Accordion Work World Premiere
Torbjörn Iwan's Bellows Symphony for two accordions will be premiered by accordionist/organist Susanne Kujala and accordionist/composer Veli Kujala at the Rock Church in Helsinki on 6 November. The work is previously unpublished.
Landscape Live
On 11 and 12 January 2023 Torbjörn Iwan's Landscape for tuba solo, piano and strings will be performed live at Konserthuset Stockholm by tubaist Karl Johan Elf and the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra. Conductor: Joshua Weilerstein.
Boksläpp: Efterklang
17 mars bjuder Musik- och teaterbiblioteket in till boksamtal och release med författaren Elisabeth Wärnfeldt som skrivit boken Efterklang om Torbjörn Iwan Lundquist. Boken fördjupar förståelsen för tonsättaren och sammanställer alla hans musikaliska verk – från symfonier till filmmusik. Torbjörn Iwan Lundquists arkiv finns i bibliotekets samlingar. Tid: 17 mars klockan 17–18.30 Plats: Musik- och teaterbiblioteket, Tegeluddsvägen 100, Stockholm Fritt inträde
New book: Efterklang
A new book on Torbjörn Iwan Lundquist and his life, in relation with, and through music, is released by Ekström & Garay on 30 September, the composer's 101:st anniversary. It is written by Elisabeth Wärnfeldt, author, voice coach and previously opera singer. The book, written in Swedish, includes a complete list of the composer's works.
Four "radioapparater"
Sterling's new issue of Symphonies 5 and 8 recieved four "radioapparater" out of five in the Swedish Radio revue program Musikrevyn on 1 November, The panel was especially impressed by The Eighth.
Torbjörn Iwan 100 years
A hundred years ago, on 30 September, our father Torbjörn Iwan was born. His birthday is recognized in many ways. All of his symphonies will be broadcasted by Swedish Radio, see full schedule here. Trumpet Music for piccolo trumpet will be performed in Malmö on 1 October, at Malmö Live. Also, up until now Sterling Records have released 4 CD:s with mostly previously unreleased recordings of Torbjörn’s music. A composer biography by Elisabeth Wärnfeldt is planned for release next year, and is previewed here by the author
Radio Celebration
All 8 completed symphonies by Torbjörn Iwan Lundquist will be broadcasted by Swedish Radio, starting on his anniversary 30 September. The radio programme Rendez Vous will pay attention to Lundquist on 25 September. The schedule in SR P2 is as follows: Friday 25 September 17.06 Rendezvous. Wednesday 30 September 10.03-13.00 Klassisk förmiddag: Lappri, Landskap. 21.00 Musik mot midnatt: Symphony no 1. Thursday 1 October 21.00 Musik mot midnatt: Symphony no 2. Friday 2 October 21.00 Musik mot midnatt: Symphony no 3. Monday 5 October 21.00 Musik mot midnatt: Symphony no 4. Wednesday 7 October 21.00 Musik mot midnatt: Symphony no 5. Friday 9 October 21.00 Musik mot midnatt: Symphony no 7. Monday 12 October 21.00 Musik mot midnatt: Symphony no 8. Tuesday 13 October 22.00 Musik mot midnatt: Symphony no 9. Thursday 22 October 21.00 Musik mot midnatt: Kammarsymfoni op 11.
Trumpet celebration
On October 1, the day after Torbjörn Iwan Lundquist's 100:th anniversary, Malmö Symphony orchestra and Gustav Melander will play Lundquist's "Trumpet Music" for piccolo trumpet, percussion, piano and strings, conducted by Håkan Hardenberger. The piece was written in 1980 and is dedicated to Bo Nilsson.
Symphonies 5 & 8 on CD
On September 4 the next anniversary CD is released by Sterling Records. Symphony No. 8 (Kroumata) is a live recording from the posthumous premiere in 2002 with Malmö Symphony Orchestra, Kroumata Percussion Ensemble and conductor B. Tommy Andersson. Symphony No. 5 (Die Wienerische) is recorded with Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra conducted by the composer. This means now all of Torbjörn Iwan's completed symphonies are available on CD or download. And on September 30 we celebrate his 100:th birthday!
Landscape on Konserthuset Play
Now last week's great performance of Torbjörn Iwan Lundquist's Landscape can be heard and seen on Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, Karl-Johan Elf, tuba, Alan Gilbert, conductor.
Landscape in digital concert
On Thursday 16 april at 19:00 CET, "Landscape for tuba, strings and piano" will be live streamed from Konserthuset in Stockholm The Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra are playing with Karl-Johan Elf on tuba and Alan Gilbert conducting.
Anniversary and new CD
Celebrating the centenary of Torbjörn Iwan Lundquist, two CD’s will be released by Sterling Records in 2020. The first, with Symphonies 2 and 9, is to be released on March 6. Symphony 2 "...for freedom" was recorded in 1972 with Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra and conductor Stig Westerberg, and was described as “…an impressing document of humanity” in a review of the concert. Symphony 9 "Survival" was recorded with Umeå Symphony Orchestra conducted by Roy Goodman in 1999. Booklet in Swedish and English included with CD.
Nils Holgersson Suite new CD
On March 1 the orchestral suite from the movie Nils Holgerssons underbara resa (The Adventures of Nils Holgersson) will be released by Sterling Records. The CD highlights the original recording from 1962, coupled with a suite from the radio drama Gösta Berling's Saga from 1966, both of them written and conducted by Torbjörn Iwan Lundquist. A booklet in Swedish and English with a biography and an essay on the music is included with the CD.
Swedish Grammis nomination
Torbjörn Iwan Lundquist's Symphonies 3 and 4 are nominated for a 2019 Swedish Grammis Award. The CD was released on 5 October by Sterling Records.
Highest score in Musikrevyn
The new CD with Torbjörn Iwan Lundquist's Symphonies 3 and 4 recieved the highest score, five "radioapparater", in the Swedish Radio music review Musikrevyn on 11 November.
New CD and website
On October 5 Torbjörn Iwan Lundquist's Symphony No. 3 "Sinfonia dolorosa" and Symphony No. 4 "Sinfonia ecologica" are released on CD by Sterling Modern. The recordings were made in 1982 and 1985 with Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra conducted by the composer and Sixten Ehrling. Simultaneously we are giving birth to this website, the first one dedicated to our father and his music. Please feel welcome to explore our site and the music and life of Torbjörn Iwan Lundquist!

Torbjörn Iwan Lundquist

Torbjörn Iwan Lundquist (1920-2000) was a Swedish composer, mainly recognized for his film music and his symphonies. He very early took an interest in the family’s inherited living room piano. Eventually he took piano lessons, later on from pianist and music critic Yngve Flyckt. Torbjörn’s passion for music arose early, and almost as early he became spellbound by the art of film. These were the times when Stockholm had numerous cinemas, long before television made its entry in Sweden. Like so many other children, he made his pilgrimage to the weekend's matine shows, where the heroes were the likes of Errol Flynn, Gary Cooper and Charlie Chaplin. His film interest later resulted in soundtracks for many Swedish films, music signed Torbjörn Lundquist. He was also captivated by jazz and during his school days he formed a jazz band, where he himself played the piano. For a while he was also freelancing as a jazz pianist.
After discontinued studies at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm he went on studying composition for Dag Wirén. Early, he realized that composing music was what he really wanted to devote himself to. He also started a chamber orchestra, which came to be engaged in the newly discovered Drottningholm Theater. At this point he also began composing seriously. The first result was a Divertimento for strings and four woodwind players in 1951. A few years later, he finished his Chamber Symphony, which had its first performance under the direction of conductor Sten Frykberg in 1956.
“The Chamber Symphony is probably one of the finest orchestral works written in our country in the 50’s - a music of nerve and esprit, captivating in every detail, rhythmic compassionate, vital, clear in the contours, a stylized form of traditional Nordic dance music (“spelmansmusik”) that is varied in sound and full of interesting incidence. The simple, strict form is entirely on a traditional basis, but the tonal language is alive and personal", writes Herbert Connor in his book Swedish Music (1977).
Later the piece was reworked and became Lundquist’s Symphony No. 1, which was first performed in Dresden in March 1971.
The composition process often took long. This is especially true of his eight symphonies. He has described this event himself:
"At the end of the day, a composer becomes the slave of his themes; it's an expression that comes from Jean Sibelius and more and more I understand its meaning. My own music arise during slow processes, and I feel that the ideas have their own will, which I need to register carefully for the final work to be convincing. There are subjects that need to be sorted out of the planning sketches. After several years it may suddenly occur to me how to use it in a completely different context, and the composition turns out very successful. Fascinating! But complicated ...”
For example, he began the second symphony in 1956 during the revolt in Hungary. But it was not finished until after the Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia, which became the impulse and inspiration that made it possible for the composer to complete the work. The symphony also received the very appropriate subtitle "For freedom".
Lundquist has always been highly inspired by nature and was also deeply involved in environmental issues. This has been his inspiration in the fourth symphony "Sinfonia ecologica" from 1985 and his patronage later became an outlet for the seventh symphony "Humanity - Dag Hammarskjöld in memoriam" in 1988. Also the third symphony ”Sinfonia dolorosa” was inspired by nature. It became Lundquist's breakthrough symphony, and is dedicated to the composer's deceased wife Maud. The idea was given him during a mountain hike shortly after his wife's death. He tells how it all began:
"In the silence of the mountain there was an almost unnoticeable wind from far away. It grew in tremendous power - to again vanish into nowhere. ... This made such an incredibly strong impression that it gave me the full introduction to the symphony, and from that point on the whole creation is growing."
He has also told how he was forced to express his creativity in the symphony format:
"Well, it's hardly a question of what I want anymore, but what I have to do. It is the symphonies that are constantly urging me on. I always feel this compulsion to express myself in this way. And all the rest, more or less feels like pilot studies. It can be incredibly nice, but it's all sucked up in this stream, which now fills me up. ... It has been painful during these years when, for the sake of economy, I have had to do so many other things, compose so many other pieces. Then the symphonies have gone into hibernation and that has bothered me enormously. It has been haunting me at night so that I have to get up and get it off my mind, to calm my mind at all".
This compulsion resulted in a total of eight symphonies, which also illustrate his commitment to today's constant problems of environmental destruction and the struggle for freedom.
During the 60’s, Lundquist got in contact with Danish accordionist Mogens Ellegaard and his melody bass accordeon. "What Mogens Ellegaard accomplishes with his accordeon was a strange experience, at the same time shocking and enchanting", he says. The contact with Ellegaard came to result in a wide range of works for accordeon, solo and in different constellations, including "Bewegungen" for accordeon and string quartet and "Duell" for accordeon and percussion.
Earlier, already in 1954, he was asked by film director Gunnar Hellström if he would concider composing the music to the movie ”Simon syndaren”. This resulted in Lundquist becoming one of Sweden's most hired composers of film and theater music. All together: music for nearly 30 films and over 60 theater and radio plays. If the emergence of the symphonies took several years to mature, Lundquist here learned how to work at a much faster pace. He used to ask the film directors for a deadline and usually got the answer: "yesterday". Among the films, the music of Selma Lagerlöf's "Nils Holgerssons underbara resa” (The Wonderful Adventures of Nils) was especially noted and was also released on record as a whole. It was the first Swedish film music devoted to a whole LP. In some of his films, his background as a jazz pianist also came in handy. As in Gunnar Hellströms film "Nattbarn", about a young man lost among the shady Stockholm cafes and billiard halls, in addition with a suggestive camera work by Ingemar Bergman's favorite photographer Sven Nykvist. Another distinguished movie was "Änglar, finns dom?” (Love Mates) where Lundquist also produced a popular hit, performed by the film's two main characters Christina Schollin and Jarl Kulle.
Torbjörn Iwan Lundquist has also devoted himself to something he calls "serious popular music"; occasionally melodies from his various films, but he also wrote several popular songs, including lyrics by Beppe Wolgers and several songs for Monica Zetterlund. To the Eurovision Song Contest 1965 several serious composers were invited to make contributions. All the songs were sung by Ingvar Wixell and Lundquist contributed "Förtrollad stad" to lyrics by Bo Setterlind.
Torbjörn Iwan Lundquist also wrote more serious songs, such as "Ensamhetens sånger" 1965 to lyrics by Vilhelm Ekelund, "Siebenmal Rilke" from 1985, "New Bearings" 1989 to lyrics from Dag Hammarskjöld's biography ”Vägmärken (Road Signs)” and "Irish Love Songs" in 1992 to poetry by James Joyce
Among Lundquist’s works you will also find two string quartets, a violin concerto and the one-act opera "Second of eternity", which takes place in a shelter in Germany during the Second World War. The opera had its first concert performance in Stockholm in 1974
1983 he moved away from the city noise into the countryside where he could enjoy nature and devote himself to composing only. After having been taken with cancer in 1993, he spent his final years completing his last symphony, entitled "Survival" and a song cycle to poems by Jean-Luc Caron "Pour l'éternité" – In eternity. A quiet summer day in 2000 he passed away.
Curt Carlsson
Translation: Ulf Gruvberg