Catch Martin Fröst performing the beguiling Mozart Clarinet Concerto at the inaugural season of the Tsinandali Festival in Georgia, accompanied by the Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra. The rest of the programme features Yuja Wang and Chris Scanlon in music by Shostakovich, and Beethoven’s first symphony under the baton of Lahav Shani.
The ambitious project of exploring Mozart’s musical creations during his travels throughout Europe as part of his mature years has just been set off by Martin Fröst and the Swedish Chamber Orchestra at the Örebro Concert Hall. The music Mozart composed in cities such as Prague and Leipzig is the protagonist, in what is planned to be the orchestra’s first green tour and recording project by Sony Classical.
As the new Chief Conductor of the orchestra, “The Mozart Journey” is the first project Martin Fröst is embarking on along with the musicians, following Mozart’s historic footprint in Europe’s musical capitals. Along the journey, Fröst and the Swedish Chamber Orchestra are being joined by renowned soloists who bring Mozart’s concertos and arias to the forefront, along some of his most fascinating orchestral works.
“Because of recent developments in my life, I took some important personal decisions and also made some crucial artistic choices. The most important of these were to start the foundation. I am so happy that we are finally making this happen and for the great and generous support by Buffet Crampon.”
The renowned clarinettist Martin Fröst launches the ‘Martin Fröst Foundation’ this spring in his homeland Sweden, followed by launches in Beijing, Paris, New York and London later in 2019. The purpose of the Foundation is to give children and young people from all over the world the opportunity to receive music education, enable access to instruments and develop the classical concert form for future generations.
The main sponsor of the Foundation is Buffet Crampon, the world’s largest manufacturer of wind instruments and leader in professional clarinets. Buffet Crampon will donate instruments to the Foundation and provide vital financial support. The launch of the Foundation will take place at the Stockholm Concert Hall on 23 April, where Fröst will give a concert together with the Swedish Chamber Orchestra and Adolf Fredrik’s Girls’ Choir.
The Foundation will provide resources that can improve and enable children’s and young people’s access to music education and instruments, with a particular focus on regions where cultural resources exist, but financial means are lacking. Buffet Crampon will donate 2 euros to the Martin Fröst Foundation for each student clarinet sold. In addition, the Foundation’s purpose will be to support the development of the classical concert form — something that Fröst constantly strives to explore through his critically acclaimed projects. Partner Buffet Crampon will assist in providing funds to people and organisations aiming to open new doors and influence the development of classical music for future audiences.
“We are honoured and enthusiastic to associate the name of Buffet Crampon to this humanitarian project. We have been very closed of musicians all over the world since almost 200 years and are very proud with this partnership to help artistic creation and talent of young musicians.”
says Jérôme Perrod, CEO of Buffet Crampon Group
Martin Fröst will be supported by a board including Hermann Stefánsson, professor at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm, and Peter Norman, Swedish economist and former Minister for Financial Markets in the Swedish Government. The Artistic Advisory Board will be chaired by Yehuda Gilad, founder and professor of clarinet at the Colburn Conservatory and professor at USC, and will be assisted by the great clarinetists and teachers Antonio Saiote and Keith Lipson, who will also join the artistic committee for the foundation.
Following a successful collaboration as Artist in Residence with the Bamberger Symphoniker earlier this season, Martin Fröst travels to Frankfurt this month to start his tenure as Principal Guest Artist of hr-Sinfonieorchester.
Together with the orchestra they will give a series of concerts, featuring Fröst’s signature piece Peacock Tales, a clarinet concerto written for him by Anders Hillborg, and Debussy’s Première Rhapsodie for clarinet and orchestra. The concerts take place on 27, 28 February and 1 March at the Alte Oper.
Fröst returns to Frankfurt later in the spring to perform his latest project Retrotopia. It is a ground-breaking concert form in which Martin takes the part of the conductor, soloist and presenter, pushing the boundaries of how classical music and contemporary repertoire are being presented to audiences. Retrotopia was debuted in Stockholm in May 2018 with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra to critical acclaim and most recently was presented in Bamberg.
On 12 December, Martin Fröst returns to Lincoln Center in New York to perform works by Poulenc, Bartók and Brahms with pianist Henrik Måwe. Fröst then gives a second recital of the repertoire in Princeton University on 13 December.
Martin Fröst’s recent highlights this autumn include a successful tour in Spain with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, chamber concerts with Quatuor Ébène in Germany and the second presentation of his artistically innovative project Retrotopia with the Bamberger Symphoniker.
On 12 September, Martin Fröst gives his inaugural performance as Chief Conductor of the Swedish Chamber Orchestra at the Örebro Concert Hall. His appointment in this post was announced back in 2017, marking a new chapter in his artistic journey. In recent years, whilst Fröst has been recognised for pushing the boundaries of performance as a clarinettist, he has also been increasingly active as a conductor.
The season opens with one of Fröst’s acclaimed projects, Genesis, the second among Dollhouse and Retrotopia. It is a multifaceted presentation of existing and new repertoire aiming to transform traditional conceptions of the classical concert setting, featuring pieces composed especially for these projects. Genesis includes choreography, speech, solo performance and choral singing, offering to audiences an unforgettable musical experience.
Fröst will return to the Swedish Chamber Orchestra on 2 October to resume an exciting season that will focus on the music of Mozart through his travels in Europe. Starting with the Clarinet Concerto in A major, a piece which Fröst has mastered since the beginning of his career, the rest of the programme features Mozart’s Prague Symphony No.38.
Welcome to a unique concert in Stockholm Concert Hall with Martin Fröst playing music from his concert performances Genesis and Retrotopia. In addition to Martin Fröst, participants include the Swedish Chamber Orchestra, Adolf Fredrik Girls Choir and clarinettists Magnus Holmander and Sandra Ibarreche, who both took part in the show Genesis with Fröst and the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra in 2015, as well as students from the Royal College of Music in Stockholm. The concert is the launch of the Martin Fröst Foundation and all revenue will support its endeavours.
Tickets are available for purchase from 200 SEK – By tickets
The objective of the foundation is for more children and young people all over the world to have the opportunity to study music and have access to instruments. The foundation will focus its work in particular on regions that have cultural resources but lack financial opportunities. The foundation will also work to support the development of the classical concert form – something which Martin Fröst works with constantly in his activities as an artist.
For more information visit www.martinfrostfoundation.com
If you want to donate money to the foundation visit www.martinfrostfoundation.com/donation
MARTIN FRÖST OLIVIER MESSIAEN: QUATUOR POUR LA FIN DU TEMPS
INTERNATIONAL RELEASE DATE: NOVEMBER 3, 2017
A Personal Response to a Classic for Our Own Times
The Quartet for the End of Time is intensely personal music and it deserves an equally personal response from anyone playing it now. When Martin Fröst overheard a rehearsal through an open window as a teenager at a music camp, he was transfixed: ‘I was bewitched … and I ended up walking away from the house that day with a different view on the world.’
It was the first work he played with Janine Jansen when they met 16 years ago and the cellist on that occasion was Thorleif Thedéen. This was a transforming experience for all three musicians. Martin Fröst remembers it as ‘one of life’s rare and profound musical moments, when everything comes together and you are left with a deep sense of connection not only to the piece, but to each other – we have been trying to find the right circumstances to record the piece together ever since.’
Finally, these musicians have brought this cherished project to fruition, joined by the brilliant pianist Lucas Debargue. The deep expressive power of the Quartet was brought home to them once again – and the time was right too: ‘As the world has been marking and reflecting upon the several anniversaries of the World Wars in recent years, it felt that now was the perfect time to get this project off the ground, especially too as I feel the music, is still as relevant in today’s political climate as it was in 1941.’
Composed in a Prisoner-of-War Camp
Composed in Stalag VIII-A, a prisoner-of-war camp at Görlitz, the Quartet for the End of Time has an extraordinary genesis. Messiaen was among thousands of French soldiers taken prisoner in June 1940 and at a transit camp near Nancy he composed the solo clarinet movement, ‘Abîme des oiseaux’, for Henri Akoka, who gave the first performance of it there, with the cellist Etienne Pasquier holding the music for him. Messiaen, Akoka and Pasquier were all taken to Stalag VIII-A and these gifted musicians soon met another, Jean Le Boulaire, a violinist who went on to a successful acting career (under the name Jean Lanier, his first film was Marcel Carné’s 1943 classic Les Enfants du paradis).
To compose a piece for violin, clarinet, cello and piano (his own instrument), Messiaen needed manuscript paper to write it down. Thanks to the kindness of Karl-Erich Brüll, a German guard, Messiaen was given the paper he needed and got to work. When he finished the ‘Intermède’ for clarinet, violin and cello, Messiaen rehearsed it with the musicians in a bathroom before working on the rest of the Quartet. A battered piano was found (its notes stuck), and the camp commander arranged for an inexpensive cello to be purchased for Etienne Pasquier to play. Under such challenging circumstances, it was little short of a miracle that the Quartet was composed and performed at all – but it was, and a masterpiece was born.
An Extraordinary Premiere
The premiere was given at 6:00 p.m. on 15 January 1941 and Messiaen later claimed that the audience consisted of ‘5,000 prisoners’. In fact it was nearer 400, crammed into the camp’s makeshift theatre. The weather across Northern Europe was brutally cold in January 1941 and it was around –20C at Görlitz. How did the audience react to hearing this extraordinary music in such difficult circumstances? According to Messiaen and Pasquier, they listened with great concentration, but the camp newspaper reported that ‘while there was fervent enthusiasm on some rows, it was impossible not to sense the irritation on others. … But it is often a mark of a work’s greatness that it has provoked conflict on the occasion of its birth.’
I. Liturgie de cristal
II. Vocalise, pour l’ange qui annonce la fin du temps
III. Abîme des oiseaux
V. Louange à l’éternité de Jésus
VI. Danse de la fureur, pour les sept trompettes
VII. Fouillis d’arcs-en-ciel, pour l’ange qui annonce la fin du temps
VIII. Louange à l’immortalité de Jésus
TOUR DATES – Quatuor pour la fin du temps
November 8, 2017: L’Auditori, Barcelona Spain (with Henrik Mawe and Members of Armida Quartet)
December 4, 2017: Club Musical de Québec, Ville de Quebec Canada (with Janine Jansen, Torleif Thedeen, Lucas Debargue)
December 5, 2017: The Royal Conservatory, Toronto Canada (with Janine Jansen, Torleif Thedeen, Lucas Debargue)
December 7, 2017: Carnegie Hall, New York City USA (with Janine Jansen, Torleif Thedeen, Lucas Debargue)
Fröst has been named as Chief Conductor of the Swedish Chamber Orchestra for a three year term from the beginning of the 2019/20 season. The appointment will open up yet another window to Fröst’s creativity.
Commenting on the announcement Martin Fröst said “The Swedish Chamber Orchestra is one of Scandinavia’s leading orchestras; their passion, dedication and creativity is an inspiration. I can’t wait to join the journey and have the chance to contribute to their already wonderful reputation both nationally and internationally and have the opportunity to develop a new framework and vision for the orchestra, together with the musicians. I have tried to open new doors into the future and this really gives me a chance to take another step in a new direction. It really is an honour to be joining this wonderful musical family.”
Fröst will join the orchestra as a guest conductor in September 2017 when he conducts Beethoven Symphony No.4. More news on the announcement can be found here.
Photo: Fröst celebrating with the musicians and administration of the Swedish Chamber Orchestra.
H A M B U R G • Elbphilharmonie Copland Concerto with NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester
L O S A N G E L E S • Walt Disney Hall Mozart Concerto with LA Philharmonic
V E R B I E R F E S T I V A L • Salle des Combins Lutoslawski Dance Preludes & Shaw Clarinet Concerti with Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra
A M S T E R D A M • Concertgebouw Mozart Concerto with Amsterdam Sinfonietta
L O N D O N • Wigmore Hall Mozart and Brahms Quintet with Quatuor Ébène
M O N T R E A L Mozart Concerto with Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal
B A R C E L O N A Residency at L’Auditori
CLICK HERE for SUMMER SCHEDULE
Genesis is a strikingly original project created and led by Martin Fröst as part of his collaboration with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra. A seamless programme of works freely drawn from a millennium of music history. The video is also featuring a behind-the-scenes documentary. Recording from December 2015.
This weekend, on August 5th and 6th, Martin performs Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto with the conductor Paavo Jarvi at the Mostly Mozart Festival in New York.
The New York Times met up with Martin beforehand to discuss this masterpiece with him.
Read the interview here.
Photo: Brian Harkin for The New York Times
V E R B I E R F E S T I V A L with Yuja Wang, Leonidas Kavakos, Ebene Quartet
N E W Y O R K Mozart with the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra
A M S T E R D A M “Genesis” with the Amsterdam Sinfonietta
L O N D O N Copland with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields
H A M B U R G Copland with NDR Symphony Orchestra
T O K Y O Mozart with the NHK Symphony Orchestra
T E L A V I V Copland & Artie Shaw with the Israel Philharmonic
O S L O “Genesis” with the Oslo Philharmonic
S T O C K H O L M “Exodus” Project with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic
N E W Z E A L A N D Mozart with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra
L O N D O N “Genesis” with the Amsterdam Sinfonietta
VERBIER AND NEW YORK
Martin returns this summer to the Verbier Festival for two concerts partnering with, amongst others, Yuja Wang, Leonidas Kavakos and the Quatuor Ebène. From Verbier, its straight on to New York to perform at the Mostly Mozart Festival playing Mozart Concerto where his last appearance in 2014 led the New York Times to comment: “In earlier times, the talent of Martin Frost would have attracted suspicion. Like that of Paganini, whom contemporaries suspected to be in cahoots with the Devil: How else to explain his wizardry on the violin, which surpassed everyone else in technique and brilliance?”
GENESIS AT THE VIENNA FILMFEST AND ON TOUR
In July and August the Vienna Filmfest will broadcast “Genesis” – Martin’s new project which he premiered at the Stockholm Konserthus last December. Now a full-length film, tv companies are queuing up to broadcast it and presenters across Europe have already announced upcoming performances in Bologna, Rome, Amsterdam, London and Oslo.
View the trailer here.
FROM AMSTERDAM TO TOKYO
Other highlights of the upcoming season include a concert at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, where Martin is a regular, priority guest artist.
The Netherlands is followed by performances with the NHK Symphony Orchestra, Oslo Philharmonic, Israel Philharmonic, Academy of St Martin in the Fields, the St Paul Chamber Orchestra, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Orchestre National de Lyon, New Zealand Philharmonic and the NDR Symphony Orchestra with repertoire ranging from Mozart to “Genesis” and Brahms to Artie Shaw.
Highlights of the 2015/16 season were the premiere of Martin’s new project “Genesis” with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, the release of his debut CD on Sony Classical and performances with leading orchestras both as clarinetist and conductor:
MOZART WITH CHAILLY AND LEIPZIG
The season began with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra and Riccardo Chailly for three performance in the Gewandhaus, an open air concert in the famous Leipzig Augustplatz attended by 32 000 people and a tour of Vienna, Paris and London performing the Mozart Clarinet Concerto. The reviews said it all: “Magical” wrote The Arts Desk, “inspired” commented classicalsource and “irresistible” was The Guardian’s verdict. Meanwhile The Times asked “What’s in the blood of the Swedish clarinettist Martin Fröst? … sterling dynamic control and the awesome length of his breaths. Chailly’s forces proved ideal comrades; together they generated magic, laced with subtle melancholy, the work’s secret ingredient. A rich banquet, this concert. If only I could have had seconds.”
News of Martin’s “irresistible” Mozart has extended beyond the concert hall. The videos of him performing the concerto with the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Saarbrücken on YouTube have been watched nearly 1.5 million times, making his performance the most watched classical clarinet video on the channel.
NIELSEN CONCERTO IN BERLIN
Spring saw Martin’s debut with the DSO in Berlin conducted by Thomas Søndergård performing the Nielsen Clarinet Concerto at the Philharmonie. Reporting on the concert Deutschland Radio Kultur commented “For a singular performer such as Fröst the technical challenges (of the Nielsen Clarinet Concerto) are no more than an additional stimulant.” Der Tagesspiegel added “he effortlessly switches between speaking, singing and an electrifying virtuoso tone. With stupendous security, he manages to exhale a pianissimo which extends right to the farthest corners of the Philharmonie.”
ON THE PODIUM
In recent years the ever curious Martin has turned his attention to the podium regularly conducting ensembles including the St Paul Chamber Orchestra in Minnesota, the Swedish Chamber Orchestra and the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic. Reviewing one of his recent performances the Stavanger Aftenblad commented” Such ease with Beethoven’s Symphony no. 1 – the well-chosen tempi, the clear accents and all the rhetorical-musical articulation that was so distinctly a feature of (Franz) Brüggen’s conducting, we heard now again with Martin Fröst He impressed greatly.” Meanwhile the Dagens Nyheter commented “Fröst’s ability to get the orchestra on their toes was evident in a performance that took on the dynamics and created a swirling energy …”
The success of Martin Fröst’s first Sony Classical release “Roots” continues to receive international critical acclaim – most recently earning a 5 out of 5 star review from the BBC Music Magazine (June issue) and chosen as Limelight Magazine’s CD of the Month (May issue) in Australia: “The title of Swedish clarinettist Martin Fröst’s Sony Classical debut says it all while implying so much more. Growing out of a live music project Fröst was already working on in Stockholm, Roots is an entirely organic listening experience, resembling (not so much contemplating) an ancient, solitary tree but strolling through a fragrant garden where a profusion of different plants brings forth flowers and fruits in eclectic abundance.”
“My quest to create new programmes which move beyond traditional concert formats is something that has fascinated me for years and, when I was putting together such a project to premiere in Stockholm last year, Sony Classical enthusiastically supported the idea of releasing some of the music as my first album on the label.
„All the music that is performed on the album – apart from the Crusell – is a kind of reincarnation of the original, whether it be a transcription, variation or a new setting that has come about through an improvisation. Afterall, music is nomadic and its roots have spread over thousands of years through different continents and cultures taking on new shapes as it travels and evolves.
“In the Greek melodies and the Hildegard of Bingen it is a fusion between two types of old schools. Elsewhere on the programme I wanted to remind myself how improvisation has played such an important part in the evolution of music. That’s how I also came up with new playing techniques – for instance simultaneous singing / playing through a 3 step breathing technique (track 16) and beatbox playing (track 18).
“So on first sight the album is something of a musical “hotchpotch” and is intended as one … the idea of coupling things that may appear at first to be completely alien turns me on. When things all of a sudden – sometimes almost unnoticed – merge into something completely different and unexpected and then you realise that there is indeed a connection between them, such as in the traditional Polksa which blends into Anders Hillborg’s newly written Hymns of Echos.
“When we listen to music today we are formed by our own times and influenced by centuries of music which we can only imagine how it might have sounded originally because our ears are “new ears” and not old ones. Take just one comparison to art – the Elgin Marbles – we know and love them in our times for their majestic, white simplicity. But recently it came to light that they were originally brightly painted. That makes our perception and perhaps also our appreciation of them completely different and how do we know how they were perceived or appreciated when they were newly created?
“In the light of this we can start to understand what, at least for me, looks like a paradox. Namely that when we sit and think about what has influenced us from the past we might not actually think how the past is influenced by us.
“I hope you enjoy the music.”
Sony Classical pre-releases Roots today exclusively in Sweden in advance of next week’s premiere performances of “Genesis” in Stockholm with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic.
The album, which is Martin Fröst’s first recording on the Sony label is set for international release on 29 January 2016.
The stunning new recording and concert programme created by Martin features a kaleidoscope of repertoire ranging 2000 years, tracing the evolution of music through a continuous soundscape. “The listener will search long and hard to find works and performances like these in which folk music, a religious atmosphere and an avant-garde technique are combined to create such inspired music for our age” writes Wolfgang Sander of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung in the booklet note.
Describing the programme – in which Martin features as both soloist and conductor – he comments “My sound-world journey travels through the sources of classical repertoire, and draws a line from the earliest “roots” of music—music inspired by dance and folk, music drawn from sacred rituals of praise, and music as pure entertainment—and explores how, from these roots, we can open up a new musical door into the future. My journey moves from Gregorian chant, Hildegard von Bingen and Telemann, via gypsy, klezmer and traditional folk music from a variety of countries, all the way through to new works and re-workings of classical pieces… I wanted to give the feeling that, by listening to this programme its like walking through from one room to the next and suddenly you are in a totally different sound world – that idea turns me on.”
Roots refers not only to the origins of classical music in religious music and folk music but also to the very personal roots of Martin himself. The final track is a setting of the beautiful and simple Scandinavian folksong Jag vet en dejlig rosa (I know a rose so comely) which comes from Dalarna in the heart of Sweden
Highlights in the coming months:
13 October PHILHARMONIE DE PARIS – PARIS
23 October BARBICAN CENTRE – LONDON
Gewandhaus Orchestra / Riccardo Chailly
Mozart: Clarinet Concerto in A major K622
31 October & 2 November HET CONCERTGEBOUW – AMSTERDAM
Nederlands Philharmonisch Orkest /Joshua Weilerstein
Nielsen: Concerto for Clarinet, Op.57
11 & 12 November ORDWAY CONCERT HALL – ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA
16 November TAIPEI, CHINA
18 November SINGAPORE, SINGAPORE
19 November JAKARTA, INDONESIA
St. Paul Chamber Orchestra
Mozart: Clarinet Concerto in A major K622
3 & 5 December STOCKHOLM CONCERT HALL
Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra
Genesis Project WORLD PREMIERE
Following a summer of high profile appearances which included concerts at the Verbier and Baltic Sea Festivals, Martin Fröst gears up for the start of the new season which launched on October 8 in Vienna together with the Gewandhaus Orchestra and Riccardo Chailly. Performing Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto at the Musikverein, the tour proceeds to the Paris Philharmonie and London Barbican following which Martin joins the Netherlands Philharmonic and Joshua Weilerstein for two performances of the Nielsen Clarinet concerto at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. As Artistic Partner with the St Paul Chamber Orchestra, he travels to the States in November and joins the ensemble on tour in China, Singapore and Indonesia.
December sees Martin return to the stage in Stockholm for the world premiere performance of Genesis together with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic on 3 and 5 December.
Photo: Mats Bäcker
From 27 to 30 August 2015 Martin Fröst returns to Leipzig for a series of concerts with the Gewandhausorchester, before touring with them in October to Vienna (8), Paris (13) and London (23).
Fröst performs Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto under the baton of Riccardo Chailly and the programme also features Strauss’ Tod und Verklärung, Metamorphosen and Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche.
Photo: Nikolaj Lund
After 6 years Martin Fröst has now concluded his last festival season as artistic leader of the International Chamber Music Festival Stavanger.
Looking back on this years festival and the ones before, Martin is extremely happy and thankful for being given the opportunity to work with this wonderful festival and he would like to thank everyone involved – the artists, organizers, volunteers and audience – for their collaboration in making the festival a great success!
To take a look at photos of the 2015 festival by festival photographer Nikolaj Lund click here.
Photo: Nikolaj Lund
Martin Fröst’s recording of the Brahms Clarinet Quintet & 6 Songs is nominated for a Gramophone Award in the Chamber Category. The awards ceremony will take place in London on September 17th 2015.
To read the original 2014 Gramophone review for the Brahms recording by Nalen Anthoni click here.
Martin Fröst’s concert schedule for the 2015/16 season is now online.
Among the highlights are concerts like Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto with the Gewandhaus Orchestra and Riccardo Chailly in Vienna, Paris and London, Copland’s Concerto for Clarinet with Gábor Takács-Nagy at the Verbier Festival, Nielsen’s Concerto for Clarinet with the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra and Kent Nagano in Gothenburg and Stockholm as well as the World Premier of the Genesis Project with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra on December 3rd 2015.
Martin Fröst returns to Camerata Salzburg to perform Weber’s Clarinet Concerto under Louis Langrée for a series of concerts at both the Mozarteum Salzburg (29 and 31 May) and the Wiener Konzerthaus (8 and 9 June).
Last week marked the closing of Fröst’s 2014/15 season residency at Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, where he performed a chamber concert featuring works by Mozart, Schumann and Kurtág with Maxim Rysanov and Roland Pöntinen. Fröst and Pöntinen also worked with Director Jorinde Keesmaat, performing two concerts as part of the Concertgebouw’s Tracks series.
On April 15th 2015 Martin Fröst will feature in the music programme “Camillas klassiska” (Camilla’s classics) on Swedish National Television. In the first episodes the host of the show, Camilla Lundberg, meets Martin Fröst in London where he is working on Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto with Academy St. Martin in the Fields.
The programme airs on April 15th, 20:30 on SVT2.
In the 2015/16 season Martin Fröst enters a 3 year partnership with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic as conductor, soloist and creator in 2-3 productions per season. This will include the launch of a new project, Genesis, exploring the source and development of classical music and featuring major traditional repertoire as well as looking at new ways of presenting classical music.
In addition to these concerts a new CD with Martin Fröst and the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic will be released on Sony Classical in December 2015.
Martin Fröst’s recording of Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto (with Amsterdam Sinfonietta/Peter Oundjian) and Quintet (with Vertavo Quartet) on BIS Records has passed the 250’000 mark in sales, making it the best-selling BIS production ever.
From Schubert to Widmann to Mick Jagger – Martin talks about his musical tastes on and off the concert platform.
Photo: Nikolaj Lund
First performed in October 2013, Dollhouse is a unique conceptional creation – a fusion of music, choreography and light, reaching far beyond the conventions.
A documentary of the Dollhouse project with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic was recorded for television. Watch the trailer on YouTube.
Watch the Dollhouse Concert on KonserthusetPlay.
The 10 year anniversary of the Vinterfest in Mora also was Martin Fröst’s final season as Artistic Leader for the festival. Taking place in February this year the 2015 festival was praised in the international press. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung wrote:
“Fröst plays up to 200 concerts a year, he is Artist in Residence at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam as well as the London Wigmore Hall, and still he finds the time to lead a festival in Mora, 350 km North of Stockholm, that one easily can line up with the many other small, prestigious music events such as Gidion Kremer’s Lockenhaus-Festival, Sviatoslav Richter’s former Refugium in Tours, Vladimir Spivakov’s Festival Colmar or Leif Ove Andne’s Winter Festival in Røros.”
FAZ, Wolfgang Sandner 24.02.2015
Photo: Nikolaj Lund
One of the finest Chamber Orchestras in the US, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra in Minnesota, has announced that they have engaged Martin Fröst as their Artistic Leader/Partner.
St. Paul Chamber Orchestra’s president Bruce Coppock says:
“In seeking Artistic Partners for the SPCO, we first look for artists who have an inordinate capacity to inspire our audiences and musicians alike. Martin Fröst’s concerts with the SPCO last month were perhaps the most kinetic, awe-inspiring performances SPCO audiences have ever experienced, and the energy Martin released into our musicians was the very definition of leadership through inspiration.”
The collaboration with St. Paul Chamber Orchestra continues up to and including the season 2018/19. This is Martin Fröst’s first international position as Artistic Leader. St. Paul Chamber Orchestra will be one of Martins partners in developing his new Genesis project and recordings, commissions of new repertoire and international touring, including a major tour of the Far East will be key aspects of Martin Fröst’s soloist and conducting residency.
The prestigious German music magazine Fono Forum has voted Martin Fröst’s best selling recording of Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto, where he appears both as leader and soloist of the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, among the “10 best recording of 2014”.
The motivation was:
“Mozart’s clarinet Concerto in an outstanding, sonorous presentation which in addition illuminates the imperative compositional development of the 3 movements in an exemplary way.”
Fono Forum, Ingo Harden, December 2014
Described earlier this season by The Sunday Times as “the world’s greatest clarinetist” and by The New York Times as possessing “a virtuosity and musicianship unsurpassed by any clarinetist — perhaps any instrumentalist — in living memory”, Martin’s first disc for Sony will see him perform as both conductor and soloist and will be recorded with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra at the Konserthuset in Stockholm. The album is set for release in January 2016.
On signing the contract, Sony Classical’s President Bogdan Roscic said: “Seeing and hearing Martin Fröst is one of the strongest experiences classical music offers at the moment. Audiences around the world react to it with an enthusiasm bordering on euphoria. Martin is able to convey an overwhelming sense of being taken closer to the music’s essence and has found ways of expressing that which are quite unique in our business. He has already built a remarkable discography and we are very proud that he has chosen to continue it on Sony Classical.”
Martin Fröst comments: “I am absolutely delighted to be joining such an important and iconic label as Sony Classical and feel honoured to be signing as an exclusive artist at a time which also marks the beginning of a new and exciting period for me musically. Our first collaboration will form a part of my new multi-year project “Genesis”, a project that I will be performing with a number of orchestras around the world and that will focus on the sources of classical music and the exploration of how we can open new doors into the future. I am really excited about sharing our ideas and working together on what I hope will be new, innovative and creative projects.”
Photo © Mats Bäcker
As London audiences gear up for his Wigmore Hall Residency, both the BBC Music Magazine and Gramophone published in-depth interviews with Martin and paid tribute to his new recording of the Brahms’ chamber music which Gramophone singled out for an Editor’s Choice:
“Sensuous beauty and taut sinew mingle for an interpretation from five soloists whose fastidious attention to internal balance and every musical detail result in sovereign excellence, in a sovereign recording …. Fröst’s control of instrumental color is superfine, intensity of phrases shaped through swell and diminution of sound, timbres voiced to express the character of words in the transcribed songs.”
“The clarinet rises from the opening bars of the Quintet like woodsmoke.“
BBC Music Magazine
There was no less praise from Brahms’ native Germany:
“From the first to the last note this is an amazing Brahms recording – with perhaps the best clarinetist in the world today.”
NDR Radio, CD of the Week
“Rarely is Johannes Brahms’ late Clarinet Quintet heard with such exquisite shading, performed by five of the leading performers of their instruments. In particular, a finer, more balanced, intimate performance than Martin Fröst’s is hard to find.“
The recording was also chosen as CD of the Week by BBC Radio 3 (UK), France Musique (France), ABC Radio (Australia), Der Telegraaf and AVRO (The Netherlands) Dags Avisen (Norway), Dagens Nyheter and Svenska Dagbladet (Sweden).
In addition to appearances with orchestras such as the Leipzig Gewandhaus, Zürich Tonhalle Orchestra and Radio Suisse Romande this season, Martin will embark on a number of exciting multi concert residencies in London, Amsterdam, Gothenburg and Cincinnati. These residencies will enable Martin to appear in programmes both as soloist, conductor and chamber musician and to present his much praised concept “Dollhouse” to new audiences.
Martin returned to New York last month, launching the new season with two concerts at the Mostly Mozart Festival. The New York Times welcomed him back, previewing his appearance as the “stupendous Swedish clarinettist” and following with a review which opened “In earlier times, the talent of Martin Frost would have attracted suspicion. Like that of Paganini… there is something approaching the supernatural about his command of his instrument”.
New York did not leave it at that. Whilst in the big apple the International New York Times met up with Martin to interview him about the new season and talk about upcoming projects, including performances of “Dollhouse” and a major new project entitled “Genesis” which is currently in the making: “Few performers on any instrument have earned a reputation for virtuosity and seductive tone comparable to that enjoyed by Mr. Frost for more than a decade … And Mr. Frost can be expected to champion the clarinet’s repertoire of concertos and chamber works for many years to come — a repertoire he has helped to enlarge through numerous commissions.”
On Saturday 10 May, Martin Fröst became the first clarinetist and third Swede to receive the Léonie Sonning Music Prize in Copenhagen.
First awarded in 1959, winners of one of the most prestigious prizes in classical music have included Igor Stravinsky, Leonard Bernstein, Birgit Nilsson, Dmitri Shostakovich, Per Nørgård, Sviatoslav Richter, Cecilia Bartoli and Simon Rattle.
In the spirit of the annual award Martin Fröst participated in a week’s programme of music making in both Copenhagen and Aarhus where he gave chamber music concerts and master-classes before joining the Danish National Symphony Orchestra and conductor Thomas Søndergårdon on Saturday night at the Copenhagen Konserthus for a further full programme of music before being presented with the DK 600 000 prize.
In giving the prize the jury paid tribute to Fröst’s “sublimely musical interpretations of both the classical and modern repertoire for his instrument. With his superb musicianship, Martin Fröst has inspired a large number of contemporary composers to create innovative works for the clarinet. By virtue of a quite exceptional stage presence in which auditory and visual impressions are united in a wonderful way, Martin Fröst has shown himself to be one of the most visionary musical artists of our time.”
Reviewing Saturday night’s prize concert in Copenhagen Berlingske national paper commented: “Martin Fröst is 43 years old and one of the eight wonders of the world on the clarinet … And when he delivers a two hour show in this manner at the Concert Hall on Saturday evening, yes: he is the obvious recipient of the Léonie Sonning Music Prize … Fröst plays with a unique feeling for the present. Soulful in the slow parts and unbelievably virtuosic in the quick parts. Marvellous, simply matchless. He embraces it all and masters almost everything.
“Even the marble values of Mozart (Clarinet Concerto) are communicated to everyone and he receives the first of four standing ovations. He underplays the main melodies and gives the smaller strands all the more space, a new embellishment here, a surprising interlude there. The whole fantastic focus on the magic of the moment takes your breath away.”
Politiken agreed: “Nothing at the Sonning prize concert was left to chance. This is a musician with very high and rare demands for intensity, precision and luxury in every single note …
“Raise your hats, ladies and gentlemen, to the clarinet genius of our time.”
Photo © Nikolaj Lund / Léonie Sonning Music Prize
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.
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.
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.“
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.”
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.
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.”
Göran Fröst – Klezmer Dances
Göran Fröst – D-tangled
Manuel de Falla – Nana
Bent Sørensen – Doll steps in Venice
Paul Dukas – The Sorcerer’s Apprentice
Igor Stravinsky – Pulcinella Suite
Anders Hillborg – Peacock Tales
BOOK TICKETS: Stockholm Concert Hall
AUGUST, VERBIER, Hillborg concerto, Verbier Festival C O / Harding
AUGUST, STAVANGER Dollhouse at Stavanger International Chamber Music Festival
SEPTEMBER, OSLO, Dollhouse, Norwegian Chamber Orchestra
OCTOBER, STOCKHOLM, Dollhouse, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra
NOVEMBER, LEIPZIG, Mozart concerto, Gewandhaus Orchestra / Norrington
NOVEMBER, SYDNEY, Mozart concerto, Australian Chamber Orchestra
DECEMBER, NEW YORK, Mozart concerto, Carnegie Hall, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra
DECEMBER, BERLIN, Mozart concerto, Philharmonie Berlin, RSB / Skrowaczewski
JANUARY, PARIS, Copland concerto, Orchestre National de France / Zinman
JANUARY, AMSTERDAM, Hillborg concerto, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
FEBRUARY, LONDON, Wigmore Hall, Project with Hamelin and Marwood
MARCH, DETROIT, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, cond. by Martin Fröst
APRIL, WASHINGTON, Aho concerto, Washington National S O
MAY, BOSTON, Project with Hamelin and Marwood
MAY, SAN FRANCISCO, Project with Hamelin and Marwood
JUNE,VIENNA, Mozart concerto, Konzerthaus | Bamberg S O
”But the spotlight that night was on woodwind. Partnered with the Elias String Quartet, Fröst was consistently mesmerising in Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet, his tone silky and seamless, every note meaningful.”
– The Guardian, 20 May 2013, Erica Jeal
”Martin Fröst played – and rarely has the cliché been so appropriate – the stars out of the sky! The performance of Brahms Hungarian Dances even surpassed the version on his latest CD, Dances to a Black Pipe (…) It is almost as if the clarinet, like a conductor´s baton, conjures the tree tall, skinny body of this musician as a snake.”
”We all knew that the clarinet is a smart and adaptable wood wind instrument but as Martin Fröst plays the instrument, even more dimensions unfold (…) In the Clarinet Concerto by Aaron Copland, Fröst could show off his qualities, an intensely singing tone and a fabulous agility (…) Already last year in the Concertgebouw, he let us hear how totally at home he is in this sublime Eastern European swing with matching acrobatics and intentional scratch sounds. This time it was even more engaging because of his continuous interaction with the musicians of the Sinfonietta.”
– De Volksrant, Amsterdam, Frits van der Waa
”With his very personal tone, his exact playing, with musicality and inventiveness, he was convincing all the way through (…) Fröst gave an impressive demonstration that “slowly and expressively” by no means has to lead to “kitsch”. In the Hungarian Dances by Brahms, arranged by his brother Göran Fröst, he found a perfect balance between the rustic and the elegant.”
– Hannoversche Allgemeine, 23 April 2013, Reiner Wagner
”Martin Fröst is considered the “Paganini of the Clarinet” (…) He moved flowingly and with an indescribable lightness between demanding technical effects and melodic expression. The clarinet resounded as an enormously versatile instrument. It enchanted seductively and whispered tenderly, it chirped happily, howled, screamed and nagged, swayed dancingly over the floor and, with almost inaudible tones, built up a fascinating tension (…) The “Klezmer Dances for Clarinet and String Orchestra”, arranged by Göran Fröst, evoked passion and joy of living. They enticed the audience to erupt in storms of enthusiastic acclamation.”
– Mittelbayerische Zeitung, 25 April 2013, Michael J David
“Enchantingly beautiful, expressive sounds
[Fröst] loves to reach out over the limits of the music; he dances, conducts and tests the limits of possibilities on the modern concert stage. on Coplan´s Clarinet Concerto……. celebrates the big and wide American soul and landscape. Fröst evokes all this in the widely spanned lines of his clarinet. The clarinet magic of the cadenza was followed by fulminantly rhythmical music: a refined “Oklahoma”, a soloistic firework.”
– Neumarkter Nachrichten 25 May 2013, Uwe Mitsching
Martin Fröst embarks on a major tour of Europe with the Amsterdam Sinfonietta, performing Copland’s Clarinet Concerto, Weber’s Clarinet Concerto No.1, and a selection of Brahms’ Hungarian Dances, in an arrangement for clarinet and string orchestra. The tour begins on 18 April in the Netherlands, and continues to Baden-Baden (19), Hannover (20), Berlin (21), Neumarkt (23), Maribor, Slovenia (24), and Brunico, Italy (26), ending in Amsterdam on 1 May.
Later in May, Martin appears at London’s Southbank Centre, as part of a weekend of music celebrating the Borletti-Buitoni Trust 10th anniversary; Martin was one of the very first recipients of this award, which he used to commission a concerto from Kalevi Aho. Highlights of the weekend include Brahms’ Clarinet Quintet with the Elias Quartet on 17 May and an informal late-night concert, Martin Fröst and Friends, on 18 May. Further upcoming season highlights for Martin include appearances at the Grant Park Festival in Chicago and at the Verbier Festival.
“impressive demonstration of his wide-ranging virtuosity and musical souplesse.”
At the Gala Concert of the 2013 International Classical Music Awards, Martin Frösts recording Dance to a Black Pipe was singled out as “Concerto Disc of the Year”. At the ceremony, which was held in Milan on the 17 March, Martin´s playing was praised in the jury’s citation as follows:
In these outstanding performances the Swedish clarinet player Martin Fröst offers another impressive demonstration of his wide-ranging virtuosity and musical souplesse. He builds around the Copland Clarinet Concerto an unusual programme of works related to dance: Klezmer, Tango, Hungarian dances by Brahms, but also contemporary dances by Lutoslawski and Fröst’s compatriots Hillborg and Högberg.
On ‘Dances to a Black Pipe’ Martin Fröst appears with Australian Chamber Orchestra and the orchestra’s leader and artistic director Richard Tognetti.
Martin among the legends – Fröst to receive the 2014 Sonning Music Prize
The clarinettist Martin Fröst has been announced as the next recipient of the Léonie Sonning Music Prize, one of the oldest and most prestigious music awards in the world. Since 1959, the Danish Sonning Music Prize has been presented to the leading musical personalities of their day, including Igor Stravinsky, Leonard Bernstein, Dmitri Shostakovich, Mstislav Rostropovich, Miles Davis, Alfred Brendel, Keith Jarrett and Isaac Stern. Martin Fröst is, besides Birgit Nilsson (1966) and Eric Ericson (1991), the only Swede to receive this international award. The most recent recipient of the Léonie Sonning Music Prize is Sir Simon Rattle, who is the prize winner for 2013 and received his award in Copenhagen last weekend.
For Martin Fröst to be admitted in this manner to the company of some of the foremost figures in music during the past fifty years is a tremendous honour, and also a recognition of his unique artistry and pioneering musical activities.
To receive this award is a tremendous honour, and I feel humbled and privileged to be admitted into such an illustrious company of musicians. – Martin Fröst
The Léonie Sonning Music Prize consists of the sum of 80.000 Euro, and will be presented at a gala concert in Copenhagen during the spring of 2014. In their deliberations, the directors of the Léonie Sonning Music Foundation are charged with the task of selecting a candidate who ranks among the best in his or her field and is likely to remain so in the future.
Read more about The Sonning Music Prize sonningmusik.dk
Martin Fröst and the Australian Chamber Orchestra, whose imaginative disc Dances to a Black Pipe has been named Concerto Disc of the year by the International Classical Music Awards, ICMA. The programme of the disc takes in composers as diverse as Copland, Brahms, Piazzolla and Anders Hillborg – a wide-ranging selection of works which are all related to dance. Fröst chose to record these pieces with the incomparable Australian Chamber Orchestra, described by the Washington Post as combining ‘the energy and vibe of a rock band with the ability of a crack classical chamber group.’
The ICMA awards ceremony will be held in Milan, Italy, on 18 March, an event which also includes a gala concert broadcast through the European Broadcasting Union (EBU).
Martin Fröst gave 3 sold out performances in the Grosse Festspielhaus in Salzburg together with Andrew Manzie and the Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra. The two performances of Mozart´s Clarinet Concerto and one of Rolf Martinsson´s Concert Fantastique were all received with enthusiasm and standing ovations by the mesmerized audience and when the wild acclaim after the klezmer encores was rewarded with a heart rendering of the first Prelude by Bach,
Salzburger Nachrichtens Karl Harb wrote:
“In his interaction with the orchestra, Fröst seems to be physically present in each phrase. His somewhat cool interpretation is however built up and blown in exquisite beauty, clear, soulful and supplied with fine dynamic facets.”
Martin Fröst showed that he can break loose in a charming kletzmer encore. There his instrument became a character role and one could imagine why the Swedish clarinettist is treasured not only as a brilliant dialogue partner in chamber music by the most famous colleagues but also as commissioner of new works. As an ambassador for new Swedish music, his virtuosity makes almost anything possible. He fills it with clear attack, a caressing, blossoming tone which fades away into almost soundless piano which is also joyful and brightly attacking and with a playing technique of seemingly endless bravura.
Martin opens the 2013 with a festive and brilliant 12th Night Gala Concert in Stockholm´s Berwald Hall, together with Anne Sofie von Otter and the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra. Two sold out houses with an enthusiastic audience enjoyed the colourful programme which the critic of the DN newspaper, Johanna Paulsson described as follows:
“Genuinly musical! Von Otter and Fröst shine and entertain.”
“Just like the other Swedish world class soloist of the evening, clarinettist Martin Fröst, (who also turns out to be an excellent conferencier) ..has the ability to both impress and entertain without a lot of fuss. And even if Martin Fröst now appoints himself as the evenings “opening artist” he is of course far from “the cowboy who rides alongside”. Rather the obvious shining star, whether he invites to kletzmer dancing or transforms the Radio Symphony Orchestra led by the dynamic Enrique Mazzola into a jazzy Big Band in the short but effective clarinet concerto by Artie Shaw”