Bengt Hambraeus

Bengt Hambraeus, composer, organist, musicologist (b at Stockholm, Sweden 29 Jan 1928; d at Apple Hill, Ont 21 Sept 2000).

Bengt Hambraeus, composer, organist, musicologist (b at Stockholm, Sweden 29 Jan 1928; d at Apple Hill, Ont 21 Sept 2000). After studies with organist Alf Linder (1944-48) and musicologist Carl-Allan Moberg (1947-56) and attendance at the Darmstadt summer courses (1951-55), he received a doctorate in musicology from Uppsala University in 1956. He joined the Music Department of the Swedish Broadcasting Corp in 1957, eventually becoming head of production, and joined McGill University's Faculty of Music in 1972. Internationally recognized as a composer, organist, scholar and lecturer, he was awarded Sweden's highest honours, the Royal Medal "Litteris et Artibus," in 1986 and the Swedish Tribute in 1996.

Hambraeus's music - stimulated by his catholic studies of early music, acoustics, electronic studio techniques and non-Western and avant-garde music, and often informed by his deep religious beliefs - displays a penchant for timbre explorations (especially bell sounds) and collage/quotation effects. His more than 100 compositions are often grouped into "families" of conceptually similar pieces. These include the "Transit,""Rota" and "Constellations" series and also his sizeable bodies of music for organ, for choir, and for electroacoustics, as well as pieces influenced by World Music. Some of his major works include the orchestral pieces Transfiguration (1963), Rencontres (1971), Ricordanza (1976) and Concerto for Piano and Orchestra (1992); Nocturnals (1990) and Sonata per cinque (1995) for chamber ensemble; the electroacoustic pieces Fresque sonore (1967), Tides (1974), Intrada "Calls" (1975), Tornado (1976) and Mirrors (1987); the radio opera Sagan (1979) and opera L'Oui-dire (1986); the choral trilogy Constellations V (1983), Symphonica Sacra in Tempore Passionis (1986) and Apocalipsis (1987); and the organ works Five Organ Pieces (1969-76), Continuo-a partire de Pachelbel (1975), Livre d'orgue (1981), Variations sur un thème de Gilles Vigneault (1984) and Tryptyque pour orgue, avec MIDI (1994).