The eminent Swedish choral conductor Gustaf Sjökvist sadly passed away on Febrary 15 at the age of 71 after a long period of illness.
He will be remembered as one of the great Swedish conductors who has had considerable influence on Swedish choral music and the tradition of choral singing, and who worked relentlessly up until the time of his death. Among his many engagements, he was a member of both the C21C advisory board and the board of the Eric Ericson International Choral Centre Foundation.
Gustaf Sjökvist will be sorely missed in the choral world and we mourn him as both a friend and colleague.
One of Sweden’s most renowned conductors working both with choral and orchestral music.
Apart from long service as Cathedral organist in the Cathedral in Stockholm (1967-2011), he was a guest conductor in a number of Swedish and foreign orchestras and choirs.
Sjökvist studied Church Music Performance and Conducting at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm during 1963-1970, including Choral Conducting for Eric Ericson and Orchestral Conducting for Herbert Blomstedt and Siegfried Naumann, as well as Graduate Studies in Orchestral Conducting for Sixten Ehrling and Karl Minchinger.
AWARDS (among others):
1988 Member of the Royal Academy of Music
1991 Appointed professor
1994 Hugo Alfvén award
1996 Choral Conductor of the Year
1998 Royal Medal Litteris et artibus
2000 Royal Court Organist
From the mid-1970’s Sjökvist devoted half of his career to orchestral guest conducting. Apart from the professional orchestras in Scandinavia, he appeared with a number of German orchestras, the BBC Orchestra in London as well as orchestras in the USA and Australia.
During the 1980’s Sjökvist performed several modern Swedish operas with the Royal Opera in Stockholm.
Sjökvist always was at the forefront of contemporary Swedish music and gave innumerable premiere performances of works by e.g. Lars Edlund, Jan Sandström, Ingvar Lidholm, Sven-Erik Bäck, Georg Riedel and Bo Holten as well as Sven-David Sandström, with whom he had a close collaboration over several years.
Through the years in his work as an orchestral conductor Sjökvist collaborated with a countless number of Swedish and international artists such as Victor Borge, Birgit Nilsson, Stan Getz, Peter Mattei, Putte Wickman, Lill Lindfors, Edita Gruberova, Bengt Hallberg, Håkan Hagegård, Roland Pöntinen, Anne Sofie von Otter, Barbara Hendricks, Arne Domnérus, Malena Ernman…
Sjökvist made more than 40 CD-recordings and several Radio and TV broadcasts.
1967-2011 Sjökvist was conductor of the Stockholm Cathedral Choir with whom he made over 20 concerts annually as well as tours to e.g. USA, Australia and China.
1986-1994 Sjökvist was Principal Conductor and Artistic Leader for the Swedish Radio Choir. Together they made several recordings and toured to e.g. the former Soviet Union, Italy, Germany and the Nordic countries.
From 1994 until his death Sjökvist was the Principal Guest Conductor of the Radio Choir at the Bayerischer Rundfunk (Bavarian Radio) in Munich,having worked regularly with them since 1978. Furthermore he appeared as guest conductor in a number of professional choirs in Europe such as the radio choirs of Hamburg, Stuttgart, Cologne, Copenhagen and Paris.
Gustaf Sjökvist’s Chamber Choir was formed in 1994, with which he performed an extensive repertoire of music from a wide range of periods and genres. They have been responsible for a number of premiere performances, not in the least of Swedish music. The choir has toured extensively to countries such as USA, Taiwan, Marocco, Hong Kong, Italy, England, France and Germany.
2013-2015 Gustaf Sjökvist was the president of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music.