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Magnus Lindberg

Born: 1958

Nationality: Finnish

Publisher: Chester Music

Photo © Hanya Chlala


After studying at the Sibelius Academy in his native Finland, Lindberg studied privately with Gérard Grisey and Vinko Globokar in Paris and attended courses given by Franco Donatoni (Siena) and Brian Ferneyhough (Darmstadt). If Magnus Lindberg had an Opus 1, it would be Quintetto dell'Estate (1979), which shows a depiction of drama through gesture that is still highly relevant to his work today. A further breakthrough is marked by Action-Situation-Signification (1982), the first work in which he turned towards the technique of musique concrète. This work is also important because it ultimately led to the founding (with Esa-Pekka Salonen ) of Toimii - an ensemble dedicated to experimentation in composition - which became a laboratory for developing many of Lindberg's subsequent ideas.

Kraft (1983-85), in essence a concerto for the members of Toimii and orchestra, sees the distillation of these experiments and together with Ur (1986) shows Lindberg exploring further the processing of conventional sound with electronic devices. In the 1990s, pieces such as Marea (1990), the Piano Concerto (1990-94), Corrente (1992), Corrente II (1992) and Coyote Blues (1993) have been less concerned with the use of electronics (although the composer still uses computers as a compositional aid) and show Lindberg putting a stronger emphasis on the harmonic structure of his music. June 1994 saw the triumphant premiere in Tokyo of the major new orchestral work Aura - in memoriam Witold Lutoslawski , a commission from the Suntory International Program for Music Composition, and in June 1995 his Arena was the test piece for the first International Sibelius Conductor's Competition in Helsinki.

In 1995 he was the featured composer at the Aldeburgh Festival and in 1996 he was Artistic Director of the South Bank Centre's Meltdown Festival. In 1997 he was featured at the Ars Musica Festival in Brussels and the Strasbourg Musica Festival where his two largest works Kraft and Aura received their French Premieres. Recent works include Engine (1996), a commission from the London Sinfonietta, Arena II (1996) for sinfonietta, and Related Rocks (1997), an IRCAM commission for electronics, 2 pianos and percussion. 

Among the many prizes his music has won are the Prix Italia (1986), the UNESCO Rostrum (1986), the Nordic Music Prize (1988) and the Royal Philharmonic Society Prize for large-scale composition (1992). 

Magnus Lindberg's music is available on the Finlandia, Ondine and Adès labels.
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