Swedes go British for BBC Proms debut

Swedes go British for BBC Proms debut
One of Sweden's leading orchestras, Camerata Nordica, will perform the world premiere of one of Great Britain's favourite contemporary composers, Benjamin Britten, at this year’s prestigious BBC Proms.

“The BBC Proms are often described as the world’s greatest musical festival, and they are quintessentially British, so it is a particular honour for Camerata Nordica to be invited to perform an all-British programme for its Proms debut,” Sofie Haag, Founder and Managing Director of From Sweden Productions, told The Local.

The world-first performance will take place on August 31st in London’s Cadogan Hall as part of the renowned classical music festival that will see over 90 concerts performed over a two-month period in the British capital. Camerata Nordica’s performance of Elegy for strings will go towards celebrating Britten’s centenary year.

Both Stockholm-born Haag and the orchestra she represent are “elated” that their hard work and determination has opened the doors to the prestigious hall, and about the prospect of performing to a world-wide audience.

IN PICTURES: Camerata Nordica

The piece the Swedish orchestra will perform next month was written by British composer, conductor and pianist Benjamin Britten in April 1928 when he was only 14 years old but has never been performed on a public stage. Britten, who died in 1976, is perhaps better known for his epic War Requiem and Simple Symphony.

The highly anticipated debut performance is almost sold out but will be broadcast live on BBC Radio 3 (including online) for those unable to attend. Directed by Norwegian violinist, Terje Tønnesen, and consisting of hand-picked musicians from all over Europe, the ensemble has already performed in the USA, Poland, Argentina, Latvia to name but a few. But this will be their BBC Prom debut.

“It is something we are extremely proud of,” Kjell Lindström, General Manager for Camerata Nordica told The Local. “We are overwhelmed, delighted and deeply honoured to be given this wonderful opportunity,” he said in a recent press release.

Part of the orchestra’s appeal is that, as a camerata, they perform without a conductor and uniquely, they also play standing up.

“Camerata Nordica has an exceptional energy. It’s a string ensemble that performs without a conductor, so the players need to be specially sensitive to each other as they play, and all the violin and viola-players perform standing up, which is very unusual,” Haag said. “There is a special rapport between the musicians – and also between the ensemble and the audience.”

With the subsequent tour being supported by the Britten-Pears Foundation, the Swedish Embassy in London, SEB and From Sweden Productions, the BBC Proms appearance is as much about showcasing brand Sweden as it is premiering recently discovered music.

“When it comes to exporting music, on a per capita basis Sweden is No 3 in the world, and it certainly punches above its weight when it comes to classical music,” Haag told The Local.

“They are the only Swedish orchestral ensemble appearing at the Proms this year, though the Swedish soprano Nina Stemme made a huge impact in the recent Wagner Ringcycle at the Royal Albert Hall.”

Victoria Hussey


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