She grew up in the picturesque landscape of Dalecarlia, Sweden, and spent 25 years in the Italian film music business – Anna-Karin Klockar gets her inspiration from many different sources. She placed first in the American Polyphonos Competition as an international composer (2017/18) and in 2016 she won the prestigious ASAWCA award, a competition for international female choral composers, for her choral piece Speeches. “The piece is based on three marvelous texts that have been set to music of the highest calibre”, the jury stated.
Anna-Karin Klockar on choral music
“If you say choral music, I say Swedish! Choral music is such an important part of our culture. In my youth I sang in a church choir, later in the chamber choir of the Royal College of Music. I have written many arrangements for a female choir here in Falun, where I was born. But throughout all the years that I worked in the Italian film industry, I never wrote for choirs. There was music for large orchestra, pop band or computer… I like all kinds of music and love working in different genres.
I benefited a lot from the musical craftsmanship I learned in Italy, and I don’t think I could have picked it up to the same extent here in Sweden. I write choral music that describes the text, just like film music supports the story of the film and brings out emotions that are not apparent in the dialogue or the pictures. I am quite theatrical. When I won a competition (link: AWCA) with Speeches, although the critics were mostly overwhealmingly positive, some people questioned how I treated the text in the first part of the piece, The Rights of Woman (link: Spotify). Such a serious subject… They thought I was too playful. But I think one can use a bit of irony when talking about difficult things, just like the comedians do! But it’s a sensitive issue in today’s society. One critic was very upset!
My voice isn’t so special, but it’s useful! My voice is my work tool. I use it when I write all kinds of music, even instrumental melodies. Music is my first language. I was singing before I could speak, so I guess that’s the language I´m best at.”
Three choral pieces by Anna-Karin Klockar:
Forever Hurts, Swedish poet Karin Boye’s beautiful text set to music for SATB. Commissioned by the American ensemble Esoterics and their artistic leader Eric Banks. (SATB, advanced level)
Aftonbön (Evening Prayer), a simple, lovely setting of another Karin Boye poem. In Swedish. (SATB, easy level)
Speeches, winner of the 2016 AWCA competition for female composers. Three speeches put to music in a theatrical manner. (SATB, advanced level)
Listen to Specches 1: The Rights of Woman by Anna-Karin Klockar on Spotify