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Stefan Östersjö

Associate Professor of Artistic Research in Music

Dr. Stefan Östersjö is a leading classical guitarist. Since his debut CD (Swedish Grammy in 1997) he has recorded extensively and toured Europe, the US and Asia. His special fields of interest are interaction with electronics, experiments with stringed instruments other than the classical guitar and collaborative practices, also between different cultures. As a soloist he has cooperated with conductors such as Lothar Zagrosek, Peter Eötvös, Pierre André Valade, Mario Venzago, Franck Ollu and Andrew Manze. In 2009 he became a research fellow at the Orpheus Institute in Ghent. He is currently associate professor of artistic research in music at the Malmö Academy of Music.

1992-ongoing Guitarist, freelance performer, active internationally as soloist in festivals, with orchestras and in chamber ensembles. Since his debut CD (Swedish Grammy in 1997) Östersjö has recorded extensively and toured Europe, the US and Asia. Two special fields of interest are the interaction with electronics, and experimental work with different kinds of stringed instruments other than the classical guitar. His great interest in chamber music has resulted in the founding of flute, viola and guitar-trio HOT 3 and in collaborations with most chamber ensembles and important soloists in Scandinavia such as Jonny Axelsson, Geir Draugsvoll, KammarensembleN and Ensemble Gageego. Östersjö is frequently invited to give lectures and master classes at universities, festivals and academic conferences. He has a long-standing collaborative practice with leading composers around the world and has recorded the solo guitar music of Elliott Carter, Tristan Murail, James Dillon a.o. and often developing into longitudinal projects with recurring new commissions throughout the years, for instance with Per Nørgård (DK), Richard Karpen (US), Kent Olofsson (SWE), Christer Lindwall (SWE). Since 2005 he has also been engaged in a series of projects with the objective of merging western art music with extra-European traditions, most notably in the Swedish-Vietnamese group The Six Tones, with master musicians Ngo Tra My and Nguyen Thanh Thuy. As a soloist he has cooperated with conductors such as Lothar Zagrosek, Peter Eötvös, Pierre André Valade, Mario Venzago, Franck Ollu, Andrew Manze and Tuomas Ollila. He has recorded extensively for the Swedish National Radio and for radio and TV-stations around the world.

1995-2014 artistic director of Ensemble Ars Nova, a leading Swedish ensemble for contemporary art music and a platform for many cross-disciplinary projects with choreographers, music theatre and film, e.g. the longstanding collaboration between Ensemble Ars Nova and teatr Weimar in the SONAT (Sonic Arts Theatre) project series initiated by Östersjö in 2008. As a director of the ensemble, Östersjö also initiated two exchange projects that led to the creation of Dom Dom a center for new music in Hanoi headed by the Vietnamese composer Kim Ngoc Tran Thi with support from SIDA (Swedish Internation Developmen Cooperation Agency) and brought the ensemble into a large scale collaborative project with ensembles, research centers and studios around Europe with support from Culture 2000 and Culture 2007 titled Integra

Performances (selection) - soloist at Stockholm New Music Festival 1999, 2001, 2003 - Soloist with the symphony orchestra of the Bayerische Rundfunk/Lothar Zagrosek, 2004 - soloist in the Sonorities festival, Belfast (2006) - Soloist at the MusicAcoustica Festival Beijing (2006) - soloist with the Lithuanian State Orchestra/Peter Eötvös at the World New Music Days in Vilnius 2008 - soloist with the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra (many times, 2005 with Mario Venzago, in 2012 with Andrew Manze) - soloist with the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra/Franck Ollu, 2008 - soloist at Warsaw Autumn festival (1998, 2001, 2009, 2010) - featured soloist at the Viitasaari festival (five productions in 2009) - Soloist at the NYYD Festival, Estonia 2009 - invited as sound artist creating music to Isaac Julien’s film Better Life at the Gothenburg Arts Biennial 2011 - Soloist (four productions) at the Hanoi New Music Festival 2013 - In March 2014 Östersjö premiered Nam Mai, a new work for three soloists, film and orchestra with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra and his group The Six Tones, due for release on DVD in 2017.

2014 Arrival Cities: Hanoi. a collaborative music theatre and documentary film project with Jörgen Dahlqvist, Kent Olofsson and The Six Tones. Premiere at Tacit or Loud, Nov 2014.
2014 Drain Drones & Whistling Wind, for electric guitar and spatialised electronic sound. Premiered in Newcastle, Feb 2014.
2014 Paths and Traces, collaborative ecological sound art, with Bennett Hogg, Sabine Vogel and Matthew Sansom. Premiered at the PUSH Festival Gävle March 2014.
2013 Go To Hell, collaborative installation with The Six Tones, Marie Fahlin, Henrik Frisk, Gerhard Eckel. Premiere at the R1 Reactor, Oct 2013.
2013 Seven Stories, a collaborative dance film project with Jörgen Dahlqvist, Marie Fahlin, Richard Karpen and The Six Tones.
2013 Devil’s Water, ecologic sound art, with Bennett Hogg. 6-channel audio installation.
2012 Inside/Outside. Performance/Installation in collaboration with choreographer Marie Fahlin, Matt Wright and The Six Tones.
2011 Music for Better Life (med Henrik Frisk), music for a film by Isaac Julien, commissioned by the Gothenburg Arts Biennial.
2010-2011 Idioms. An experimental music theatre piece, in collaboration with composer Richard Karpen, playwright Jörgen Dahlqvist, actors from Vietnam, USA and Sweden, and The Six Tones.
2004-2011 Spår av glömska (with Ole Lützow-Holm), collaborative composition for alto guitar and electronic sound.

2014 Inside/Outside, with Nguyen Thanh Thuy, Ngo Tra My, Matt Wright, Marie Fahlin, Maria Norrman, video installation, Världskulturmuseet, Göteborg
2013 Que/Homelands, with Matthew Sansom and Nguyen Thanh Thuy, ecological sound art and video installation, Manzi Art Space, Hanoi, also exhibited at the Embassy Tea Gallery, Sea Arts Festival, London 2014

Research projects 2009-2011 (re)thinking improvisation: Funded by the Swedish Research Council. (re)thinking improvisation was characterized by multiple methodologies and international perspectives in the production of (artistic) research on improvisation in different cultures. The heart of the project was the artistic research of performers in Vietnam and Sweden but the perspective stretches to music from three continents. By questioning traditional hierarchies such as those between notated and improvised musics in the context of the liturgy and in Western art music of the present day, (re)thinking improvisation has provided results that point to different conceptions of interactions with audiences and between musicians. Stefan Östersjö and Henrik Frisk edited the book, CD- and DVD publication which was the final outcome of the project. While my thesis was concerned with the development of new performance practices in the collaboration between composer and performer, (re)thinking improvisation was a way of looking into other aspects of my own artistic practice, towards a more in depth understanding of how musical meaning can be negotiated in intercultural exchange again using qualitiative research method to create specific interactions between analytical understanding of an emerging artistic practice.

2009- ongoing: (PI) a series of projects related to musicians listening and the development of contemporary performance practice at the Orpheus Institute, Belgium. Several book chapters are forthcoming in a new publication. The CD titled Strandlines (dB Productions 2010) was a direct artistic output from the first project on musician’s listening at the institute. Forthcoming is also a monography on musicians’ listening on Leuven Univ Press consisting of a book and a DVD.

2012-2015 Music in Movement: (PI) Östersjö’s main research focus after the years with (re) thinking Improvisation has been as PI of the international artistic research project "Music in Movement", supported by the Swedish Research Council. The project has brought choreographers, composers and musicians together in an exploration of a multimodal understanding of musical composition in a series of multi-media works for choreograhed musicans. Music in Movement was concieved of as a multi-disciplinary exploration of musical gesture. However, the core concepts that the project is concerned with are artistic and it seeks to develop an artistic method that merges choreography and musical composition.

2013-14 Landscape Quartet: funded by AHRC. This artistic research project brings together four musicians from the UK, Berlin and Sweden in an exploration of ecological sound art. The project is headed by Newcastle University in collaboration with Univ of Surrey and the Malmö Academy of Music. The artistic practice in the project was organized as a series of residencies in Northumbria and in Sweden. One of the written outputs is a thematic issue on music and landscape in Contemporary Music Review (2016). A collaborative composition with Bennett Hogg and Merrie Snell will be released on DVD on Leuven University Press in 2017.

2010- ongoing Creative strategies in composer/performer collaboration: a collaborative artistic research project together with the British composer David Gorton. The first part of the project was carried out within the frame of CMPCP, a major research cluster within Music psychology and musicology in the UK. Collaborator: prof Eric Clarke, Univ. of Oxford. The first written output of this work is a joint book chapter with Clarke & Gorton (in press). This project is the one that emerges most directly from the research into collaborative practices which was a core element in my thesis. The second study was initiated as a piece of research on subjectivity in musical performance within a new cluster at the Orpheus Institute. The research focusses on how the movements of a performer can    provide data for such an enquiry and involves two researchers from the institute for systematic musicology in Ghent (IPEM), a collaboration which has allowed us to carry out a study with a multi-layered analysis of both quantitative data from motion capture and qualitative data from video analysis building on stimulated recall. In addition to CD-recordings (the first of them due to appear on a forthcoming solo CD with British works for 10-string guitar), and several journal articles, Gorton and Östersjö will summarize the study in a forthcoming edited book at the Orpheus Institute. A joint paper by Gorton and Östersjö for Contemporary Music Review is currently in press.

CD recordings

Östersjö, S Stefan Östersjö (1997), (works by Dillon, Carter, Murail a.o.) dB Productions, Malmö, recieved a Swedish "Grammy Award" in the category of "Best Classical Album" in 1998.

Kent Olofsson: Il Liuto d'Orfeo (1999) (Östersjö, S. soloist), GMEB, Bourges and dB Productions, Malmö (two different releases of the same recording)

Östersjö, S. Impossible Guitar Parts (2001) dB Productions, Malmö

Ed, F: Leash (2002) (guitar solo, Östersjö, S) dB Productions, Malmö

Östersjö, S. JS Bach lute suites (2003), dB Productions, Malmö

Östersjö, S: Trio con Forza (2003), works for flute, viola and guitar, Phono Suecia, Stockholm

Östersjö, S. Play Time (2004) works for guitar and electronics, dB Productions, Malmö

Östersjö, S.: Rhizome (2005) works for guitar (solo) and chamber ensemble by Christer Lindwall, Phono Suecia, Stockholm

Kent Olofsson: Corde guitar concerto (2008) soloist Stefan Östersjö with the Gothenburg Symphony and Mario Venzago, Phono Suecia, Stockholm

Stefan Östersjö: Tales of the North (2008), the complete works for guitar solo of Per Nørgård, Caprice Records, Stockholm

Östersjö, S & Barrett, N guitars: Black Bile Extempore (2009), Elektron Records, Stockholm

Östersjö, S (2010) Henrik Frisk: “Repetition Repeats all Other Repetitions”, on Spanning, Chamber Sound, Växjö, Sweden

Östersjö, S.: Strandlines (2011), works by Karpen, Frisk, Mangs, Olofsson dB Productions Sweden,

Per Nørgård: Libra (2012), soloist with the Danish Radio Choir, Fredrik Malmberg, conductor, Da Capo, Denmark

Frisk, H & Östersjö, S (Eds): (re)thinking Improvisation: artistic explorations and conceptual writing (2013), Lund University press (including two audio CDs and a DVD in addition to the printed book)

The Six Tones: Signal in Noise (2013), dB Productions, Sweden (nominated for the Nutida Sound award 2014)

The Six Tones, Jakob Riis, Stefano Giust a.o: Being Together (2015). Settola Maiale, Rome.

Jodlowski, P: Post Human Computation (2015) for elecric guitar, video and electronics. Stefan Östersjö, electric guitar. DVD. Éole, Toulose

List of selected publications

Crispin, D. & Östersjö, S. (Forthcoming in 2017) ”Modes of Expression” in Musicians in the Making: Pathways to Creative Performance edited by John Rink, Helena Gaunt and Aaron Williamon New York: Oxford University Press

Clarke, E., Doffman, M., Gorton, D., & Östersjö, S. (in press). Fluid practices, solid roles? The evolution of Forlorn Hope. In E. Clarke & M. Doffman (Eds.), Creativity, Improvisation and Collaboration: Perspectives on the Performance of Contemporary Music. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Gorton, D. & Östersjö, S. (in press) Choose your own adventure music: on the emergence of voice in musical collaboration in Contemporary Music Review, London, Routledge

Östersjö, S. (2016). ”Thinking-through-Music: On Knowledge Production, Materiality, and Embodiment in Artistic Research.” in Artistic Research in Music: Discipline and Resistance edited by Jonathan Impett. Leuven: Leuven University Press

Östersjö, S. & Nguyen, T. (2016). ”The sounds of Hanoi and the after-image of the homeland.” Journal of Sonic Studies 12.

Östersjö, S (2016). ”Go To Hell: towards a gesture-based compositional practice” in Contemporary Music Review, London, Routledge

Östersjö, S. & Hogg, B. (2016). ”‘Patterns of Ecological and Aesthetic Co-evolution’: Tree-guitars, River-violins and the Ecology of Listening” in Contemporary Music Review, London, Routledge

Coorevits, E., Moelants, D., Östersjö, S., & Gorton, D. (2015). Decomposing a Composition: On the Multi-layered Analysis of Expressive Music Performance. In M. Aramaki, R. Kronland-Martinet, & S Ystad (Eds.) Proceedings of the 11th International Symposium on Computer Music Multidisciplinary Research (pp. 171-189). Marseille: The Laboratory of Mechanics and Acoustics.

Coessens, K. & Östersjö, S. (2014). ”Kairos in the Flow of Musical Intuition.” In. D. Crispin & B. Gilmore (Eds.), Artistic experimentation in music: an anthology (pp. 323-332). Leuven: Leuven University Press.

Coessens, K. & Östersjö, S. (2014). Habitus and the Resistance of Culture. In. D. Crispin & B. Gilmore (Eds.), Artistic experimentation in music: an anthology (pp. 333-348). Leuven: Leuven University Press.

Coessens, K., Frisk, H., & Östersjö, S. (2014). Repetition, Resonance, and Discernment. In. D. Crispin & B. Gilmore (Eds.), Artistic experimentation in music: an anthology (pp. 349-364). Leuven: Leuven University Press.
Coessens, K. & Östersjö, S. (2014). ”Intuition, Hexis and Resistance in Musical Creativity.” In. D. Crispin & B. Gilmore (Eds.), Artistic experimentation in music: an anthology (pp. 365-372). Leuven: Leuven University Press.

Östersjö S & Nguyen, T: (2013) “Traditions in transformation: the function of openness in the interaction between musicians” in Frisk, H & Östersjö, S (Eds) (re)thinking Improvisation: artistic explorations and conceptual writing , Lund University Press

Östersjö S & Nguyen, T (2013) Inside/Outside: towards an expanded notion of musical gesture in Dance, Music and the Moving-thinking Body, (Myers & Glieca, Eds), Cambridge Scholars Publishing)

Frisk, H & Östersjö, S: ”Beyond Validity” (2013), Svensk Tidskrift för Musikforskning, Stockholm

Frisk, H & Östersjö, S (Eds): (re)thinking Improvisation: artistic explorations and conceptual writing (2013), Lund University press

Östersjö, S (2013) The resistance of the Turkish Makam and the Habitus of the performer. Contemporary Music Review, Vol 32, Issue 1, 2013, London, Routledge

Östersjö, S. (2008). SHUT UP 'N' PLAY! Negotiating the musical work. PhD thesis. Malmö: Lund University.


Retrieved from Lund University's publications database



Retrieved from Lund University's publications database


Other contributions

  • 2014
    • Praxis

      Linda Ritzén, Johan Jönsson, Jörgen Dahlqvist


      Artistic work
  • 1997


Retrieved from Lund University's publications database


Other contributions

Page Manager:
Stefan Östersjö
E-mail: stefan [dot] ostersjo [at] mhm [dot] lu [dot] se

Senior lecturer

Teachers (Malmö Academy of Music)

+46 40 32 54 20

Associate senior lecturer

Teachers (Malmö Academy of Music)

+46 40 32 54 20