Staffan Storm (1964 in Karlskrona) is a composer and professor of music theory and composition at the Academy of Music in Malmö. Since 2020, he is a member of the Swedish Royal Academy of Music.
He has studied musicology and history at Lund University. Between 1986–1992 he studied composition and music theory at the Academy of Music in Malmö. He has also participated in various composition courses, of which the ones at the Center Acanthes in Avignon, France and the Holiday Courses for New Music in Darmstadt, Germany should be mentioned above all.
Staffan Storm's music has been performed at a number of Swedish as well as international festivals. Here, for example, the Gaudesmus Festival, Amsterdam and the Holiday Courses for new music in Darmstadt can be mentioned. The chamber ensemble piece "Quaestio temporis" received attention with a performance by the Italian Radio Chamber Ensemble under the direction of Marco Angius at the Venice Biennale in 2011.
Staffan Storm has a rich and varied list of works behind him, which includes everything from solo and chamber music to orchestral works and opera. In recent years, vocal music has assumed a central role in his production.
Storm has a close and dynamic collaboration with the musicians who perform his compositions and has composed music for several of Sweden's leading musicians such as the saxophonist Anders Paulsson, conductors Fredrik Malmberg, Erik Westberg and Daniel Hansson; pianists Francisca Skoogh and Hans Pålsson; organists Anders Johnsson, Hans Fagius, Bengt Tribukait and Carl Adam Landström; and many more.
The collaboration with alto Anna Larsson has resulted in both the song cycle "Hinter des Tages Ende" and the opera "Im Treibhaus" (libretto by Ebba Witt-Brattström).
In 2016, "Three Autumns" for trumpet and piano was written for Håkan Hardenberger, who premiered it in Wigmore Hall:
“Even now I can still taste the zing of the trumpeter Hakan Hardenberger’s virtuosity as he tore into the myriad shouts, flutterings and high-flying cries required for Staffan Storm’s Three Autumns, a 32-minute colossus written for this week’s first edition of Hardenberger’s Malmo Chamber Music festival.” (…) “The Swedish composer’s source is a poem by the towering but gloomy Anna Akhmatova, concluding with the image of a great autumn wind sweeping in death. Yet Hardenberger’s brilliant and nervous kaleidoscope of colours, filtered at times through three different mutes, carried its own artistic joy, as did the tumbling, sometimes quasi-romantic roulades leaping off his recital partner Roland Pöntinen’s piano.
Over the three autumns (one to each movement), emotions and moods ran the gamut from feverish intensity through manifold jitters to a quiet, bluesy calm. Right at the end the trumpeter appeared to knock death for six, although I wouldn’t bet on the condition lasting.”
“…Three Autumns, a work and a performance that made the heart thump and the earth shake.”
(Geoff Brown, The Times, September 21 2016)
In recent years, choral music has had a prominent position in Storm's creation. In collaboration with the Malmö Academic Choir and Orchestra, works such as "Sommarhjärtat är", "Och Skånes somrar ila" and the orchestration of Alma Mahler's "Fünf Gesänge" (publ. Universal Edition) have been performed on tours around the world.
For the Vokalharmonin, the great work "Parabeln von Gestern" for choir and chamber ensemble was composed in the early 2000s, and during the last years "Nachtregen" for viola and choir and "Herbstseele" for percussion and choir has been written for Erik Westberg's Vocal Ensemble.
Eric Ericson's Chamber Choir commissioned and premiered "Schwarze Visionen" for choir and wind orchestra in 2012 and the large a cappella work "Mondesschatten" in 2022. Storm's choral works has also been performed several times by the Swedish Radio Choir. They have also commissioned and premiered the symphonic a cappella work "Nachtschatten" and the Stenhammar adaptations "Långt i försvunna tider".
Several of Storm's works have been awarded prizes:
- "Också dessa dagar signerade" for women's choir and orchestra won the first prize in 2012 at the Nordic composition competition organized by Jyväskylän Naislaulajat. The work was premiered by them in 2013 together with the Jyväskylä Symphony Orchestra and in 2014 by the Vaasa City Orchestra at the opening concert of the International Vaasa Choir Festival 2014.
- In 2016, the large organ work "et lux in tenebris lucet", written for Anders Johnsson, was awarded the Saltö-Järnåker Foundation's grand prize
- In 2019, the string quartet "Nachtseele" received the Swedish Music Publishers' prize.
- “The Persistence of Memory" was awarded the major Christ Johnson Prize in 2021 with the motivation: "Staffan Storm takes the listener on a fantastic musical journey through the large and wide orchestral landscape with his work "The Persistence of Memory". With great craftsmanship, he allows new scenarios to be revealed and merge into each other like a tidal wave in constant motion.”
Staffan Storm's music is also represented on several discs. Here can be mentioned those with piano music written between 1989–2009 performed by Francisca Skoogh and Roland Pöntinen (Daphne Records) and chamber music pieces composed during the time as Composer in Residence at CoMa in Växjö between 2003-06 for the ensemble Tribukait-Pettersson-Berg (Chamber Sound).
The organ trio "Psalmi" for violin, cello and organ, written for Marika Fältskog, violin, Samuli Örnströmer, cello and Anders Johnsson, organ, was recorded by Proprius and the recording for the German label CPO of Storm's instrumentation of Allan Pettersson's early "6 songs" has attracted international attention.
Staffan Storm is also active as a writer and has for several years written music criticism for Sydsvenskan and program texts for the Malmö Symphony Orchestra. He has also had a number of different assignments at institutions, such as the Royal Academy of Music, the Institute of National Concerts, the Artists' Board as well as in the free music scene. Since 2013, he has been chairman of the Sound Environment Center at Lund University. In addition, he is a sought-after teacher and lecturer in various contexts.
Since 1993, Storm has been teaching at the Academy of Music in Malmö since 1993. Currently, subjects such as composition, analysis and theory of form as well as music and society are in focus. In his research, concepts such as "memory - tradition - intuition" are central and often a starting point for his artistic creation.
Between 2006–2011 he was deputy head of the department and 2011-13 head/rector. Since 2013, he has been vice dean at the Faculty of Arts and during the academic year 2014-15 and spring 2021 he was also acting dean.
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