Karin Rehnqvist foto Agnes Thor
Karin Rehnqvist foto Agnes Thor

Karin Rehnqvist

One of the most frequently performed Swedish composers on the international scene, Karin Rehnqvist works in the borderland between folk music and art music. She has integrated the ancient female singing technique called ”kulning” (herding calls) into a deeply personal and unique tone language which has made her music an innovative contribution to the repertoire in the fields of chamber, orchestra and vocal music worldwide. In 2009, she was appointed the first female professor of composition at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm and she was one of the founders of The Association of Swedish Women Composers.

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A characteristic feature which has often been mentioned in connection with Karin Rehnqvist’s music is the cross-fertilisation between art music and folk music. The folk music element is an integral part of her music and is not just used for effect or for nostalgic reasons. Her use of herding calls, kulning, is a striking element in several of her works, including Puksånger - lockrop for two female voices and percussion, and Solsången for soprano, speach and chamber orchestra.

Rehnqvist’s unique ability to write challenging, expressive and artistically complex works for both professional musicians and amateurs, especially youth- and girls’ choir, has made her widely performed thoughout the world. 2000–2004 Karin Rehnqvist was composer in residence with Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Svenska Kammarorkestern in co-operation. For them she composed the much performed Arktis Arktis!, inspired from a polar expedition in the summer of 1999. Her choral symphony Light of Light, which features children's choir and orchestra, was premiered in Paris in 2004. In 2015, she was appointed Honorary Doctor at the Birmingham City University.

Karin Rehnqvist has received many prizes for her music; In 1996 the Läkerol Arts Award "for her renewal of the relationship between folk music and art music". The same year she was awarded the "Spelmannen" prize by the daily newspaper Expressen, and in 1997 she received the Christ Johnson Prize for Solsången. In 2001 she was awarded the Kurt Atterberg Prize. Karin Rehnqvist received the Royal Swedish Academy of Music’s finest award, Medaljen för Tonkonstens Främjande, in 2012.

Among her portrait-CDs, Davids nimm (Phono Suecia 1996), Arktis Arktis! (BIS, 2005) and Till Ängeln med de brinnande händerna (To the Angel with the Fiery Hands, Intim Musik, 2008) are especially noticeable. Her CD LIVE (Sterling Modern, 2014) was awarded a Grammis (equivlent of the Grammy award) in the category Classic.

Karin Rehnqvist is professor of composition at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm. She was one of the founders of The Association of Swedish Women Composers, she is a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music and in 2018, a biography of her was released by the Academy in the series Swedish Composers – the first of a female composer.

Karin Rehnqvist lives in Nacka, outside of Stockholm.

Karin Rehnqvist was the Gehrmans/#swedishchoralmusic Composer of the Month in December 2019. Read her intervju here: ”I was an odd bird with my interest in folk music and amateur choirs”

For more information: www.karin-rehnqvist.se