Martinsson Rolf

Martinsson Rolf

* 1956

Rolf Martinsson is one of Sweden's internationally most represented contemporary composers. During the past few years, his music has been performed in several countries, in venues such as New York, Vienna, Paris, London, Berlin, Prague, Madrid and Tokyo. His co-operation with Håkan Hardenberger, which commenced in the late 1990s, opened the doors to the international stage following the first performance by the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra under Neeme Järvi of Martinsson's trumpet concerto Bridge. This was an immediate success, and Hardenberger has since performed the work at some 50 different concerts, for example at the Berliner Philharmonie.

Rolf Martinsson by the sea

Photo: Anders Åberg

Martinsson has been awarded several prizes for his work, which has led to co-operation with a great number of leading orchestras, choirs, ensembles and musicians, among them the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the Radio Sinfonieorchester Wien, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, the Bamberger Symphoniker, the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, the Orchester der Beethovenhalle, the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, the Spanish Radio Symphony Orchestra, all the larger Swedish orchestras, the Swedish Radio Choir and the Swedish percussion ensemble Kroumata. His artist co-operations include conductors as Alan Gilbert, Sakari Oramo, Neeme Järvi, Leif Segerstam, Bertrand de Billy, Andris Nelsons, Vasily Petrenko, Ilan Volkov, Vassily Sinaisky, Eva Ollikainen, Thomas Søndergård, Mikko Frank, Okko Kamu, Manfred Honeck, Mario Venzago, John Storgårds, Andrew Manze, Otto Tausk and soloists as Anne Sofie von Otter, Håkan Hardenberger, Christian Lindberg, Martin Fröst, Mats Lidström, Jan Stigmer, Magnus Båge, Dan Styffe, Hans Pålsson and Peter Jablonski.

To date, Martinsson has written some 90 works representing a wide instrumental range; concertos, works for orchestra and choir, a number of chamber music compositions, works for radio theatre, solo works etc; among them the trumpet concerto Bridge, the trombone concerto Fairlight, the cello and violin concertos, the flute concerto Shimmering Blue, Orchestral Songs, Concerto for Orchestra, A. S. in Memoriam and Kalliope for string orchestra and orchestral works as Dreams, Open Mind and Variations for Orchestra. His music is characterized by strong stylistic consciousness, fine craftsmanship and skilful instrumentation, qualities that have made him appreciated and frequently performed.

The premiere of Martinsson's trumpet concerto Bridge, in Gothenburg in 1999 with Håkan Hardenberger and Neeme Järvi, was a great success which has led to several performances of the piece all over the world, except for the Berliner Philharmonie also in Detroit, London, Milwaukee, Birmingham, Bonn, Helsinki, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Madrid, Bayreuth, Seoul, Stockholm, Malmö and in a couple of German cities. Martinsson's music is also frequently performed on tours: Estonia/Finland/2005 with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Italy/2005 with the Norrköping Symphony Orchestra, Japan/2004 and the Balkan states/2007 with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, Germany/2003 with the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, England/1999 and Japan/2002 with the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra and Scotland/2001 with the Malmö Symphony Orchestra.

His co-operation with Christian Lindberg has also formed an important part of Martinsson's international breakthrough. The trombone concerto Fairlight, which was commissioned by the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, received high critical acclaim with Lindberg as soloist following its first performance in the Stockholm Concert Hall in the spring of 2005. Fairlight, which won The Swedish Music Publisher's Award 2005 for "The Most Significant Contemporary Music Work of the Year" was performed with great success at the historic Musikverein in Vienna in May 2007 by Lindberg and the Radio Sinfonieorchester Wien.

A number of Martinsson's works have been commissioned by ensembles in Sweden and abroad, resulting in performances not only in Sweden but also in most of the European countries and in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Peru, Brazil, Japan and Korea, in concerts as well as on the radio and on television. Most of his works have also been published by record companies and music publishers. Since January 2006 Martinsson is represented by Gehrmans Musikförlag in Stockholm.

In November 2008 Martinsson will be one of the two composers in focus during Composers Festival at the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra. More than 20 of his works will be performed by the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra/Sakari Oramo, the Norrköping Symphony Orchestra/Thomas Søndergård, the Gävle Symphony Orchestra/Eva Ollikainen, SNYKO, Avanti! and by soloists such as Håkan Hardenberger, Christian Lindberg, Mats Lidström, Magnus Båge, Jan Stigmer, Duo Gelland, Anders Kilström and Jacques Werup.

During 2009-2013 Martinsson is composing a clarinet concerto for Martin Fröst, a co-commission by the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and the Malmö Symphony Orchestra, and a double bass concerto for Dan Styffe and the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra except a major orchestral work for the Malmö Symphony Orchestra to the inauguration of the new concert hall in Malmö.

The Swedish composer Rolf Martinsson was born in 1956. After initial studies at the Malmö Academy of Music, he studied composition there from 1981-85 with Brian Ferneyhough, Sven-David Sandström, Hans Eklund, Sven-Eric Johanson, Jan W. Morthenson, Sven-Erik Bäck and others. In 1980 Martinsson was one of the founders of FUTIM (an association of young composers in Malmö). In 1984 he was producer of the UNM (Young Nordic Music) festival in Malmö and in 1986 he was elected into FST (the association of Swedish composers). Since 2002 Rolf Martinsson holds the position of Composer in Residence and Artistic Advisor with the Malmö Symphony Orchestra, as well as the Chair in Musical Theory including arrangement and composition at the Malmö Academy of Music, since 2006


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