biography english long

Benjamin Staern (b. 1978) has established himself as one of the leading Scandinavian composers of the younger generation and the music is performed in Scandinavia, Europe, USA, Canada, Russia and Japan. Early musical experiences with studies in cello, piano and percussion in his youth. Studied musicology at Lund University and subsequently composition at the Malmö Academy of Music during 1998-2005 with professors Rolf Martinsson, Hans Gefors and Luca Francesconi.


Staern has a deeply personal style with an output including orchestral, chamber works, solo pieces, electroacoustic music and opera stages. An interesting aspect of his work as a composer is his unusual ability to associate tones and timbres with different colours and tints. This is a variant of a phenomenon called synaesthesia which is fundamental in his perception and the creation that reflects his sound world as well as in many of his work titles (Yellow Skies, Colour Wandering etc.) Following the success as ”composer in profile” of Båstad Chamber Music Festival 2016, the first opera The Snow Queen, based on a fairytale by H.C Andersen, was staged at the Malmö Opera in December 2016.  It was a huge success, with sold-out performances, and it received rave reviews. It was followed in 2017 by The Princess’ Tale,  a companion piece to Stravinsky’s The Soldier’s Tale premiered at the Malmö Chamber Music Festival.



He was composer-in-residence with New European Ensemble 2010-14 on invitation from artistic leader and conductor Christian Karlsen that resulted into works like Tranströmersånger (selected poems from the Sad Gondola – collection by Nobel-prize author and poet Tomas Tranströmer), Bells and Waves (Chamber Symphony) winner of the SMFF Award 2011 in the category ”most important work in chamber music/smaller ensemble” and a multimedia work SAIYAH in collaboration with Yoko Seyama for large ensemble, electronics and scenografic light sculpture at Norrlandsoperan for the MADE-festival in Umeå during Cultural Capital of the Year 2014. Worried Souls (Clarinet Concerto) was awarded the Large Christ Johnson Prize (Stora Christ Johnson-priset) from the Royal Swedish Music Academy (Kungliga Musikaliska Akademien). Staern composed a chamber opera about HILMA: an opera about hidden art (libretto: Mira Bartov), that was performed at Modern Museum in Stockholm and at the Guggenheim Museum of Modern Art in New York.



Orchestral collaborations
MDR Sinfonieorchester Leipzig, Bamberger Symphoniker, Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, Staatsorchester Rheinische Philharmonie, Duisburger Philharmoniker, Tokyo SO, BBC Scottish SO, Iceland SO, Helsinki Philharmonic, Kungliga Filharmonikerna, Sveriges Radios SO, Göteborgs SO, Malmö SO, Norrköping SO, Malmö Operaorkester, Jönköping Sinfonietta, Svenska Kammarorkestern etc.




Chamber ensembles
New European Ensemble, Norrbotten NEO, Sonanza, Gageego, Ensemble Aspekte and Stockholm Chamber Brass.




Håkan Hardenberger, Anna Larsson, Camilla Hoitenga, 

Johannes Möller, Karin Dornbusch, Carina Vinke, Hannah Holgersson, Filip Draglund, David Huang, Jacob Kellermann, Daniel Migdal, 

Gitta-Maria Sjöberg, Philippe Cassard, Eke Simons, Lauma Skride.




Sakari Oramo, Leif Segerstam, Daniel Raiskin, Marc Soustrot, 

Stefan Solyom,  Tobias Ringborg, Golo Berg, Alexander Steinitz, 

Christian Karlsen, Nazanin Aghakhani, Cathrine Winnes, Mats Rondin, 

Mika Eichenholz.