Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Jaime Martin – conductor
7/8/9 Feb 2020, The Soraya/Alex Theatre/Royce Hall, Los Angeles, USA

”Northridge also got the first U.S. performance of Swedish composer Albert Schnelzer’s “Burn My Letters: Remembering Clara,” a LACO co-commission first heard in Gälve, Sweden, in November. The Clara in the title is Clara Schumann, represented by a prominent flute, with her ardent admirer Brahms depicted by a bassoon. Yet the composer I heard most emphatically in this engaging piece is Sibelius — not so much in language as in the feel of the fast sections, the driving momentum in the circulating strings and voicings of the winds.”
LA Times

Gävle Symphony Orchestra, Jaime Martin – conductor
29 Nov 2019, Gävle Concert Hall, Sweden

The old masters completely in the shade
”The old masters are in the shade. This was the case when Albert Schnelzer’s brand new work ”Burn my Letters – Remembering Clara” was performed by the Gävle Symphony Orchestra on Friday night. It was a piece of music filled with beauty, rhythm and emotion, impossible not to be completely captured by. Ten minutes and not a second felt wasted. Albert Schnelzer’s ”Burn my Letters – Remembering Clara” was the absolute highlight of the evening, a work that gripped deeply and that you want to hear many more times.”

Self-luminous tribute to Clara Schumann became the highlight of the evening
”The work starts and ends with luminous vibraphone tones that rise and attract swarms of other sounds. Melodies meet sound clouds, silence is rotated up to mighty tutti sections. Hot streams turn into disturbing facet-like chromatics. Timbres and musical events gather around the oboe and bassoon, which is responsible for the dialogue. Forward movements with a clear pulse suggest a hectic life. Clara Schumann traveled extensively and was a celebrated concert pianist. But the beautiful sounds also signal loneliness, with the naked honesty one only shows a true friend. […] The world premiere of Burn My Letters became the highlight of the evening.”
Gävle Dagblad

Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Conrad Tao – piano, Thomas Søndergård – conductor
14/15/16 March 2019, Berwaldhallen, Stockholm, Sweden

Despite Sibelius and Alfvén, the newly written work is the best
”Albert Schnelzer’s piano concerto ”This is your kingdom” with American pianist Conrad Tao as a soloist feels like a modern contemporary hit the first time you hear it. […] How often does one go and see a concert consisting of two works by famous composers born in the 19th century and a brand new work by a contemporary composer, and it is the newly written work that is the best? But that’s exactly what happens when the Swedish Radio Symphony perform Albert Schnelzer’s piano concerto ”This is your kingdom” with American pianist Conrad Tao as soloist. A modern piano concerto that feels like a modern hit the first time you hear it. […] The pianist’s role slides between being a part of the orchestra – a part of the world around the storyteller self – and an individualistic outsider who feels and comments, in superb solo cadences. Conrad Tao plays excellently, and both the orchestra and the conductor Søndergård seem equally inspired. This is a piano concert that deserves to be performed many times, and recorded on record as soon as possible.”
Dagens Nyheter

Uppsala Chamber Orchestra, Ilya Gringolts – violin, Gerard Korsten – conductor
11 March 2019, Uppsala Concert Hall, Sweden

”A very fine violin concerto with Ilya Gringolts as soloist when the hotly sought-after composer Albert Schnelzers gets his second violin concerto premiered in Uppsala. […] This performance comes just weeks after Schnelzer’s superb piano concert ”This is your kingdom” was performed in Berwaldhallen (Swedish Radio Concert Hall). The Swedish composer is, to say the least, hotly sought after, which is perfectly logical since the music he composes is imaginative and personal and at the same time easy to absorb. He does not bother with makings things overly complicated, but at the same time he always has a clear thought with everything he does. ”Nocturnal songs” is the title of Schnelzer’s second violin concerto and the theme is night, sleep and dream. […] Ilya Gringolts plays well, but it is hardly a violin concerto about virtuosity for the soloist. He plays the lead role in the music story, but it is a more humble observation than a dramatically active role. It’s not a minus, it just makes the work feel more for the listeners than the musicians. A very nice violin concerto.”
Dagens Nyheter

Jönköping Sinfonietta, Ilya Gringolts – violin, Gerard Korsten – conductor
20 October 2019, Spira Concert Hall, Jönköping, Sweden

The violin concerto is intricate, easily accessible and brilliant
”Can dreams become good music? Obviously. Albert Schnelzer’s new violin concerto played by Jönköping Sinfonietta and soloist Ilya Gringolts is intricate, easily accessible and brilliant. […] The very obvious main piece this concert evening is Albert Schnelzer’s second violin concerto, premiered in April this year with Russian violinist Ilya Gringolts … […] Albert Schnelzer’s work is titled ”Nocturnal Songs”, which refers to the feeling that lies in the boundary between wakefulness and sleep, the state of mind when the thoughts can go in any direction and it is difficult to know whether it is conscious thoughts or tricks of the mind. […] It swings and vibrates, the solo part is virtuosic and the end is completely furious. Schnelzer’s concert is intricate but easily accessible, and is based on a close interaction between soloist and orchestra. In short, it is a really beautiful work, and when the soloist’s play it as brilliant as the orchestra is inspired, there is nothing more to be desired.”

Cello Concerto – Crazy Diamond
Tales from Suburbia
Brain Damage – Concerto for Orchestra
Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Benjamin Shwartz – conductor

”Throughout, Schnelzer is revealed as an expert orchestrator with a thoughtful and appealing mindset.”

”… this is compelling listening, the cello concerto has magic moments, and the other works show great imagination. … there is no question that Schnelzer is a master of orchestration. The excellent Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Benjamin Schwartz makes a strong case for this music. … An outstanding release!”

”Superbly performed and recorded to BIS’s usual superlative standards, this is a powerful trio of works which has the hands of a master craftsmen behind them – both in their creation and performance.”

”Albert Schnelzer’s tone language has a recognizable uniqueness […] If Albert Schnelzer (born 1972) is not already a familiar composer to you, it is worth to fix the matter right away.There is something about Albert Schnelzer’s tone language that not many contemporary composers have. Personality. It is not about some revolutionary way of expression, but instead about many small things in total. Schnelzer does not suffer from ‘fear of emptiness’, as so many contemporary composers do. He can and dares to give space and time for the musical events. The purpose of the composer’s expression is a genuine effort to touch and be sincere. A good example of Schnelzer’s sense of drama is his cello concerto Crazy Diamond (2010). …The cellist Claes Gunnarsson holds up perfectly the long and lonely melody lines without romanticizing them… Schnelzer uses the orchestra in a varied manner. The spectrum of different colors and tones is effortlessly brought forward. […] Schnelzer’s first profile release leaves the listener waiting for more.”

”It’s hard to believe, but BIS publishes the very first recording with works by Swedish composer Albert Schnelzer, whose music is immediately appealing due to its inspired and inspiring storytelling. Sure, the language is traditional, yet it never sounds anachronistic. It is inventive, musically rich and, moreover, it has characteristic motives which Schnelzer develops with concentrated energy and concision. So, the three works on this SACD, presented in sumptuous performances, are altogether most valuable. The recorded sound is well balanced and luminously coloured.” (Top mark 5/5)

”The cello concerto ”Crazy Diamond” as well as the concerto for orchestra ”Brain Damage” convey a feeling of meeting what is unfamiliar and unimaginable, a kind of close encounters of the third kind […] in ”Tales from Suburbia”, he alienates the suburb in a way that arouses its slumbering magical potential. That alone is a colossal achievement in itself.”
Dagens Nyheter (Top mark 5/5)

Chamber opera for 5 singers and chamber ensemble
13-22 July 2018, Vattnäs Chamber Orchestra, Fredrik Burstedt – conductor, Vattnäs Konsertlada, Sweden (World Premiere)

”This score is a triumph in every way.” (

”The music enchants the audience immediately, relentless and ominous.” (SvD)

”Extremely accomplished and a joy to listen to.” (DN)

”Captivating hostage drama” (Aftonbladet)

”The great quintet ”To die at your post” is stunning beautiful romantic opera” (Expressen)

”The two hour performance becomes a powerful experience. […] Norrmalmstorgsdramat (The Stockholm Syndrome) is something as rare as an action drama in opera costume” (Dala-Demokraten)

”Albert Schnelzer’s harmonic language is vivid. Dense and more dreamlike passages follows the drama tightly” (Dalarnas Tidning)

”Schnelzer’s music is rhythmic, melodic and forward going and makes the audience long for the next turn in the drama.” (SR P2)

Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Thomas Dausgaard – conductor
29/30 Oct 2016, Alex Theatre/Royce Hall, Los Angeles, USA

”Dausgaard made an impressive debut with the ensemble in a program that added two engaging pieces to LACO’s considerable repertoire: Swedish composer Albert Schnelzer’s “A Freak in Burbank,” which had its West Coast premiere, and Finnish composer Jean Sibelius’ “Six Humoresques for Violin and Orchestra” […] Dausgaard proved an involved and animated presence in Schnelzer’s 10-minute “A Freak in Burbank,” a kind of spooky musical portrait of restless adolescence inspired by the films of Tim Burton, who was born in Burbank. […] A suitably unsettling score for Halloween eve, “Freak” brimmed with sinister, hyperactive energy on Sunday. Dausgaard kept a firm but flexible grip on the work’s abrupt figures for strings and woodwinds, allowing the orchestra to seamlessly navigate its arresting, disruptive metrical shifts.”
LA Times

Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Daniel Harding – conductor
25/28 March 2015, Uppsala & Stockholm, Sweden

A new repertoire piece
”New contemporary pieces are seldom played again, but Albert Schnelzer’s ”Tales from Suburbia” has every chance of becoming a new repertoire piece. The 15-minute piece, who got a delightful Stockholm premiere this Saturday, was commissioned by the BBC Symphony Orchestra and the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra […] This is cinematic, slowly awakening music which starts dreamlike and allows the oboe to give an oriental touch to the woodwinds. […] The performance was an action-packed show number, in which Harding got the music to swing on every pumping beat of the dance rhythm, but also captured every budding solo.”
Dagens Nyheter

Brilliant illustration in sound
”The contrasts in a suburb between the rural idyll and the modern city teeming with life were here given an extraordinarily brilliant illustration in sound. With a formidable, skillfully handled palette of sonorities, calm tranquillity and unruly stress were coloured in incessant contrasts.”
Upsala Nya Tidning

BBC Symphony Orchestra, Kirill Karabits – conductor
13 March 2015, Barbican, London

”Schnelzer’s approach to orchestration is exciting and at times unexpected […] wind, brass and strings nailing their colours to the mast clearly throughout the work’s various dramatic turns […] But the lyrical elements are strong too, carrying a potent sense of searching, free from metrical constraints, and also passion, culminating in some exhilarating moments of full-on freakout.”

”This concert had begun with a world premiere from the Swedish composer Albert Schnelzer, whose story-telling could not have been more different. Tales from Suburbia is 15 engaging minutes of ebbing and flowing motor rhythms, colourfully orchestrated, rather like music to accompany a video of a rapidly moving cityscape.”
The Times

”This was an interesting counterpoint to the first piece of the evening, the 15-minute Tales from Suburbia by Swedish composer Albert Schnelzer (born 1972) – depicting a walk past the everyday life of the hinterland between city and countryside found worldwide. After a restrained, almost uncertain opening emerging from percussion a rhythmic motif is set up in the lower strings, sometimes agitated, sometimes lilting. Abrupt changes of pace, dynamic and mood indicated perhaps meeting a crossroads and choosing a new path to take. Flashes of menace indicated that life behind familiar doors may not be always what is seen or perceived. Indeed, a short mournful theme sounded on the oboe and was subsequently taken up by flutes in canon, and later by the violins and celesta to strong effect. Schnelzer’s suburbia is also a place of secrets and neuroses.”

”The concert began with a world premiere from 42-year-old Swedish composer Albert Schnelzer, entitled Tales from Suburbia. Its fifteen minutes revealed a score punctuated with telling effects, no more so than the pounding dance-like percussive rhythms of the central section that reminded this particular listener of Ades’ Asyla.”

Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Alain Altinoglu – conductor
10 Sept 2014, Gothenburg Concert Hall

”The music hurls the listener into eruptive crescendos towards a limit – until it yields to a painful, achingly beautiful song by the strings… a motif in the strings breaks free and prepares the way for a wondrous radiance from an alien world that at the same time sounds archaic and like science fiction… In the third movement ́s ”Dam breaks open” there is an opening for a new and airier motoric drive and for a singularly beautiful theme in the brass that in the end makes the work’s central and redeeming message glow: not to be afraid of what is hidden on the dark side of the moon.”
Dagens Nyheter

Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra, Susanna Andersson – soprano, Clemens Schuldt – conductor
12 Jan 2014, Helsingborg Concert Hall

Convincing Animal Songs
”The feeling in the texts [by Margaret Atwood] was convincingly expressed by the composer, fateful and questioning. Susanna Andersson interpreted the songs with genuine commitment.”
Helsingborgs Dagblad

Staffan Mårtensson – clarinet, Love Derwinger – piano, Erik Wahlgren – cello, Tobias Ringborg – violin
14 Aug 2013, Albert Schnelzer Composer in Residence at Linköping Chamber Music Festival

Amazing Schnelzer
”This [Into Thin Air] is amazing music, with a wealth of contrasts and breakneck turns. Mårtensson’s playing made the clarinet stand out as the optimal instrument for this type of expressivity. In Wolfgang is Dancing, Schnelzer poked fun at Mozart in imaginative and humorous music with a driving rhythm. The audience responded with a well-deserved ovation.”

Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Claes Gunnarsson – cello, Nikolaj Znaider – conductor
1 December 2011, Gothenburg Concert Hall

”I cannot recall any Swedish orchestral music that has given me such a strong feeling of floating… After a virtuoso fugal section inspired by the pleading Pink Floyd quote “rearrange me ‘till I’m sane”, it is time for the farewell… An achingly beautiful melancholy song for the cello that, after it finally ceases to play, still seems to continue sounding.”
Dagens Nyheter

Swedish Chamber Orchestra, Thomas Dausgaard – conductor
23 Aug 2010, BBC PROMS 2010, Royal Albert Hall

”The Swedish composer Albert Schnelzer is little known in the UK, but A Freak in Burbank may change that. Schnelzer says the idea was to see if the spirit of Haydn might survive in an American suburb and, though it is not easy to hear that in the finished piece, the restlessly busy, witty, lightly-scored music lives in an imaginative world of its own.”
Financial Times

”The most conventional and technically secure orchestration of the evening was heard in Schnelzer’s 2007 conceit of skeletal trills, playful pauses and cartoonishly grimacing brass. […] This is a smart, likeable showpiece from a talented composer.”
The Independent

”… the UK premiere of Albert Schnelzer’s A Freak in Burbank, a witty, malign little scherzo inspired by the childhood and films of Tim Burton; the piece reveals an exceptional flair for orchestral virtuosity on the part of its composer. [..] … an important new composer, no question.”
The Guardian

”Albert Schnelzer’s A Freak in Burbank was hugely enjoyable. The composer says the forces and idea were modelled on Haydn, particularly his sense of playfulness and use of orchestra colours. The life of cinema director Tim Burton was another inspiration for the piece, and it was the almost film-score and programmatic quality of some of the music that was so likeable. There were interesting echoes of John Adams, too. The opening comprises an orchestral flourish which quickly loses momentum and dissipates, only to re-emerge. Thereafter there is very much a Haydnesque building of tension, music with a nervy and slightly unsettling quality despite the almost jazzily sprung rhythms. Schnelzer’s compositional voice seems both individual and assured.”

”In more recent years some composers have ventured down from their ivory towers and dipped a toe into popular culture. Young Swedish composer Albert Schnelzer is one of them. His A Freak in Burbank was the new piece in a programme of romantic visions performed by the Swedish Chamber Orchestra. It was inspired by the macabre film visions of Tim Burton – a resident of Burbank, California – but the music’s shape actually reminded me of that old chestnut A Sorceror’s Apprentice. It had a similar contrast between slow, spectral passages and a hobgoblin dance which gathers more and more energy. Like one of Burton’s films, the whole thing passed smoothly like a brightly coloured and skilfully made phantasmagoria.”
The Telegraph

”That’s something it shared with Albert Schnelzer’s A Freak in Burbank, inspired by the childhood of Tim Burton and making its UK premiere. Telescoping as many ideas into its nine minutes as John Adams would stretch out for a full symphony, it combines ear-friendliness with the adrenalin-busting energy of a fairground ride.

A FREAK IN BURBANK, Stockholm Chamber Orchestra SNYKO, Rondin

“Schnelzer’s score begins and ends as an exclamation mark whirling from the little woodwind section… It is stylish, attractive and cinematic.”
Svenska Dagbladet

A FREAK IN BURBANK, Swedish Chamber Orchestra / Björkman
“Schnelzer’s music is characterized by energy, but below the surface, the music is lyrical and fragile.”
Nerikes Allahanda

A FREAK IN BURBANK, DalaSinfoniettan / Engeset
“The opening work A freak in Burbank is simply wonderful!”

”England’s Brodsky Quartet were the Festival’s resident ensemble this year, […] — and a new work destined for London: the String Quartet No 2 by the young Swedish composer Albert Schnelzer. He celebrates the spectres of Shostakovich, Berg, Ravel — yet speaks with a confident and passionately lyrical voice all his own. ”
Hilary Finch, The Times

Scottish Chamber Orchestra
Francois Leleux – oboe, John Storgårds – conductor
19/20 Nov 2010 – City Halls Glasgow, Queen’s Hall Edinburgh

”Albert Schnelzer’s new oboe concerto, The Enchanter, receiving its UK premiere in the super-fluid, breath-defying lungs of oboist Francois Leleux, for whom it was written, lived up to its name. What a ravishing piece, both in its intoxicating and bewitching slow music, which was at once tranquil and mesmerising, with those endless notes during which Leleux appeared not to require oxygen, and in its contrasting, impish, staccato, chattering music that sounded like an excited chorus of disciples drawn to the searing, soaring song of the enchanter.”
Herald Scotland

”And Leleux’s playing certainly enchants. In three movements, performed without a break, The Enchanter begins ponderously, with drum rolls, and has an almost ominous feel with the oboe continuing in its own unique way. The complex cadenza in the first movement displays Leleux’s extraordinary versatility, both in tone and technique. […] The third movement, featuring strong percussion, has a mischievous quality with obvious Eastern influences, inspired by Rushdie’s novel, The Enchantress of Florence. Leleux gave such a flawless, wonderful performance the composer was moved to rush up embrace him while the audience were still enthusiastically clapping.”

”The UK premiere of Albert Schnelzer’s Oboe Concerto, ’The Enchanter,’ was successfully brought off. Soloist François Leleux took the oboe to new heights of expression. The concerto began with a menacingly mysterious introduction as Leleux’s playing showcased his ability as an ’Enchanter’ of the oboe.[…] The Second Scene followed with a tranquillity that retained the misterioso from the First Scene. The energy of the finale’s Allegro took the concerto to a series of new climaxes, each followed by sprightly solos from Leleux that created waves of descending and ascending chromatic lines. Leleux is a true showman. […] His brilliance was highlighted in the first movement’s cadenza and he exhibited great passion throughout the rest of the concerto.”

”However, the real draw here was the premiere of Albert Schnelzer’s new oboe concerto. […] His concerto held me gripped, however. The “Enchanter” of the title is Leleux himself, and it’s a fitting tribute to his spellbinding playing. He turned the oboe into a multi-dimensional character, singing, dancing and leaping through his music. However the Enchanter is also inspired by a character in Salman Rushdie’s The Enchantress of Florence and the atmosphere of magic is apparent right from the off in the quivering, shimmering orchestral textures from which the oboe part grows gently. Schnelzer uses the orchestra brilliantly, treating them like a hugely varied palette from which to draw a rainbow of colours. Filigree flutes, for example, formed the beautiful background to a long, spun-out theme from the soloist in the first movement, and the use of percussion was particularly striking, gong and vibraphone creating a hypnotic effect. While cast in three movements the work seems to work more through contrasting sections: after the central Andante comes the finale which cranks up the energy levels considerably and leads into a cadenza of incredible virtuosity, played with jaw-dropping dexterity by the Enchanter himself. After this came a return to the elegiac mood of the opening and the end of a most satisfying work by a composer whose name I shall look out for in the future.”

”The inner energy of Albert Schnelzer’s oboe concerto The Enchanter – partly inspired by Salman Rushdie’s novel The Enchantress of Florence and here receiving its UK premiere – is a lot subtler. Oboist Francois Leleux revelled in the exotic warmth of the opening.”
The Scotsman