Bengt Hambraeus

Updated: October 9, 2001


Born

January 29, 1928 in Stockholm, Sweden. Bengt Hambraeus dies on September 21, 2000 at his Hambræhill Farm in Glen Roy Apple-Hill, near Montreal in Canada.

Basic biography

From 1944 to 1948 Bengt Hambraeus studied organ with Alf Linder. In the years from 1947 to 1956 he studied musicology with Carl-Allan Moberg at the Uppsala University.
From 1957 until 1972 he worked with the Swedish Radio in Stockholm. In 1967 he became a member of the Royal Swedish Music Acedemy and from 1972 he has been professor of musical composition and theory at the McGill University in Montreal, Canada.

On his music

Bengt Hambraeus is basically a composer for the organ, notwithstanding his extensive output in other fields as well. His music is related to the compositions of Anton Webern and Edgar Varèse and is influenced by Japanese and European traditions as well.
Hambraeus was the first Swedish composer to work with electronic music. His organ music developed in new directions, and also in his orchestral compositions he has experimented with new forms, such as the principle of "music in space", with different groups scattered around the auditorium. Another feature in his music is the composition of 'families' of works (e.g. Constellations, Rota, Invenzioni) that may be performed seperately or together.
The use of percussion instruments is essential in most of his compositions, using a wide range such as bells, gongs, cymbals, church bells, etc. Apart from these explorations, there always is the sense of tradition in his music, making him a composer with a very personal voice and one of the pivotal figures in the modern Swedish music world.

Principal Works

Recordings

LINKS:

MIC Sweden (biography)
Canadian Music Centre (biography and worklist)

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