JURY OF THE 2021 ERIC ERICSON AWARD
Since 2008, Cecilia Rydinger has been the artistic director and conductor of the world-famous male voice choir Orphei Drängar. Before that, she was the director of Allmänna Sången for over 20 years, and between 1994 and 1998 was the chief conductor at what is now Wermland Opera. She has been a guest conductor at the Royal Swedish Opera, Folkoperan, Stora teatern in Gothenburg and Norrlandsoperan in Umeå.
After nine years as a senior lecturer, in 2007 she was appointed Professor in Orchestral Conducting at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm, the first woman in the Nordic region in her position. In 2012 she was appointed Acting Vice-Chancellor of the Royal College of Music and was inaugurated the following year as Vice-Chancellor. In 2019 she returned to her professorship.
She studied church music and conducting at the Royal College of Music under, among others, Professor Eric Ericson. She graduated in 1991, the same year that she won the Royal Opera’s young conductors competition. She is a recipient of the Swedish Royal Medal Litteris et Artibus, is a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music, and in 2009 was named Choral Conductor of the Year by the Swedish Choral Conductors’ Association.
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.
One strong characteristic feature of her work is her exploration of the areas between art and folk music. 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. Her piece Silten Earth for orchestra and choir will be premiered in Amsterdam and Berwaldhallen in 2022.
Between 2000 and 2004 Rehnqvist was Composer in Residence with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Svenska Kammarorkestern in collaboration.
Karin Rehnqvist has received many prizes for her music, in 1996 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, 2003 the Litteris and Artibus medal. The Hilding Rosenberg award in 2006 is the latest prize.
Karin Rehnqvist is professor of composition at the Royal College of Music and a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music.
Erik Westberg is a multi-award-winning choir conductor and, since 2003, Professor in Choir Conducting and Choral Singing at the Department of Arts, Communication and Education at Luleå University of Technology. In 1993, he founded the Erik Westberg Vocal Ensemble, an ensemble that has commissioned and premièred some fifty works by Swedish and international composers, completed over forty performance tours, and made a large number of recordings.
He has also been the choirmaster of the Oslo Philharmonic Choir and the KFUM Choir in Stockholm, and has been engaged as guest conductor for the Swedish Radio Choir, Pro Coro Canada, Coro Nacional de España and Coro Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo. He was the founder of the project “Choral Singing for Peace and Justice” which engaged 8,000 choristers in 56 countries, and founder of the Barents International Centre for Choral Music, which engaged professional singers from Sweden, Finland, Norway and Russia.
He has received multiple awards. These include the Royal Swedish Academy of Music’s conducting award in 1992 as first conductor, and was honoured in 2006 with His Majesty the King of Sweden’s Medal of the Eighth Size with ribbon of the Order of the Seraphim. He studied choir conducting under Professor Eric Ericson at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm.
Kaspars Putniņš is the chief conductor of the Swedish Radio Choir from the 2020–2021 season. He is also artistic director and chief conductor of the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir and has been a permanent conductor of the Latvian Radio Choir since 1994. As a guest conductor, he has collaborated with the likes of RIAS Chamber Choir, NDR Chor (North German Radio Choir) in Hamburg, the Danish National Vocal Ensemble, the BBC singers, Tokyo Cantat, and the Netherlands Radio Choir.
Putniņš is as well-versed in the interpretation of Renaissance polyphonic choral works as in the powerful emotional outpourings of works of the Romantic period. But above all he is a passionate promoter of outstanding contemporary choral music. Through close collaborations with a string of Nordic and Baltic composers, he has contributed to setting a high standard for performances and recordings of newly composed choral works.
He has conducted works by composers such as Maija Einfelde, Mārtiņš Viļums, Toivo Tulev, Lasse Thoresen and Gavin Bryars, and has been the driving force behind a variety of theatrical projects where his choristers have collaborated with actors and visual artists. He has made acclaimed recordings of works by for example Schnittke and Pärt with the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir on a CD that has received both a Gramophone Award and Diapason d’Or.
Justin Doyle is Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the RIAS Kammerchor, in demand as a conductor of opera, and works regularly with orchestras. He is Guest Professor in Choral Conducting at the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler in Berlin and International Visitor at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki. He was formerly Musical Director of ensembles such as the University of Manchester Chorus and Essex Symphony Orchestra and Artistic Director of the Ryedale and Swaledale Festivals.
As a guest conductor, he has had engagements with the Hallé Orchestra, Finnish Baroque Orchestra, Royal Northern Sinfonia, Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin and Johannesburg Philharmonic among others. He has received glowing reviews for his opera interpretations, including Mozart’s Così fan tutte, Britten’s Albert Herring and Offenbach’s Fantasio, the latter at Garsington Opera in 2019. With RIAS Kammerchor, he has recorded an album with choral works Benjamin Britten, and the album Heritage with music by Jewish German composers, featuring Cantor Azi Schwartz.
He has travelled extensively in Africa, mostly in Kenya and Ethiopia, arranging indigenous music for choir. In his youth, he sang in the Westminster Cathedral Choir, and later entered King’s College, Cambridge as a choral scholar.
Swedish-born Sofi Jeannin is Chief Conductor of the BBC Singers and Music Director of la Maîtrise de Radio France. Over the years she has established herself as one of the finest and most respected choral specialists around today.
Alongside busy and varied diaries with the BBC Singers and la Maîtrise de Radio France, Sofi Jeannin has a fulfilling guest career at the highest level, with highlights including appearances with orchestras such as the Halle, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Singapore Symphony, New Japan Philharmonic, and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, as well as with choirs including the Swedish Radio Chorus, Coro Casa da Musica, Porto, DR VokalEnsemblet, Denmark, Chamber Choir Ireland, and NFM Choir, Wroclaw.
Sofi Jeannin studied conducting and singing at the Stockholm Royal College of Music, the Nice Conservatoire and then at the Royal College of Music, London, with Paul Spicer. She was previously Music Director of the Choeur de Radio France, a post she took up in 2015.