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Edition Wilhelm Hansen
Photo © Maarit Kytöharju
Erik Bergman was born in Finland in 1911. He studied at the Sibelius Academy (where he later became Professor of Composition), with Heinz Tiessen in Berlin and with Wladimir Vogel in Ascona, Switzerland. He was widely known as a choral conductor until he retired from conducting in 1978, and his early output, mainly choral music, covered a remarkable range of expression from mischievous to the mystical. His achievements in this field must be counted among the most significant in post-war Europe. Bergman has travelled widely, collecting musical instruments and investigating the roots of European music. Although his own music is rich in ambiguities and operates on many levels, he has become in recent years more and more interested in 'musical primitivism' and 'music on threshold of silence'. From the late 1970s, there has been an outpouring of orchestral and instrumental music of the highest quality. Works such as NOA, the enigmatic SILENCE AND ERUPTIONS, and, more latterly, the VIOLIN CONCERTO and STRING QUARTET, have won him an international reputation. In 1995 his first opera THE SINGING TREE had its premiere at the Finnish National Opera in Helsinki, having won the prestigious Nordic Music Prize the preceding year. Following two all-Bergman concerts in Washington and New York, a critic wrote: 'One of the most important and interesting composers alive today, Bergman has developed his own highly original and expressive departures from the twelve-tone system and uses them with a skill and an emotional and artistic impact that are all his own. His music is inventive, imaginative and compelling.'