It may be asserted with confidence that Schwedischer Rundfunkchor (= SRC) (the Swedish Radio Choir) is in a strong position on the eve of its 76th concert season.The ensemble is continuing its unceasing search for quality and nowadays performs right across the globe. Invitations flow in regularly for productions together with world-leading conductors such as Riccardo Muti and Claudio Abbado.
It was Eric Ericson who, back in 1952, showed the way out into Europe with new repertoire and a precision in performance that had never previously been heard. After the first tours to Berlin in the 1960 ’s there were many who opened their ears to the Swedish sound and - in the wake of EMI ’s issue of five recordings of their singing –the world stood open for the Swedish Radio Choir. Eric Ericson’s unique qualities together with the sound of the choir actually inspired and raised the general standard of choral singing both in Sweden and internationally.
Concern for contemporary Swedish music has always been one of its core responsibilities and the choir has given many composers impulses and inspiration for new works. Ingvar Lidholm, Sven-Erik Bäck, Lars Edlund, Lars Johan Werle, Arne Mellnäs, Sven-David Sandström, Daniel Börtz, Thomas Jennefelt, Karin Rehnkvist, Nils Lindberg....a long series of Sweden ’s foremost composers, generation after generation, have composed for the Swedish Radio Choir. But also foreign composers such as György Ligeti and Arvo Pärt have written directly for the choir.
After Eric Ericson, Anders Öhrwall became the leader of the choir in 1982. He was succeeded by Gustaf Sjökvist who during his seven years also led many remarkable first performances and several foreign trips. The Estonian Tõnu Kaljuste's period as choral director was characterised not least by the repertoire being extended towards the east. During this period the choir made several prize-winning recordings with the music of Schnittke and Gorecki.
Now Stefan Parkman will continue to cultivate this international and national heritage. Parkman himself has solid international experience having been e.g. chief conductor of the Danish Radio Choir during a ten-year period.
Those singers who were present in May 1925 at the choir ’s first performance would never have been able to imagine how things would turn out for a radio choir member in the 21st century.
The fact that the Swedish Radio Choir today is one of the world ’s leading ‘a cappella’ ensembles is the result of long tradition of always being able to offer the highest quality in respect of repertoires, performances and, not least, singers. Eric Ericson has said: “A member of the Swedish Radio Choir is, in the first place, a good musician, naturally with a technically well-trained voice, who is devoted to all musical genres. But, for me, it is a question not just of musicality but also, it must be said, musical education. To be able to move from J.S. Bach to Arnold Schoenberg and to become familiar with the different scores –that is something that requires a good portion of musical skills.”