VOCAL ART ENSEMBLE OF SWEDEN
Vocal Art Ensemble of Sweden (former Pro Musica Chamber Choir) has for decades been a powerful voice in the Swedish and international choir community, not least appreciated for its commitment to contemporary music. The choir has, with its conductor Jan Yngwe, toured the better part of Europe, as well as Japan (1989), Cuba (1995), South Africa (1999) and Brazil (2004), in all some thirty international concert tours. Other recent travels include Hong Kong and Guangzhou (2012) and Latvia (2014).
Through the years Vocal Art Ensemble has been awarded several prizes at international choir competitions. With its many recordings and radio and TV appearances, the ensemble has been lauded both domestically and internationally. Among them, its interpretations of choir music written by Russian composer Alfred Schnittke and Frank Martin from Switzerland. The choir has also been engaged on a regular basis for concerts, opera performances and recordings (Deutsche Grammophon) with the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra and the Gothenburg Opera. It also has a long standing collaboration with the very popular Augustifamiljen (a Gothenburg based rock band).
The choir has been awarded mutliple grants from the Swedish state (Kulturrådet) and use those grants to commission new choral music. It has commissioned 6 new choral pieces in the last 3 years. The musical collaboration of Vocal Art Ensemble and Jan Yngwe is based on the conviction of the power and necessity of music in an increasingly technocratic society, a belief in music as an opportunity and a tool to reach a multidimensional and deeper understanding of our existence and of life. For its devoted commitment to the central issues of our time the choir has been acknowledged in both the Swedish Radio (”Veckans artist” in P2) and Swedish Television (”Veckans konsert” in svt 2).
Jan Yngwe, who has been conducting the choir since 1978, has had great success as acomposer and a conductor of choir and orchestra. He studied conducting in London, Salzburg and Siena, and has conducted all the ranking orchestras in Sweden: Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Malmö Symphony Orchestra, etc.
He also works internationally, and is very much in demand as a conductor, inspirer, instructor and lecturer. Jan Yngwe is a professor at the Academy of Music and Drama, Gothenburg University, where he teaches choir and orchestra conducting, choir singing and orchestral playing. He is also the conductor of the Musical College Chamber Choir. His production as a composer (a member of the Society of Swedish Composers, FST, since 1988) is dominated by choir and orchestral music, and through the years, many of the pieces have been dedicated directly to the Pro Musica Chamber Choir/Vocal Art Ensemble.
Jan Yngwe, conductor
In 2004, Jan Yngwe was the recipient of one of the finest awards offered in Swedish choir music, the Johannes Norr by Medal, for “his many years of successful and extremely qualified work as a choir conductor”. In 2015 Jan Yngwe was awarded the prize ”The Swedish Choral conductor of the year”. The citation from the Swedish Choral directors association follows. Jan Yngwe has been leading in Swedish and international choral life for many years, and has long been appreciated for his high level of artistic quality and warm engagement in contemporary music. For decades he has inspired and carefully nurtured generations of choir instructors, choir leaders, church musicians and music teachers. He wants music to be seen as a possibility and help for every one of us to reach a multidimensional and deepened approach to life and living. As he often says: “Choral singing has to be for real, that what we do matters, that it makes an impression”.