Carl Unander-Scharin

Composer and Lyric Tenor

Search for works in catalogue »

Carl Unander-Scharin studied 1984-1991 church music and organ at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm, and took part in courses for music teachers and choirmasters. In addition he studied singing with Solwig Grippe, organ with Hans Fagius and Stefan Therstam, conducting with Eric Ericson and Jorma Panula and music theory with Lars-Erik Rosell and Per-Gunnar Alldahl. During this period he was also a member of the Eric Ericson Chamber Choir and the Swedish Radio Choir. From 1991 to 1995 he studied singing with Hans Gertz and Erik Saedén at the Stockholm College of Opera and during the same period he also studied electroacoustic music at EMS (Electronic Music Studio) in Stockholm. 

His actual début as a composer came with the song cycle Tx: William Blake (1989), which has been broadcast several times. Since then he has composed music for several dance performances, often in collaboration with his wife, the choreographer Åsa Unander-Scharin. Notable works in this context include I pekfingrets förlängning (1991), the multimedia dance composition Pumpgropen (1992) and Spelsinnetur (1994) – five kinetic melodies constructed in collaboration with a choreographer. Fanfar för Form for two Aida-trumpets and tape (1995), commissioned for the 150th jubilee of the Swedish Design Society, has since also been performed together with dance. Unander-Scharin’s dance compositions have been performed at Dansens Hus, the Modern Dance Theatre and the Stockholm College of Dance, at the Dansstation in Malmö and also in Denmark and Finland.

In collaboration with the poet Katarina Frostenson, Carl Unander-Scharin wrote the radio opera Mannen på Sluttningen (1991) which was entered for the Prix Italia in 1992. His opera Tokfursten (1996, based on Elgard Jonsson’s remarkable autobiography) for eight singers and thirteen musicians caused a considerable stir at its first performance at Vadstena Castle. The opera was also performed in 1998, the year that Stockholm was Cultural Capital of Europe. During 1996 and 1997 Figures in a landscape – a song cycle for the radio medium to texts by Ingamaj Beck was written and realised. The work was constructed around nine artists and their special way of using their voices.

Carl Unander-Scharin divides his time between composing and singing: a double role that influences his composing and has given him a special feeling for the human voice – its different timbres and expressive potential. He focuses on the “dramatic” element of the voice, often in an electroacoustic context, combining electroacoustic and instrumental means. 

Source: STIM / Swedisch Music Information Centre

More about Carl Unander-Scharin

Composer of the Month #5 for #swedishchoralmusic 2019
Artistic researcher and inventor, artistic collaboration with Åsa Unander-Scharin in Opera Mecatronica
Interview in Highlights Magazine, 2019

Selected works:

The Cloud of Unknowing – suite for mixed choir and organ (2020)
...hold infinity in the palm of your hand... - Suite in nine parts for mixed choir and piano
Spiritual Exercises – Motet no 3 from Five Motets, for mixed choir a cappella
Hummelhonung – Opera in two acts, libretto by Magnus Carlbring after Torgny Lindgren.
Lysistrate – Opera. Libretto by Magnus Carlbring after Aristofanes.