Poland, Sweden, Latvia and Lithuania. The Violin Concerto, written for - and dedicated to – the American violinist Jennifer Koh and the Dutch Nieuw Ensemble, was first performed in May 2010 in Het Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ, Amsterdam. A chamber music version - Pocket Size Violin Concerto - was commissioned by the Swedish ensemble The peärls before swïne experience. The two ensemble-pieces Sieben mal sieben and Sieben mal NEO were written in 2013 for the New European Ensemble (The Netherlands) and the Norrbotten NEO (Sweden), respectively. In March 2015 a large work for choir, Arcadia 1689, commissioned by the Dutch ZaterdagMatinee, was premiered in the Concertgebouw Amsterdam, by the Groot Omroep Koor conducted by Gijs Leenaars. In the 2016-2017 season Klas Torstensson’s music was presented at, amongst others, three portrait concerts given in New York (Miller Theatre), Stockholm (Konserthuset) and Luleå (Kulturens hus), Sweden, with new works: Sönerna, No slash and Elliott loves bebop (New York, Stockholm) and Paris 1993 (Gothenburg). In 2018 Torstensson will be ‘composer in focus’ at The Doelen, Rotterdam. Several works are to be performed, and his Autunno di Christina will be premiered by the soprano Charlotte Riedijk and Sinfonietta Riga, conducted by Normunds Sne.
Selected compositions of Klas Torstensson
▪▪ Arcadia 1689: for large mixed choir a cappella, 2014 ▪▪ Elliott loves bebop: for double quartet, 2016 ▪▪ The Expedition: Opera in 2 acts with a prologue, an intermezzo and an epilogue, 1999 ▪▪ Fastlandet (The Mainland) from ‘A cycle of the North’: for orchestra, 2007 ▪▪ Himmelen (The Heaven) from ‘A cycle of the North’: for orchestra, 2011 ▪▪ Interlude for Fie: for bass clarinet, 2015 ▪▪ Licks & brains I: for saxophone quartet, 1987 ▪▪ Licks & brains II: for saxophone quartet and large ensemble, 1988 ▪▪ Sönerna: for quartet, 2016 ▪▪ Polarhavet (The Polar Sea) from ‘A cycle of the North’: for orchestra, 2008 ▪▪ Sieben mal sieben: for ensemble, 2013
Awards Torstensson has received several awards: the 1991 Matthijs Vermeulen Prize - the most prestigious composition prize in The Netherlands - in 1999 followed by the Swedish equivalent: the Stora Christ Johnson Priset, by the Swedish Royal Music Academy. Torstensson’s opera The Expedition was a nominee for the Nordic Council Music Prize 2006, and his Intermezzo was ‘recomended’ by the International Rostrum of Composers. For his Polarhavet, he in 2009 received the Swedish Music Publishers Award, followed in 2011 by the Järnåkerstipendium for In großer Sehnsucht. Fastlandet, Polarhavet, and The Violin Concerto were nominees for the Dutch Toonzetters Prize in 2009, 2010 and 2011 respectively. In 2012 the Swedish Composer’s Union awarded him the Hilding Rosenberg Prize for his complete oeuvre.
▪▪ Solo: for bass saxophone, 1988 ▪▪ No slash: for quartet, 2016 ▪▪ Stick on stick: for orchestra, 1990 ▪▪ Two showpieces for percussion, 2008 ▪▪ und eine Springflut: for string ensemble, 2017 ▪▪ Urban intro: for string orchestra, 2007 ▪▪ Violin Concerto: for violin and large ensemble, 2010
Many of Torstensson’s compositions are available on cd. Official website: klastorstensson.com
Flyer about composer Klas Torstensson