“Sven-David Sandström was asked shortly before his death if he would like to be remembered with an award and if so, what form should it take. His answer came in a flash: “It should be an award recognizing newly composed choral music.” I am thrilled that this competition is finally ready to be announced among his former beloved students at Indiana University, and I would like to express my gratitude to all who have helped realize Sven-David’s wish. Thanks to those who contributed to the Sven-David Sandström Memorial Fund managed by the Royal Swedish Academy of Music. Also, I am very grateful to the dedicated jury for their work and to Gehrmans for publishing the commissioned piece. As I look forward to the performances, I know that Sven-David could not have been happier.”
– Ann-Marie Lysell
July 27, 2021 announcement: The commission prize has been awarded to Matthew Peterson. Performance prizes will be announced as possible in the near future.
A $5000 commission and multiple performances of an a cappella choral work will be awarded to a former or current Indiana University Jacobs School of Music student who at some point studied privately with Sven-David Sandström.
Performance(s) of the entered work by one or more of the participant choirs, providing the duration is acceptable to the choirs. Works under 10 minutes are preferred.
The commissioned work will have a duration of approximately 8-12 minutes and must be completed by August 1, 2022. Delivery will consist of a professional-quality PDF score which, if agreeable to the composer, will then be edited and published by Gehrmans, one of the leading music publishers in Scandinavia. By accepting the terms of the commission, the composer gives permission to the choirs to make reproductions of the score as necessary for their performance. A more detailed commission agreement will be signed by all parties once the composer is chosen in 2021.
Funds for the commission are provided and will be disbursed by The Royal Swedish Academy of Music through the Sven-David Sandström Memorial Fund, chaired by Ann-Marie Lysell. Half of the commission fee will be paid upon signing an agreement between the composer and the Royal Swedish Academy. The second half of the fee will be paid at a concert to be held on October 29, 2022, in conjunction with the celebration of Sven-David Sandström’s birthday in Berwaldhallen, Stockholm, during which the commissioned work will be premiered by the Swedish Radio Choir conducted by Kaspars Putniņš.
The commissioned work will be performed by the following choirs:
- Swedish Radio Choir, Kaspars Putniņš
- Norwegian Academy of Music, Grete Pedersen
- Eric Ericson Chamber Choir, Fredrik Malmberg
- Indiana University Jacobs School of Music NOTUS, Dominick DiOrio
- Sofia Vokalensemble, Bengt Ollén
- possibly others…
ENTRY DEADLINE: June 1, 2021 | ANNOUNCEMENT OF WINNERS: by August 1, 2021
An entry will consist of one (1) PDF file sent to firstname.lastname@example.org and containing the following:
- a statement outlining your history with Sven-David Sandström
- proof of eligibility (see below)
- a current resume or career narrative (2 pages maximum)
- one choral score, preferably a cappella and under 10 minutes duration (for consideration for 2nd and 3rd prize performances). Include an active link on the first page of the score that points to an online recording (at Soundcloud, Youtube, or whatever server you might have access to) – preferably the recording is of live voices, but a midi realization is acceptable as well.
Please adhere to the following:
1. Combine these documents into one PDF file; do NOT submit Finale, Sibelius, or Dorico files, or MP3 files.
2. Use this format for the filename: SDS_<lastname>.pdf
3. The PDF file should be emailed to David Dzubay (email@example.com)
- The first iteration of these awards will focus on students of Professor Sandström from his significant tenure teaching at the IU Jacobs School of Music. It is planned that the awards will recur, with varying eligibility requirements and award components.
- Any composer who studied privately with Professor Sandström at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music for at least one semester is eligible.
- Proof of eligibility can be either a photocopy of an enrollment document or a written statement from an IU composition faculty member who confirms that you studied with Prof. Sandström.
Online only, during June & July 2021, meeting TBD
The jury for this competition will consist of:
- Claude Baker, IU Jacobs School composition department (retired)
- Britta Byström, composer, The Royal Swedish Academy of Music
- Dominick DiOrio, IU Jacobs School choral department and director of NOTUS
- David Dzubay, IU Jacobs School composition department, jury chair
- Fredrik Malmberg, conductor, The Royal College of Music, Eric Ericson Chamber Choir
- Stefan Parkman, conductor, Vice President of The Royal Swedish Academy of Music
- Grete Pedersen, conductor, Norwegian Academy of Music
- Kaspars Putniņš, conductor, Swedish Radio Choir
No composer has made such an impression on contemporary Swedish musical life as Sven-David Sandström. His catalog of works, which includes some 600 compositions, gives proof not only of impressive productivity but also contains an amazingly wide range: everything from magnificent operas and oratorios to intimate choral and chamber music.
With his unlikely combination of creativity and diligence in the craft of composition, restless curiosity, and firmly rooted mastery of form, Sandström alternates, to all appearances unconcerned, between a sophisticated orchestral texture and musical melodies, film music and music for the church.
Sven-David Sandström had his breakthrough in 1972 with Through and through, an orchestral work that was met with an international response when two years later it was performed by the Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam. Sandström quickly established himself as a leading modernist in the younger generation of Scandinavian composers, not seldom with scores of a terrifying degree of difficulty. Pierre Boulez chose, for example, to conduct his piece Utmost with the BBC Symphony Orchestra.
Around 1980 a decisive turning point occurred in Sven-David Sandström’s tone language. Without abandoning the high demands on his executants his musical form of address became simpler, more emotional. The epoch-making Requiem – De ur alla minnen fallna, a mighty fresco over the infanticide of the Holocaust, stands out today as one of the most prominent works in 20th-century Swedish music. A number of choral works began to pour from Sandström’s pen, all of them eagerly sought after by Sweden’s many elite choirs. At the same time, his interest in the stage was aroused and resulted in, among other works, six original ballet scores.
High Mass (1994), a monumental work for five female vocal soloists, large choir and orchestra, modeled on J.S. Bach´s Mass in B minor, was received with high acclaim. It became the starting point for a series of works inspired by Bach: A Christmas Oratorio (2004), the cantata Wachet auf (2008) and a Magnificat (2005). The series of six motets after Bach´s originals occupies a special position.
Also, in his occupational role, Sven-David Sandström has been inspired by the great cantor of St. Thomas. In 2008, when his ten-year professorship in composition at the prestigious Indiana University Jacobs School of Music in Bloomington, came to an end, he was able to realize a long-cherished dream: to compose, like Bach, for all the feast days of the ecclesiastical year. He gladly took upon himself to deliver music on a regular basis: one work every other week, all in all, 66 works, for the choirs and ensembles of the Stockholm Cathedral and the Hässelby congregation.
In 2012 Sven-David Sandström returned to the US and Indiana University as professor of composition.
The 2010s saw the premieres of a number of large-scale sacred vocal works, including his second Requiem, the monumental St. Matthew Passion, and the Passion of St John. In addition, he has also composed four new solo concertos – for flute, violin, piano, and trombone, two symphonies, two chamber operas, and a series of chamber music works, songs, and a cappella choral works. On top of that, he composed a “gigantic” opera, The Book, built on Niklas Rådström’s comprehensive poetical interpretation of the Biblical narratives. Sven-David passed away on 10 June 2019.
photo credit: Mats Bäcker
Biographical dates and awards
- Born in Borensberg, Sweden, 1942
- 1968–1972 Studies in composition with Ingvar Lidholm at The Royal College of Music in Stockholm, and with guest professors György Ligeti, Per Nörgård and others
- 1974 The Little Christ Johnson Prize for Through and Through
- 1981 The newspaper Expressen’s music award – Spelmannen
- 1984 The Nordic Council´s Prize for Missa da Requiem
- 1985–1995 Professor in composition at The Royal College of Music in Stockholm
- 1994 The Royal medal Litteris et artibus
- 1995 The Big Christ Johnson Prize for High Mass
- 1995–1998 Deputy vice-chancellor at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm
- 1998 Honorary Doctorate, Faculty of Sciences and Educational Sciences at Linköping University.
- 1999–2008 Professor in composition at Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University, Bloomington, USA
- 2001 The Hugo Alfvén Prize
- 2008 The Swedish Music Publishers´ Award for Lifetime Achievement
- 2009 The Medal for the Promotion of Music from The Royal Swedish Academy of Music
- 2012–2018 Professor in composition at Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University, Bloomington, USA
- 2013 The Swedish Music Publisher’s Award for Requiem
- 2015 Honorary Doctorate, Karlstad University
- 2019 The Royal Swedish Academy of Music’s Composer’s Prize
- Died in Stockholm, Sweden, 2019