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Magnus Lindberg (Composer)

Born: June 27, 1958, Helsinki, Finland

The Finnish composer, Magnus Lindberg, studied piano; then entered the Sibelius Academy where his composition teachers included Einojuhani Rautavaara and Paavo Heininen. The latter encouraged his pupils to look beyond the prevailing Finnish conservative and nationalist aesthetics, and to explore the works of the European avant-garde. This led around 1980 to the founding of the informal grouping known as the Ears Open Society including Lindberg and his contemporaries Hämeeniemi, Kaipainen, Saariaho and Esa-Pekka Salonen, which aimed to encourage a greater awareness of mainstream modernism. Lindberg made a decisive move in 1981, travelling to Paris for studies with Globokar and Grisey. During this time he also attended Franco Donatoni’s classes in Siena, and made contact with Ferneyhough, Lachenmann and Höller.

Magnus Lindberg's compositional breakthrough came with two large-scale works, Action-Situation-Signification (1982) and Kraft (1983-85), which were inextricably linked with his founding with Esa-Pekka Salonen of the experimental Toimii Ensemble. This group, in which Lindberg plays piano and percussion, has provided the composer with a laboratory for his sonic development. His works at this time combined experimentalism, complexity and primitivism, working with extremes of musical material. During the late 1980's his music transformed itself towards a new modernist classicism, in which many of the communicative ingredients of a vibrant musical language (harmony, rhythm, counterpoint, melody) were re-interpreted afresh for the post-serial era. Key scores in this stylistic evolution were the orchestral/ensemble triptych Kinetics (1988), Marea (1989-90) and Joy (1989-90), reaching fulfilment in Aura (1993-94) and Arena (1994-95).

Recent works, including the concert-opener Feria (1997), large-scale orchestral statements such as Fresco (1997) and Cantigas (1999), and concertos for cello (1999) and clarinet (2002), have established Magnus Lindberg as one of the most invigorating of composers working in the orchestral field. In the 2001-2002 season his music was celebrated internationally in the Related Rocks festival in London, Paris and Brussels, with the Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen, and a linked disc of his orchestral music was released by Sony. His Concerto for Orchestra was premiered by the BBC Symphony Orchestra in 2003 and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra under Esa-Pekka Salonen premiered his latest work Sculpture in October 2005.

Among the many prizes his music has won are the Prix Italia (1986), the UNESCO Rostrum (1986), the Nordic Music Prize (1988) and the Royal Philharmonic Society Prize for large-scale composition (1992).

Future projects include a new work for the Berliner Philharmoniker under Simon Rattle. Lindberg’s music has been recorded on the Deutsche Grammophon, Sony, Ondine and Finlandia labels. In 2003 Lindberg was awarded the prestigious Wihuri Sibelius Prize.

Magnus Lindberg is published by Boosey & Hawkes. His music is available on the Finlandia, Ondine and Adès labels.


Arabesques (1978)
Quintetto dell' estate for flute, clarinet, violin, cello and piano (1979)
Linea d'ombra (1981)
Action-Situation-Signification (1982)
Tendenza for 21 players (1982)
Ablauf (1983)
Ground for harpsichord (1983)
Kraft (1983-85)
Metal Work (1984)
Stroke for cello (1984)
UR (1986)
Twine for solo piano (1988)
Kinetics (1988-89)
Marea (1989-90)
Joy (1989-90)
Moto (1990)
Steamboat Bill Jr. (1990)
Jeux d'anches for solo accordian (1990)
Clarinet Quintet (1992)
Duo Concertante for solo clarinet and cello (1992)
Corrente for chamber orchestra (1992)
Corrente II for symphony orchestra (1992)
Decorrente (1992)
Kiri (1993)
Songs from North and South" for chorus a cappella (1993)
Coyote Blues
for large chamber ensemble (1993)
Away for solo clarinet (1994)
Aura (in memoriam Witold Lutoslawki) for orchestra (1994)
Concerto for piano and orchestra (1994)
Zungenstimmen (1994)
for orchestra (1995)
Arena II for orchestra (1996)
Engine (1996)
Related Rocks (1997)
Feria, for full orchestra
Concerto for cello and orchestra
Parada, for full orchestra
, for full orchestra
Corrente - China Version
Jubilees for piano (2000)
Partia for cello solo (2001)
Two Coyotes (2002)
Bubo bubo, for mixed ensemble (2 instruments or more) (2002)
Bright Cecilia: Variations on a Theme by Purcell for orchestra (2002)
Chorale for orchestra (2002)
Clarinet Concerto, for clarinet and orchestra (2002)
Concerto for orchestra (2003)
Mano a mano for guitar (2004)
Ottoni for brass ensemble (2005)
Sculpture for orchestra (2005)
Concerto for violin and orchestra (2006)
Campana in Aria, for horn and orchestra
Cantigas, for full orchestra
Counter Phrases, for chamber orchestra (or small orchestra)
Etude, for piano
Etude II, for piano
Gran Duo, for wind ensemble
Jubilees, for mixed ensemble (2 instruments or more)
Tribute, for full orchestra

Source: Boosey & Hawkes Website (January 2006; reprinted by kind permission of Boosey & Hawkes); Wikipedia Website
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (April 2006)

Use of Chorale Melodies in his works


Chorale Melody


Chorale for 2 flutes, 2 oboes, cor anglais, 3 clarinets in Bb, 2 bassoons (2nd doubling double bassoon), 4 horns in F, 3 trumpets in C, 3 trombones, tuba, strings. Written for the project "Related Rocks - the world of Magnus Lindberg"; based on Es ist genug by J.S. Bach

Es ist genug


Links to other Sites

Magnus Lindberg (Virtual Finland)
Magnus Lindberg (Bossey & Hawkes)
Finnish Music Information Centre: Magnus Lindberg
Magnus Lindberg (Chester & Novello)

Magnus Lindberg in interview with Marc Bridle (MusicWeb)
The Ensemble Sospeso: Magnus Lindberg
Magnus Lindberg (Wikipedia)
counter)induction: magnus lindberg



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Last update: Wednesday, June 14, 2017 15:21