Anders Eliasson

Anders Eliasson


• 1947 2013


Anders Eliasson remained a rather obscure composer outside Sweden, though international listeners familiar with his works were aware of his genius. Since the turn of the century his music has been gaining notice across the globe, with works like Sinfonia per archi (2001) and the Symphony No. 4 (2005). But older compositions like the 1978 Turnings, for orchestra, and the Symphony No. 3 (1989) have also garnered high praise. Eliasson's music is quite accessible, drawing stylistic comparisons to Prokofiev and Bartók, but without ever being charged with imitation or lack of individuality. Works from the earlier part of Eliasson's career, his First Symphony (1986) for example, and some of his chamber music, were somewhat more challenging for the listener, but still relatively approachable. Indeed, that initial symphony earned the composer several awards, including the Nordic Council Music Prize, in 1992, and has been regarded by critics and admirers as his breakthrough composition. Recordings of Eliasson's works are available on BIS, CPO, Neos, Alba, and other labels.

Anders Eliasson was born in Dalecaria Province, Sweden, on April 3, 1947. He played jazz trumpet in his early years, but soon turned toward more serious music, studying at Stockholm's Royal College of Music (1966-1972), under such teachers as Ingvar Lidholm and Valdemar Söderholm.

Though his first surviving compositions date to 1970, Eliasson began drawing significant notice in his homeland in 1977 with Canto in Lontanza, for orchestra. Throughout the 1980s his reputation grew and by 1990 he was recognized as one of the foremost Swedish composers, even if he was still relatively unknown outside the country.

In the years 1993-1994 Eliasson served as guest professor of composition at the famed Sibelius Academy of Music in Helsinki. In 1996 Eliasson's stature in Sweden was such that 37 of his works were performed at the prestigious Stockholm International Composers Festival.

Eliasson's works list continued to swell as he remained quite prolific into the new century: among many other large and small works, Eliasson has written three concertos since 2000 -- one for trombone (2000), one for alto saxophone (2002), and a double concerto for violin and piano (2005). While Eliasson's music had suffered from neglect outside Scandinavia for most of his career, it has enjoyed increased exposure in the new century. Indeed, his Symphony No. 4 was premiered in Munich by the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, with Christoph Poppen conducting, in January 2007.