Gunnar Eriksson

Legendary conductor Gunnar Eriksson chooses... music by Sven-Eric Johanson

Gunnar Eriksson, known for improvising with choirs all over the world, has loved the music of Sven-Eric Johanson since 1956. Johanson’s Åtta visor, eight Swedish folktunes, arranged with humor and surprising elements of both contemporary and renaissance music, has been an important inspiration for Gunnar Eriksson’s own composing and arranging of choral music.


Gunnar Eriksson was educated at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm, by the renowned choir conductor, educator and Polar Music Prize winner Professor Eric Ericson (1918-2013). Gunnar Eriksson is a professor of Choral Conducting at Högskolan för scen och musik, the University of Gothenburg, Academy of Music and Drama. Being a sought-after workshop leader he has travelled worldwide, conducting and teaching several generations of choirs as well as their conductors.

Gunnar Eriksson is the leader of two choirs, the Rilke Ensemble, a group that he formed in 1980 and, for more than fifty years, the Gothenburg Chamber Choir. In 1988 Gunnar Eriksson received the Swedish ”Choir Conductor of the Year” award and since 1994 he has been a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music.

Gunnar Eriksson is also an author. This quote from his book Choir Ad Lib gives an excellent description of his philosophy and approach ”The idea of this book is to provide the choral conductor and the choir with a path into a somewhat more liberated way of working less tied to sheet music. Or if you wish: let the ears be more important than the eyes, and the body more important than the brain in the first encounter with the music.
I present some simple, more or less ancient, ideas on composition and collective improvisation. You can create your own building kits, which in turn can develop into soundscapes.
This can also serve as an invitation to the choir, in a playful manner, to approach the contemporary music and its ways of expression.”


Sven-Eric Johanson (1919-1997)
Swedish folk dances/songs arranged for mixed choir a cappella. In Swedish.
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