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Mårten Jansson Composer

Swedish composer Mårten Jansson (b.1965) is a sought-after and frequently performed choral composer enjoying popularity all around the world. Works range from the Missa Popularis to The Choirmaster’s Burial and the large-scale Requiem Novum.

Swedish composer Mårten Jansson (b.1965) is a sought-after and frequently performed choral composer enjoying popularity all around the world. A graduate of the Royal College of Music in Stockholm he spent 10 years as the music director of “Carmen”, one of the most prominent women’s vocal ensembles in Sweden, which led him to compose many works for upper voice choir. In 2012 Mårten was elected to the Society of Swedish Composers (FST), and he began writing for mixed voice choirs including the Royal Chapel in Stockholm and various German choirs. Many of his scores are published by Bärenreiter such as The Choirmasters Burial, Far, Est is ein Ros’ Entsprungen and the Missa Popularis – which is regularly performed in both liturgical and concert settings such as Carnegie Hall, Cologne Cathedral, San Francisco Opera and Latvian Radio. Further scores are published by Gehrmans. The first album dedicated to his music was released by the English choir Chantage in 2017. The following year Bärenreiter held the Mårten Jansson Choral Competition in which choirs from around the world submitted videos of their performance of Maria IV. This piece was premiered on Swedish television from the Castle Church, Stockholm with the King and Royal family present. Another piece, Lead Me, Lord was premiered in Crathie Kirk on the Balmoral Estate, Aberdeenshire with HRH Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles present.

The Choir & Organ Magazine ran a feature on Mårten in 2019 which highlighted his work and coincided with the beginning of a 3-year appointment as composer-in-residence for the St Louis Chamber Chorus, USA, directed by Philip Barnes. Mårten’s association with VOCES8 began in 2020 with a commission, Elemental Elegy that was recorded as part of VOCES8’s 15th Anniversary album After Silence. This piece includes a commissioned text by Charles Anthony Silvestri with whom Mårten also collaborated on the Requiem Novum which marks Mårten’s first score published with Walton Music, to coincide with a recording featuring soprano Anna Dennis, the VOCES8 Foundation Choir, the Philharmonia Orchestra and conducted by Barnaby Smith. This performance was shown as part of LIVE From London on Easter Day 2022. As well as the full orchestral version heard here there is a version for organ, choir and soprano soloist.

Alongside his composing Mårten also teaches choral conducting and music theory. He gained a PhD in composition from Aberdeen University in 2021.

“My music is my own and I have never tried to be original. That has always been my motto and I have only tried to use music to express all the feelings life consists of. This has led people to describe my music as both “so sad that it sounds like birds who have lost their wings” and “the happiest classical music we ever heard”. I have also always preferred beautiful music to atonal music and that is surely the reason why the most part of my music is more on the sad side – but what a dream it would be to be able to create beautiful music that’s bubbling over with joy! My compositions consist of almost only sacred music. This is to express my own faith but also my appreciation and respect for the timeless texts that have been used for centuries after centuries.” — Mårten Jansson