Estonian Music Days

Tallinn / Tartu

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Britta Byström

Britta Byström (b. 1977, Sweden) began her musical career as a trumpet player. In her teens, she began to compose music and studied composition at the Royal University of Music in Stockholm 19952001, where her main teachers were Pär Lindgren and Bent Sørensen.

Byström has composed for most sizes of orchestras and contexts including chamber music, vocal music and opera, but the emphasis has been on orchestral music. Her music has played the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the Gürzenich Orchestra, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra. She has written pieces directly for soloists such as Malin Broman, Rick Stotijn, Radovan Vlatkovic and Janine Jansen. She has received many awards for her music: In 2014, the viola concerto A Walk After Dark, with soloist Ellen Nisbeth, received the da capo prize at the Brandenburger Biennale. In 2016, Byström was named winner of the prestigious American Elaine Lebenbom memorial award for female composers. The song cycle Notes From the City of the Sun, with soloist Malin Byström, was selected as one of the recommended works at the International Rostrum For Composers 2019. The stage work Gállábártnit (libretto by Rawdna Carita Eira), which had its acclaimed premiere at the new music scene Soundstreams in Toronto in November 2019, was nominated to a Canadian Dora Award 2020 as outstanding new opera. Among the works could be mentioned Many, Yet One (2016), which was first performed by Detroit Symphony Orchestra, conductor James Gaffigan, and Infinite Rooms – a double concerto for violin/viola, double bass and orchestra, written for the soloists Malin Broman and Rick Stotijn. The piece was awarded with the Stora Christ Johnson prize in 2020. A CD with Byström’s music, Invisible Cities, was nominated to a 2015 Swedish Grammy and selected as the classical album of the year in several magazines. Parallel Universes, a piece commissioned by BBC Proms to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Royal Albert Hall, was first performed in August 2021 with BBC Philharmonic and conductor John Storgårds. Britta Byström’s music demonstrates a special attention to sound and a sensitivity for the music’s resonance that could be described as impressionistic.