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Britta Byström

Born: 1977

Nationality: Swedish

Publisher: Edition Wilhelm Hansen

Photo © Lars Skaaning

Britta Byström is one of Sweden’s most gifted composing talents. She has written opera, choral works and chamber music, but her homeground is orchestral music. The result has been a long succession of original orchestral works and solo con­certos written for young, striking Nordic soloists such as the trumpeter Tine Thing Helseth and the violist Ellen Nisbeth. Britta Byström’s orchestral works have been performed by a number of prominent Nordic orchestras – the Royal Philharmonic in Stockholm, the Swedish Radio Orchestra, the Norwegian Radio Orchestra KORK and others.

While Britta Byström herself says that the concert hall and the symphony orchestra are where she feels most comfortable, alongside the orchestral works stand a number of fine chamber music works: the string sextet Ramble Through my Countryside (2007), the quartet Letter in April (2011), the piano trio Symphony in Yellow (2003) or the short horn trio Kinderszenen (2011).

Her approach to writing music is poetic and is determined by impressions. Britta Byström’s special ear for musical qualities such as instrumentation and timbre mean that her music can perhaps best be characterized as impressionistic. She herself says, “I try to create poetic, beautiful music that can invite the listener to an experience of beauty.”

Britta Byström’s works often have titles that are borrowed from or send a friendly greeting to literary classics or film titles such as Invisible Cities (2013), Picnic at Hanging Rock (2010), to music like Der Vogel der Nacht (2010) with reference to Mahler, or Farewell Variations (2005) with reference to Haydn. However, the titles should not be understood simply as programmes or contents for the works; rather they are evo­ca­tive titles which poetically set the scene for the musical experience.

Hjarne Fessel 2014
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