Anders Nilsson

(1954 - )

Born on July 7th, 1954 in Stockholm. First studied at the Birkagården High School in Stockholm, later studying composition for Gunnar Bucht at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm. His lessons with Brian Ferneyhough have also held great importance for him. He has also been a teacher, at among other places the Royal College of Music in Stockholm.

During his early days as a composer, Anders Nilsson showed a great interest in several accomplished but stylistically differing masters: Berio, Boulez, Lutoslawski, to name a few. His aspirations towards historical orientation are still strong, but he has with time become more independent, as well as expanding his horizons to include even older segments of music history. For example, he himself says that his rhythmic and motivic work is strongly influenced by Beethoven.

Anders Nilsson’s tonal language has a wide spectrum of colors and echoes in which one can clearly hear roots in the Western cultural tradition. The First Symphony, premiered with great success in 1998, has the traditional symphonic form in its entirety: it is comprised of four movements, the first in sonata form, followed by an adagio movement, a scherzo, and a climactic finale. The orchestra is the medium that has up to now meant most to him; his orchestrational techniques put characteristics such as clarity and transparency in the foreground. This can also be observed in the Sinfonietta, in the concert overture Mind the gap, and in several solo concertos. He has written a concerto for organ, the oboe concerto Ariel, and concertos for piano and marimba, respectively. In the Concerto grosso for saxophone quartet and orchestra, he touches lightly upon the virtuosity and spirituality that characterized the Baroque concerto grosso form.

Concentration, imaginative coloring, and thorough form can also be seen in Anders Nilsson’s chamber music, for example the septet Divertimento, the piano suite Five Orchestral Pieces, and The Angel, a quartet for clarinet, violin, cello, and piano. He has also written two works involving voice soloists: Reflections (to a text by the composer) and Elegische Fragmente (text by Rilke).