Nilsson, Torsten

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Nilsson, Torsten

Nilsson, Torsten, Swedish organist, choirmaster, teacher, and composer; b. Höör, Jan. 21, 1920; d. Stockholm, Sept. 24, 1999. He studied church music and pedagogy at the Stockholm Musikhögskolan (1938–42) and also had instruction in organ from Alf Lindner and in organ and composition from Anton Heiller in Vienna (1961, 1965). He was organist in Köping (1943–53), Hälsingborg (1953–62), and at the Oscar Church in Stockholm (1962–79), and also was conductor of the Oscar Motet Choir. He taught theory at the Stockholm Citizen’s School (1962–73) and liturgical singing at the Stockholm Theological Inst. (1964–70) and the Univ. of Uppsala (1966–70). He excelled in liturgical works, and in his organ music introduced many innovations, such as static tone-clusters and specified periods of thematic improvisation.


dramatic: church opera - oratorios:Ur jordens natt (Out of the Night of the Earth) for Improvising Soloists and Vocal Groups, with Organ (Stockholm, April 12, 1968); Dantesvit (Dante Suite) for Soloists, Vocal Group, Percussion, Organ, Harpsichord, and Tape (Stockholm, April 23, 1969); Skapelse (The Creation) for Narrator, Chorus, Organ, and Instruments (Stockholm, May 11, 1970); Ur jordens natt. Del 2 (Out of the Night of the Earth, Part 2; Stockholm, April 12, 1974); Den sista natten (The Last Night) for 2 Actors, Mixed and Children’s Chorus, Flute, Harp, Organ, and Percussion (Stockholm, Nov. 25, 1973). opera:Malin: The Doors of History Open Wide (1983–90; first complete perf., Stockholm, Aug. 30, 1991). orch.: 2 concertos: No. 1 for Piano and Strings (1974–77) and No. 2, On the Threshold, for Piano, Wind Instruments, and Percussion (1975); Concerto for Trombone and Strings (1978); Om ett brev, lyric suite for Strings (1983); A Lyric Suite for Strings (1986–87). chamber: Concertino for Trombone and Organ (1978); Verwerfungen for Organ and Percussion (1980); Rondo for Trombone (1981); Concertino for Trombone and Organ (1981–85); Concertino for Horn and Brass Quartet or Organ (1983); Signals with 7 Structures for Organ and 5 Percussionists (1985); Rondo Sueziae for Trombone and Piano (1987); Revelations, concerto for Organ and Piano (1988); Barrage: Marche de dressage (marche surréaliste) for 4 Trombones (1990); Musica for Winds (1992); organ music; piano pieces.

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis Mclntire