BIOGRAPHY

ALBERT SCHNELZER ”one of Sweden’s foremost composers” (Classical Music Magazine, UK), made his international breakthrough at the Présence Festival in Paris 2004. His music is often described as energetic and forwardgoing, lyrical and fragile, but also directly accessible and intensly personal.

Albert Schnelzer was born  in Värmland, Sweden on June 3rd 1972 and belongs to the most widely noticed Scandinavian composers of his generation. He studied composition and conducting (1994-2000) at the Malmö Academy of Music, and at the Royal College of Music in London, and had an international breakthrough in 2004 when his Predatory Dances was premiered at the Présence Festival in Paris. His successful concert opener A Freak in Burbank (2008) has opened doors to major concert venues such as the Royal Albert Hall (BBC Proms 2010), Berliner Philharmonie etc and is one of the most performed contemporary pieces from Sweden. His list of works include orchestral compositions, concertos, one full length opera and a wide spectrum of chamber music.

Albert Schnelzer’s orchestral output has attracted great attention. Apart from the above mentioned A Freak in Burbank, it includes the Oboe concerto – The Enchanter composed for French virtuoso Francois Leleux, the two Pink Floyd inspired works Cello Concerto – Crazy Diamond (2011) and Brain Damage – Concerto for Orchestra (2014). The BBC Symphony Orchestra and the Swedish Radio Symphony orchestra jointly commissioned the opening piece Tales from Suburbia (2012). 2019 saw the premieres of two new solo concertos, the Piano Concerto – This is Your Kingdom, for American pianist Conrad Tao, and the Violin Concerto – Nocturnal Songs for the Russian violinist Ilya Gringolts. For Clara Schumann’s 200th anniversary (2019) he composed Burn My Letters – Remembering Clara, an international co-commission including the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, RTE National SO (Dublin), Gävle Symphony Orchestra and Lahti Symphony Orchestra.

Schnelzer’s very first opera The Stockholm Syndrome (Norrmalmstorgsdramat) was staged at the Vattnäs Summer Opera in 2018 to great critical acclaim. In April 2017 the Stockholm Concert Hall’s Composer Weekend Festival was dedicated to Albert Schnelzer’s music, where some 15 of his works were performed by the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, soloists and chamber musicians.

Schnelzer is also a much appreciated composer of chamber music. One of his most frequently performed works is the violently dancing piano piece Dance with the Devil. He has composed music for the Brodsky Quartet (String Quartet No 2 – Emperor Akbar), for Dame Evelyn Glennie (Apollonian Dances) and for the celebrations of H M King Carl XVI Gustaf’s 70th birthday (Aqua Songs – Piano Quintet).

His music has been performed by more than 60 orchestras worldwide such as the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Utah Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Danish National Symphony Orchestra, The Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Stockholm and the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra. He has worked with conductors such as Daniel Harding, Thomas Dausgaard, Mark Wigglesworth, Kirill Karabits, Thomas Sondergaard, Nikolaj Znaider, Lionel Bringuier, John Storgårds, Santtu-Matias Rouvali, Jaime Martin and many others. 

Albert Schnelzer’s music is represented on several CDs including portrait CDs on the labels BIS Records and Daphne. The music is published by Gehrmans Musikförlag.

ABOUT ALBERT SCHNELZER’S MUSIC

There is an immediacy here, and there is a storytelling which I really like. There is a tension, probably most important for me, which carries right through the piece and it has a very rounded feeling performing it. It has a natural way of flowing along with inspiring and interesting things all along the way. So there is something touching us on a very basic level here and that is done in a very sophisticated way.”
Thomas Dausgaard, conductor

New music has to speak to people, but if the sound world is too familiar, there is no point playing the piece at all. I think Schnelzer achieves an ideal balance between innovation and tradition. Plus it sounds fun – not the most common quality in contemporary music!”
Mark Wigglesworth, conductor

Albert Schnelzer receiving the Swedish MPA Award 2019 for his Piano Concerto – This Is Your Kingdom.