Martin Fröst named as SPCO Artistic Partner

Martin Frost

When Martin Fröst joined us for his SPCO debut last month, the concerts inspired immediate and tremendously positive audience response, and some of you even wrote to urge us to engage him as an Artistic Partner. We’re thrilled to share the news that the Swedish clarinetist has agreed to do just that, joining us through the 2018-19 season. We’ll be the first major international orchestra outside of Scandinavia to engage him as an artistic leader.

Recording, commissioning new works, and international touring, including a major Far East tour, will figure prominently in Fröst’s Artistic Partnership with the SPCO. We’ll be a principal partner in the development of the Genesis Project, devised by Fröst and performed with a number of partners worldwide. The Genesis Project explores the religious and folk origins and development of classical music through a combination of original compositions, new commissions, well-known core classical works and traditional dance and folk music tunes.

When announcing the appointment, SPCO President Bruce Coppock wrote:

In seeking Artistic Partners for the SPCO, we first look for artists who have an inordinate capacity to inspire our audiences and musicians alike. Martin Fröst’s concerts with the SPCO last month were perhaps the most kinetic, awe-inspiring performances SPCO audiences have ever experienced, and the energy Martin released into our musicians was the very definition of leadership through inspiration. It is an enormous credit to the musicians of the SPCO that an artist of such international caliber and reputation would so readily choose the SPCO as his partner for many important media, touring and creative projects. We welcome Martin to our already extraordinary group of Artistic Partners, and look forward to many years of joyous music-making with Martin and the musicians of the SPCO.

Reviewing last month’s concert, Pioneer Press music critic Rob Hubbard wrote:

…the Swedish clarinetist had such a sweet, smooth caramel tone and full sound across the ample range of his extended ‘A’ clarinet that this became an exceptional interpretation, complemented splendidly by the SPCO’s expertise with Mozart. Frost was a delight to watch, a physically expressive player who moves about like a snake charmer or dancing pied piper. He was equally graceful when conducting an involving interpretation of fellow Scandinavian Edvard Grieg’s ‘Holberg’ Suite and an urgently energetic take on Beethoven’s First Symphony. Throw in an adrenaline rush of an encore—a breakneck-paced piece of klezmer—and you have a marvelously satisfying concert that might be one of the season’s most memorable.

We agree.

Fröst’s repertoire spans the history of the clarinet, from Baroque and Classical to a number of new commissions or re-interpretations of modern masterworks. Fröst’s extensive discography includes two recent releases on BIS featuring the works of Mozart and Brahms, both of which received substantial critical acclaim.

Currently artist in residence at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Gothenburg Symphony in Sweden, and at London’s Wigmore Hall, Fröst has also toured extensively throughout his career. The year 2015 marks the tenth season of Vinterfest in Mora, Sweden, of which Fröst is artistic director. He serves as artistic director, as well, of the International Chamber Music Festival in Stavanger, Norway.

There’s much more to read in our press release, Martin’s bio, and his official website.