On May 10, the Swedish clarinetist Martin Fröst received the Léonie Sonning Music Prize in Copenhagen making him the third Swede in the history of the prize to be awarded. First given in 1959 to Igor Stravinsky, subsequent recipients have included Birgit Nilsson, Eric Ericson, Leonard Bernstein, Olivier Messiaen, Miles Davis and most recently Sir Simon Rattle. The entire list of winners reads as the whose who of musical history and for Martin Fröst to receive the award is an immense honour. Coinciding with the prize, BIS will release Martin Fröst’s new Brahms chamber music CD featuring the Clarinet Quintet, Trio and songs arranged for clarinet by Fröst himself. Partnering him are his regular collaborators Janine Jansen, Boris Brovtsyn, Maxim Rysanov, Torleif Thedéen and Roland Pöntinen. Fröst’s 2013 release of the Mozart Clarinet Concerto, recorded with the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, was chosen amongst the Top 10 CDs of the year by the Sunday Times which commented “arguably the world’s greatest clarinetist … reveling in the virtuosity, wit and pathos of Mozart’s last orchestral work”. Following his Carnegie Hall performance of the Mozart concerto in December 2013, the New York Times wrote “Mr Frost exhibited a virtuosity and musicianship unsurpassed by any clarinetist – perhaps any instrumentalist – in my memory”. Martin Fröst will give two concerts of repertoire ranging from Mozart to the Danish composer Bent Sørensen as part of the Sonning Prize celebrations in Copenhagen, following which he joins members of the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra for performances of the Brahms Clarinet Quintet in Oslo (May 13 & 14),concluding his season as Guest Artistic Leader with the ensemble. On May 28 Fröst will perform Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto at the Vienna Konzerthaus together with Jonathan Nott and the Bamberger Symphoniker and on August 4 he returns to New York for the Mostly Mozart Festival at the LincolnCenter. With the start of the 2014 / 15 season Martin Fröst embarks on three new year-long residencies at Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, Göteborg’s Konserthus and London’s Wigmore Hall and in February 2015 he will celebrate the 10th anniversary of Vinterfest – the immensely successful chamber music festival which he founded together with the Dala Sinfonietta in the heart of Sweden, set against the vast expanse of the frozen Dalarna, winter landscape.
Martin Fröst makes his conducting debut with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in a play/direct programme
Following his outstanding performance with the Orpheus Chamber at Carnegie Hall Orchestra in December 2013, Martin Fröst returns to the US to make his debut as a conductor with Detroit Symphony Orchestra in four concerts, from 13 to 16 March inclusive. He conducts Stravinsky’s Pulcinella Suite and Grieg’s Holberg Suite, and appears as soloist/director in Copland’s Clarinet Concerto and Lutosławski’s Dance Preludes. Fröst returns to the US in April, to perform Kalevi Aho ‘s Concerto with Washington’s National Symphony Orchestra under Osmo Vänskä. He then appears in recital for Boston Celebrity Series and San Francisco Performing Arts alongside Marc-Andre Hamelin ad Anthony Marwood, in a repeat of the programme they performed at the Wigmore Hall in February this year.
As 2013 comes to a close the accolade for Martin Fröst's new Mozart album continue to flow in. In the UK the Sunday Times chose the release amongst its top 4 classical albums of the year commenting "Arguably the world's greatest clarinettist in his second account of the greatest concerto for his instrument, revealing in the virtuosity, wit and pathos of Mozart's last orchestral work." In New York, where Martin was performing the Mozart clarinet concerto with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra the New York Times wrote "Fröst exhibited a virtuosity and a musicianship unsurpassed by any clarinettist — perhaps any instrumentalist — in my memory … Fröst's reading of the Mozart concerto was a paragon of lyricism: breathtaking its pianissimos, utterly fluent in its legatos, gleaming in its ornamental flourishes." Also in the USA Listen Magazine reviewed the new album commenting "As ever, Fröst has a cool way with this music ...the Swede has a sound of silver that is irresistibly dulclt" whilst back in the UK Gramophone wrote of his "smooth, liquid tone" and sensitivity to "the music's melancholy undertow, bending the pulse in response to a shadowing." Across the channel in France the album received a Diapason 5 placing it amongst the top albums of the month in what was described as a "thrilling performance." Back home in Sweden the album was nominated this week for a Grammi. Martin last won a Swedish Grammi in 2004 for his first recording of the Mozart Clarinet Concerto so it would be a fitting return if the album is chosen as Classical CD of the Year. We shall find out on 19 February 2014.
“Fröst exhibited a virtuosity and a musicianship unsurpassed by any clarinettist — perhaps any instrumentalist — in my memory.” – The New York Times, December 2013
Martin enthralled the New York audience and critis alike in a concert together with the Orpheus Chamber Orhestra. Carnegie Hall was sold out and the electrified audience went from breathless to exultant. Both the rendering of Mozart Clarinet Concerto and the spectacular encore were thoroughly praised by the New York Times´ James R. Oestreich: ”..Mr. Frost’s reading of the Mozart concerto was a paragon of lyricism: breathtaking in its pianissimos, utterly fluid in its legatos, gleaming in its ornamental flourishes. ...the spectacular Carnegie encore, which began as a modest improvisation on licks from Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring” and opened into two riotous outbursts of klezmerlike note-spinning, ranging mercurially from the most delicate and attenuated to the most raucous, with the orchestra jamming alongside. Between the two performances Mr. Frost exhibited a virtuosity and a musicianship unsurpassed by any clarinetist — perhaps any instrumentalist — in my memory.” Read the whole review in New York Times. Photo: Brian Harkin for The New York Times
On his stop-over between Australia and the US in Leipzig this week, Martin Fröst enjoyed some wonderful days together with the Gewandhaus Orchestra and Sir Roger Norrington. Their rendering of Mozart´s Clarinet Concerto made deep impact on the audience in the Gewandhaus. The critic of the Leipziger Volkszeitung wrote in lyrical words of the concert: “The soloist is the internationally acclaimed Martin Fröst, who, out of this greatest of all clarinet concertos, creates something that gets deep under the skin. Seamlessly and with a velvety tone, he strides through the huge range of his instrument, and on the borders of silence, there are windows to the soul opening up. The unpretentious sensuality of the Adagio, this music between pain and bliss, sorrow and light, speaks with even more intensity when sounding so perfectly natural. ….stupendous, virtuosic, and exhilarating – more Fröst please!” - Leipziger Volkszeitung
Martin Fröst makes his debut with the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, performing Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto on 28 & 30 November. The programme, which is conducted by Sir Roger Norrington, also includes Mozart’s Symphonies Nos. 33 & 36. On 1 December at the Gewandhaus, Fröst performs Brahms’ Clarinet Quintet with the Appollon Musagète Quartet in a recital that also sees the quartet perform Mendelssohn’s String Quartet No.2. Fröst performs the Mozart concerto a number of times during the current season. His new CD of the work has recently been released on the BIS label to great critical acclaim - Fröst being described by Hugh Canning in his Sunday Times review of the disc as "one of this masterpiece's supreme interpreters."
See the interview with Martin about Dollhouse on swedish television, Gomorron Sverige! http://www.svtplay.se/klipp/1502181/premiar-i-host-for-mangsidige-frost
Martin Fröst's pioneer project Dollhouse where he appears as soloist, conductor, dancer and master of ceremony was an instant success with three sold out halls in the Stockholm Concert House with enthusiastic reviews. Fröst's ambition to investigate the nature of communication between conductor and orchestra resulted in a breathtaking production including specially composed works, choreography, light design and a pedagogical project involving two clarinet students and the Stockholm audiences were enchanted and gave the performances standing ovations . Johanna Paulsson wrote the following review for swedish news paper Dagens Nyheter: ”The magician Martin Fröst redefines the framework of orchestral performance.” "To make klezmer dance connect to an Andalusian lullaby, Stravinsky´s neo classical ballet suite and masked peacock music, you either have to be a magician or Martin Fröst. Maybe it is actually the same thing. If anyone can conjure a choreographed concert performance like “Dollhouse”, it has to be a bearer of traditions and trendsetting world soloist like him. “Are we the ones tied to the threads or do we pull them” he philosophizes from stage and jokes about pulling off a few encores in the beginning of the concert. Some of the speech can be recognized from the 12th Nights concert and the music functions as an illustration. But brother Göran Fröst´s new piece “DTangled” resembles nothing else when the chorography of Birgitta Egerbladh ingeniously transforms the soloist into a dangling marionette. Eventually he dives down for his clarinet in a suggestively merged “conductography” where he leads the orchestra with tap dance steps and gestures through a warmly lyrical music with underlying threats and a solo cello which has moved to the organ balcony. The quietly growing fragility in de Falla´s “Nana” becomes the introduction to the Danish composer Bent Sörensen´s specially composed “Doll steps in Venice” with a pulse of pizzicato marching doll steps, slightly jazz tinted harmonies and a game between hearing and sight impressions. Like when clarinet pupil Magnus Holmander lets his clarinet dissolve in glittering dust. This magical achievement of course leads on to Paul Dukas’ symphonic poème (and later Disney hit) The Sourcerer’s Apprentice. Maybe the details become a little too explicit, should each interpretations sound like this one would become a little faint. But on the conducting podium Fröst at the same time has the ability to make the music exciting. Like the classical music’s own Lord Woldemort, he urges the orchestra on in an underworld dance while the light design of Linus Fellbom sets both organ pipes and Wagner hearts alight. Stravinsky´s Pulcinella Suite is elegantly served with Sörensen´s Doll Step Echoes interwoven as sensual clarinet silhouettes between the movements and as an overall concept Dollhouse is a complete success. The Millenium version of Ander´s Hillborg´s Peacock tales - smartened up with two additional clarienet parts – ties the programme well together with its demonically masked movement choreography. Fröst´s can take special credit for breaking the frames of what an orchestra is and can be, with his investigations of roles, dynamics and power balance, wanting something more." Here you can listen and watch Martin being interviewed by national Swedish radio and tv (Swedish only) - Studio Ett and Gomorron Sverige
Concerto in A major for Clarinet and Orchestra, K 622. Trio for Clarinet, Viola and Piano, ‘Kegelstatt’, K 498 (completed by Robert Levin) Allegro for Clarinet and String Quartet in B flat major, K Anh.91 (516c) Swedish clarinetist, Martin Fröst first recorded Mozart’s Concerto in A major in 2003 with the Amsterdam Sinfonietta. It was his debut release on BIS and has since proved to be one of the label’s best selling discs. In the intervening decade Fröst has explored all the core repertoire for his instrument and commissioned new works by composers including Kalevi Aho, Rolf Martinsson and Bent Sørensen. He has established an international performing career which, this season, takes him to Paris (Théatre des Champs Elysées), Amsterdam (Concertgebouw), Leipzig (Gewandhaus), Berlin (Philharmonie), Frankfurt (Alte Oper), London (Wigmore Hall), New York (Carnegie Hall), Washington, Boston and San Francisco as well as on tour in Australia as soloist with the Australian Chamber Orchestra. With this, his second recording of the Mozart Clarinet Concerto, Martin Fröst plays and directs the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen and in the couplings he has joined forces with friends and regular chamber music partners; Leif Ove Andsnes and Antoine Tamestit partner him in the so-called Kegelstatt Trio, and Janine Jansen, Boris Brovtsyn, Maxim Rysanov and Torleif Thedéen join him in the rarely heard Allegro for Clarinet and String Quartet, K Anh.91. Probably composed in 1787 – two years before the famous Quintet in A major for the same forces – the Allegro, in the extant autograph manuscript, breaks off after just 93 bars. If Mozart actually completed the movement and for what purpose he intended it isn’t known, but the completion made by Robert Levin adds to the modern clarinetist’s repertoire a work of great imagination that would otherwise have gone forgotten. Buy the album!
This season Martin Fröst will give perfomances on some of the world’s most prestigious concert stages including Carnegie Hall, Sydney Opera House, Berlin Philharmonie, The Gewandhaus Leipzig,Vienna Konzerthaus, Amsterdam Concertgebouw and Theatre de Champs Elysee in Paris amongst others. But in the beginning of October, Fröst is at home to launch a new three concert project at the Stockholm Concert Hall called Dollhouse. In these performances with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Fröst will appear as soloist, conductor, dancer, actor and conférencier. He will also be joined by two young up and coming clarinet stars Ingrid Meidell Noodt and Magnus Holmander for a whirling performance with new and traditional repertoire, choreographed by Ambra Succi (Bounce) and Birgitta Egerbladh. The performance will mark Fröst’s first collaboration with lighting designer and scenograpaher Linus Fellbom. Fellbom is a highly successful designer in the world of international opera and dance, and has worked on productions at the Wiener Staadsoper, Stuttgart Ballet, Hamburgische Staadsoper and the Los Angeles Opera. Whilst wanting to push the boundraries, Martin Fröst continuously creates new artistic expressions within the traditional framework of classical music. In Dollhouse, he alters our perspectives forcing us to think about who is leading and who is being led; here communication takes place on several levels and habitual patterns are sometimes turned on their heads when we realize that an orchestra can be led in different ways from those we are accustomed to. Martin Fröst on Dollhouse: ”Perhaps there is a tendency today, as a result of our more driven development, to distil the ”human voice”away from music. It becomes standardized, streamlined or just agreeable. We always have to let pleasant music making become music making for life and death, to go and stand in a place where things can either go fantastically or result in a complete fiasco. Dollhouse is very much about liberation, both in its physical and symbolical form, about the invisible threads that hold us to the earth, tie us together and can wear away. It is a concert with movement as its centre, a metaphor in the footsteps of Petrushka and Pinocchio.” The programme also includes Paul Dukas’ The Sorcerer´s Apprentice which became a world hit when Walt Disney used it in his film Fantasia in 1940. It is very much about liberation, but here the liberation has its price; in the film Mickey Mouse features as the apprentice who looses control over his own magic when his master leaves him alone at the castle. Luckily this does not happen to the two clarinet pupils who participate in the concert and during the preparation of this project haven taken part as apprentices alongside Martin Fröst. Their roles in the performance are very apparent, especially since the composer, Anders Hillborg, has added two clarinets to the prelude of Peacock Tales, the clarinet concerto written and dedicated to Martin Fröst. The two clarinettists will also take part in Sørensen’s Doll Steps in Venice , which like Göran Fröst´s Dtangled, has been composed especially for Dollhouse and will have it’s first Swedish premiere during these performances. PROGRAMME Göran Fröst - Klezmer Dances Göran Fröst - D-tangled Manuel de Falla - Nana Bent Sørensen - Doll steps in Venice Paul Dukas - The Sorcerer's Apprentice PAUSE Igor Stravinsky - Pulcinella Suite Anders Hillborg - Peacock Tales BOOK TICKETS: Stockholm Concert Hall