Göteborgs Konserthus Gothenburg 400+

The Gothenburg Symphony celebrates the anniversary year with futuristic tones, choral singing and video art! Conductor: Ingar Bergby.

Concert length: 2 h incl. intermission Scene: Stora salen
380-540 SEK Student 190-270 SEK Youth up to 29 190-270 SEK

Celebrate the anniversary year with the Gothenburg Symphony! Our party offers futuristic tones, choral singing and video art. As a party gift, we’re letting two of Sweden’s most exciting composers, Klas Torstensson and Paula af Malmborg, pay tribute to Gothenburg with their first premieres! 

As 2023 draws to a close, we celebrate a musical fireworks display for our 402-year-old city. Two exciting commissioned works look into the future – perhaps we can fantasize about Gothenburg’s next 400 years? The works City Imprints and Spår-Vägar are guaranteed to arouse the desire for discovery and add new color to the character of the city. 

Paula af Malmborg Ward is well known in the music life of Gothenburg and collaborates with choirs, theatre, opera and ensembles in all its forms. She has written around 20 music-dramatic works and music for both television and film. Paula af Malmborg Ward has previously been Composer in Residence at the Gothenburg Symphony. 

Klas Torstensson has previously collaborated with the Gothenburg Symphony in works such as Paris 1993, a commissioned piece from Sweden’s Radio P2. His music has been performed in the US, Europe, Asia and Australia. 

The evening’s party atmosphere is further enhanced with video art by Lene Juhl and conductor Ingar Bergby. 

Commissioned by the Gothenburg Symphony. 


Get to know the composer Klas Torstensson.

Get to know the composer Paula af Malmborg Ward.

Introduction to the concert

Take a seat in the Great Hall one hour before the concert begins and learn more about the music you will soon experience! You will get the stories behind the music, knowledge of the composers and own reflections about the classical pieces. The introduction last for about 30 minutes, it is free and free seating in the hall. Warm welcome!


After having been destroyed several times in the previous century, the city of Gothenburg was founded and rebuilt as a heavily fortified, primarily Dutch, trading colony, by royal charter in 1621. In the centuries to follow, Gothenburg developed into Sweden’s main harbour for trade towards the west. Countless ships with emigrants sailed off to North America, and so did Pole expeditions heading for the North. Torstensson’s opera The Expedition (1994-1999) is about one of these expeditions – the unfortunate Andrée balloon expedition of 1897. In City Imprints, we can hear not only traces of the farewells by the beloved ones, standing on the quay in the Gothenburg harbour, but also of the sounds originating from the shipbuilding industry (riveting machines!) and from the stonemasonry, both so typical for this city and its factories. Even the street network – the planning of the streets and canals of Gothenburg closely resembled that of Jakarta, which was built by the Dutch around the same time – has been given a modest place in the composition. Before the reconstruction of the city in the beginning of the 17th century, it threatened to sink into the mud. In City Imprints, this sinking can be heard at the end of the work. Happily enough, in art, the chronology does not have to be realistic. City Imprints as a soundscape: a personal search for both the public and the hidden memories of a city… Exciting and full of drama, but also of stillness and beauty. City Imprints was commissioned by the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra to celebrate the 400-year anniversary of the city of Gothenburg, Sweden, in 2021. Due to the pandemic the celebrations are held 2023 and the music can now be premiered.

Intermission 30 min

Paths traces (Spår vägar) - vocal symphony in precarious times for Choir, orchestra, organ and video art. Diary entry August 2019: Perspectives change. Gothenburg is preparing for a party, the upcoming 400th anniversary. We try to live as usual. The city is demolished, rebuilt, switched off, turned on, redirected. Quite similar to my own composition process while I created this anniversary piece for the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra. I can control a composition. But I cannot control when ”many opportunities” slip into ”small chances”. I have been asking our Afghan extra son, part of the family for almost two years, for a text fragment for this piece of music. He likes the idea but says he must get better at Swedish first. He struggles with the new language that sets limits to his opportunities for education. No education – no residence permit. In three months from today’s date, we will know what his paths will look like but not what traces they will leave. From the big to the small – traces and paths in his and our souls. Paula af Malmborg Ward

Thursday 14 December 2023: The event ends at approx. 21.30
Friday 15 December 2023: The event ends at approx. 20.00


The Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1905 and currently consists of 109 musicians. The orchestra is based in Gothenburg Concert Hall – a gem of functionalism on Götaplatsen square that has enchanted music lovers since 1935. Wilhelm Stenhammar was the orchestra’s Chief Conductor from 1907 until 1922. He gave the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra a strong Nordic profile and invited his colleagues Carl Nielsen and Jean Sibelius to collaborate with the orchestra. Under the leadership of Chief Conductor Neeme Järvi between 1982 and 2004, the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra undertook a number of international tours and made a hundred or so album recordings while establishing itself as one of Europe’s foremost orchestras. In 1997 the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra received the title of the National Orchestra of Sweden. Since season 2017-2018 Santtu-Matias Rouvali is Chief Conductor of the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra. Since season 2019-2020 Barbara Hannigan is Principal Guest Conductor. Christoph Eschenbach was also Principal Guest Conductor of Gothenburg Symphony in the years 2019-2022 – together they formed a strong three-leaf clover consisting of three completely different types of artists. We are also extremely proud to be an official partner of soprano Barbara Hannigan’s mentor initiative Equilibrium, with focus on young singers and musicians who are just beginning their careers. Sten Cranner is the orchestra’s CEO and Artistic Director, while Gustavo Dudamel holds the title of Honorary Conductor and Neeme Järvi that of Principal Conductor Emeritus. Region Västra Götaland is owner of the orchestra. The Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra works regularly with conductors such as Herbert Blomstedt, Joana Carneiro, Jukka-Pekka Saraste, Christian Zacharias and Anja Bihlmaier.

Ingar Bergby conductor

Lene Juhl video artist

Göteborgs Symfonikers Vokalensemble

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