Biography

Benjamin Staern (b. 1978) has established himself as one of the leading younger composers in native Sweden and internationally. 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. Made an early breakthrough, while still a student with the symphonic work The Threat of War. From this point on, Staern has developed a deeply personal style with an output including orchestral and chamber works, solo pieces and electroacoustic music. 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 reflectes 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 family opera Snow Queen based on a fairytale by H.C Andersen and commissioned by Malmö Opera were premiered to sold-out performances. Then also festival composer during Malmö Chamber Music Festival with premieres on works Waves for solo piano and A Princess Tale: companion piece to A Soldier’s Tale (libretto: Mi Tyler). He was composer-in-residence with New European Ensemble 2010-14 and composed works such as Tranströmersånger (selected poems from the Sad Gondola – collection by Nobel-prize author and poet Tomas Tranströmer) and 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 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) by the hands of His Majesty King Carl Gustaf XVI at the annual ceremony on November 26th 2012 at Musikaliska, Stockholm. Another work that has been caught attention lately is HILMA – an opera about hidden art, commissioned by af Klint Musikproduktion with financial support from Swedish Council of Cultural Affairs, Musikverket and Swedish Arts Grants Commitee with performances at Moderna Muséet in Stockholm and Solomon Guggenheim Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Works by Benjamin Staern is today performed not only by all the major Swedish orchestras but also internationally by orchestras such as the MDR Sinfonieorchester, Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, Iceland Symphony Orchestra, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Staatsorchester Rheinische Philharmonie and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. Staern has collaborated with ensembles including New European Ensemble, Sonanza Chamber Ensemble, Ensemble Aspekte and Stockholm Chamber Brass. Soloists include Håkan Hardenberger, Anna Larsson, Johannes Möller, Karin Dornbusch, Carina Vinke, Gitta-Maria Sjöberg, Philippe Cassard and conductors Michael Christie, Daniel Raiskin, Marc Soustrot, Tobias Ringborg, Leif Segerstam, Cathrine Winnes, Christian Karlsen, Nazanin Aghakhani, Mats Rondin, Mika Eichenholz och Stefan Solyom.


Staern’s music is published by Gehrmans Musikförlag AB, Stockholm.

© November 2019 – Please kindly destroy previous material older than three months.