Rachmaninov 150 years: The Bells
Berwaldhallen celebrates pianist and composer Sergei Rachmaninov in five special programmes this autumn. Sergei Rachmaninov considered his choral symphony The Bells – inspired by the poem of the same name by Edgar Allan Poe – to be one of his personal favourites. Also, extraordinary violinist Frank Peter Zimmermann plays Edward Elgar’s beloved violin concerto.
The Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra is known worldwide as one of Europe’s most versatile orchestras with an exciting and varied repertoire and a constant striving to break new ground The multi-award-winning orchestra has been praised for its exceptional, wide-ranging musicianship as well as collaborations with the world’s foremost composers, conductors and soloists.
Permanent home of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra since 1979 is Berwaldhallen, the Swedish Radio’s concert hall. In addition to the audience in the hall, the orchestra reaches many many listeners on the radio and the web and through it´s partnership with EBU. Several concerts are also broadcast and streamed on Berwaldhallen Play and with Swedish Television, offering the audience more opportunities to come as close as possible to one of the world’s top orchestras.
“The orchestra has a unique combination of humility, sensibility and musical imagination”, says Daniel Harding, Music Director of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra since 2007. “I have never had a concert with the orchestra where they haven’t played as though their lives depended on it!”
The first radio orchestra was founded in 1925, the same year that the Swedish Radio Service began its broadcasts. The Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra received its current name in 1967. Through the years, the orchestra has had several distinguished Music Directors. Two of them, Herbert Blomstedt and Esa-Pekka Salonen, have since been appointed Conductors Laureate.
For more than 90 years, the Swedish Radio Choir has contributed to the development of the Swedish a cappella tradition. Under the leadership of legendary conductor Eric Ericson, the choir earned great international renown. It is still hailed as one of the best choirs in the world. The choir members’ ability to switch between powerful solo performances and seamlessly integrating themselves in the ensemble creates a unique and dynamic instrument praised by critics and music lovers alike, as well as by the many guest conductors who explore and challenge the choir’s possibilities.
Permanent home of the Swedish Radio Choir since 1979 is Berwaldhallen, the Swedish Radio’s concert hall. In addition to the seated audience, the choir reaches millions of listeners on the radio and the web through Klassiska konserten i P2. Several concerts are also broadcast and streamed on Berwaldhallen Play, offering the audience more opportunities to come as close as possible to one of the world’s top choirs.
With the 2020–2021 season, Kaspars Putniņš begins his tenure as the tenth Music Director of the Swedish Radio Choir. Since January 2019, Marc Korovitch is the choirmaster of the Swedish Radio Choir with responsibility for the ensemble’s continued artistic development. Two of the orchestra’s former Music Directors, Tõnu Kaljuste and Peter Dijkstra, were appointed Conductors Laureate in November 2019. Both maintain a close relationship with the choir and make regular guest appearances.
The Swedish Radio Choir was founded the same year as the Swedish Radio Service began its broadcasts and the choir had its first concert in May 1925. Right from the start, the choir had high ambitions with a conscious aim to perform contemporary music.
The Eric Ericson Chamber Choir was founded in 1945 by the then 27-year-old Eric Ericson and has since been a prominent hub of the Swedish as well as the international music scene. The ensemble’s interest in continually finding new music and new fields of work has given them a very extensive repertoire: from early music to the very latest. For generations of Swedish and international composers, the choir has represented an ideal with its characteristic Nordic sound and skilful virtuosity. The Eric Ericson Chamber Choir is part of the international elite of professional ensembles. Fredrik Malmberg has been their choirmaster since 2013.
Daniel Harding is Music and Artistic Director of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, with whom in 2022 he celebrated his 15-year anniversary. In the 2014/15 season he devised and curated the celebrated Interplay Festival, presenting a series of concerts and related inspirational talks involving artists, academics, scientists and philosophers. As Artistic Director he continues this type of influential programming at Berwaldhallen. He is also Conductor Laureate of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, with whom he has worked for over 20 years.
A renowned opera conductor, he has led critically acclaimed productions at the Teatro alla Scala Milan, Theater an der Wien, Wiener Staatsoper, the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and at the Aix-en-Provence and Salzburg Festivals. He continues to work regularly with the Wiener Philharmoniker, Berliner Philharmoniker, Bayerischer Rundfunk Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Filarmonica della Scala Orchestra, Dresden Staatskapelle and the London Symphony Orchestra. In 2018 he was named Artistic Director of the Anima Mundi Festival.
Daniel Harding’s tenure as Music and Artistic Director will last throughout the 2024/25 season. “It is increasingly rare that the relationship between a conductor and an orchestra not only lasts for more than a decade, but keeps growing,” he says about working with the orchestra. “It is also rare for an orchestra of the highest musical standard to very obviously want to keep on growing.”
After playing the trumpet in his youth, he discovered conducting as a teenager. 17 years old, he led a performance of Arnold Schönberg’s Pierrot lunaire with a student ensemble, which led to assisting Simon Rattle with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra for a year. His time with Rattle and the orchestra ended with Harding’s professional debut, conducting the orchestra himself.
In 2002, Harding was awarded the title Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Government, and in 2017 nominated to the position Officier des Arts et Lettres. In 2012, he was elected a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music. In 2021, he was appointed Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. He is also a qualified airline pilot.
Approximate concert length: 1 hour 45 minutes including intermission
Lucia with Nacka Musikklasser
A traditional Swedish Lucia for the whole family with Nacka musikklasser and friends.
Miriam Bryant meets the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra
Swedish singer and songwriter Miriam Bryant in a cross-boundrary musical collaboration with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra and conductor Hans Ek.
Christmas Concert 2023
Find your Christmas spirit with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Swedish Radio Choir, and guests in Berwaldhallen’s annual Christmas concert.