The Swedish Radio Choir’s principal conductor Kaspar Putniņš will conduct the choir in an exciting programme ranging from Stockhausen’s ground‑breaking Stimmung to beautiful, atmospheric, contemporary Christmas carols by Jan Sandström and Jonathan Harvey. There will also be a world premiere for newly written atmospheric music by Örjan Matre and Albert Schnelzer.

The concert will be given in Sankt Matteus kyrka.




For more than 90 years, the Swedish Radio Choir has contributed to the development of the Swedish a cappella tradition. Under the leadership of legendary conductor Eric Ericson, the choir earned great international renown. It is still hailed as one of the best choirs in the world. The choir members’ ability to switch between powerful solo performances and seamlessly integrating themselves in the ensemble creates a unique and dynamic instrument praised by critics and music lovers alike, as well as by the many guest conductors who explore and challenge the choir’s possibilities.

Permanent home of the Swedish Radio Choir since 1979 is Berwaldhallen, the Swedish Radio’s concert hall. In addition to the seated audience, the choir reaches millions of listeners on the radio and the web through Klassiska konserten i P2. Several concerts are also broadcast and streamed on Berwaldhallen Play, offering the audience more opportunities to come as close as possible to one of the world’s top choirs.

With the 2020–2021 season, Kaspars Putniņš begins his tenure as the tenth Music Director of the Swedish Radio Choir. Since January 2019, Marc Korovitch is the choirmaster of the Swedish Radio Choir with responsibility for the ensemble’s continued artistic development. Two of the orchestra’s former Music Directors, Tõnu Kaljuste and Peter Dijkstra, were appointed Conductors Laureate in November 2019. Both maintain a close relationship with the choir and make regular guest appearances.

The Swedish Radio Choir was founded the same year as the Swedish Radio Service began its broadcasts and the choir had its first concert in May 1925. Right from the start, the choir had high ambitions with a conscious aim to perform contemporary music.


Acclaimed Latvian conductor Kaspars Putniņš is the Swedish Radio Choir’s new Chief Conductor from the 2020–2021 season. He is also Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir and has been permanent conductor of the Latvian Radio Choir since 1994. Putniņš is an experienced interpreter of polyphonic Renaissance works as well as the swelling emotions of the Romantic era, but his foremost goal has always been to promote new and outstanding choral music. Through close relationships with a number of Nordic and Baltic composers, he has contributed to raising the bar for performances and recordings of new choral works.

As a guest conductor, he appears with ensembles such as the RIAS Kammerchor, NDR Radio Choir Hamburg, Danish National Vocal Ensemble, BBC Singers, Tokyo Cantat and the Netherlands Radio Choir. He has collaborated with composers such as Maija Einfelde, Mārtiņš Viļums, Toivo Tulev, Lasse Thoresen and Gavin Bryars as well as initiated several drama projects in collaboration with visual and theatre artists. He has made acclaimed album recordings, such as works by Schnittke and Pärt with the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir on an album that was awarded both a Gramophone Award and Diapason d’Or.


Approximate timings

In the music of Ørjan Matre, traditional influences meets unexpected sounds and techniques. This is evident in his newly composed Christmas carols for the Swedish Radio Choir. For Gläns över sjö och strand (eng. Shine over lakes and shores) Matre used Iwar Widén’s composition for Viktor Rydberg’s poem and written an arrangement where the melody is surrounded by solo lines, a textual canon, and a kind of lullaby that floats between major and minor keys.

– I do not think the listener necessarily will recognize the Christmas hymn, there are just a few direct quotes, but the harmonies and some parts of the melody shines through, says Matre.

The idea to combine different pieces he’s worked with for a long time, both as a composer and arranger, a.o. in collaboration with Oslo Chamber Choir.

Text: Anna Hedelius

Till den Den signade dag: The Swedish folksong, Den signade dag (eng. The holy day) exists in many different variations. For his version, Matre used the melody by Ingrid Isaksson from the second part of the 19th century, that was written down in 1935. A soloist or a group of soloists sings the melody but with the latin lyrics O Magnum Mysterium, together with a choir movement based on Gustaf Nordqvist’s Jul, jul strålande jul (eng. Wonderful peace) in an extremely elongated version.

– In several of my pieces I have experimented with combinations of different musical materials without coordination and mostly let the coincidence led the way. The result is often exciting and surprising, says Matre.

Text: Anna Hedelius

Approximate concert length: 1 h 15 min (no intermission)