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Bringing Allan Pettersson to the world

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The background story to the quest of preserving and promoting Allan Pettersson's orchestral music.

7 June 2018

Swedish composer Allan Pettersson (1911-1980) is one of the most important composers in Scandinavia, on the same level as Sibelius and Nielsen. Yet his symphonies are rarely performed, especially in Sweden, and he does not get the recognition he deserves as one of the most prominent Swedish composers of the 20th century.

Over the years, the Norrköping Symphony Orchestra has recorded and performed a number of Allan Pettersson’s compositions. Together with BIS Records, the orchestra has made four recordings with conductor Leif Segerstam and in 2011 a collaboration with conductor Christian Lindberg, who completed Allan Pettersson’s unfinished first symphony, began.

“Happy and grateful”

The collaboration led to a decision to launch a more extensive project. In 2013 the Norrköping Symphony Orchestra, BIS Records and Christian Lindberg started the quest to record the remaining symphonies by Allan Pettersson.

- I am extremely happy and grateful that the Norrköping Symphony Orchestra, which is such a serious and fantastic orchestra, is willing to invest in this project, said conductor Christian Lindberg at the start of the project.

- I hope it will raise public interest in the symphonist Allan Pettersson and his great music.

A big success

It seems that Lindberg’s hopes are coming true. So far, the project has recorded 11 symphonies, not counting the ones made with Leif Segerstam. The recording of Symphony No. 9 was rewarded with a Critics Choice prize, a Grammis, in 2015, and since then the project’s recordings have been nominated to this prestigious prize every year. The project has also widened to include a recording of Pettersson’s violin concerto No. 2.

In June 2018 the Norrköping Symphony Orchestra went on tour to Grosser Saal, Musikverein, Vienna, to be the first orchestra ever to perform Pettersson’s music in this esteemed concert hall.

Upcoming recordings

In March 2019 the orchestra will perform and record the gigantic Symphony No. 12, “The dead on the square”, in collaboration with the Swedish Radio Choir and the Eric Ericson Chamber Choir.

Follow the Allan Pettersson Project for more news!


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