Göteborgs Konserthus University of Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra

Event has already taken place. Experience the young musicians from the master’s programme at the Academy of Music and Drama.

Concert length: 1 h 30 min Scene: Stora salen
150 SEK Student 100 SEK Senior 100 SEK Children tom 12 år 0 SEK

Event has already taken place

Meet the University of Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra which consists of musicians from the master’s programme in symphonic orchestra performance at the Academy of Music and Drama. The programme is run in collaboration with the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra and the Göteborg Opera, and we are delighted to welcome the orchestra under the leadership of Henrik Schaefer.


Svitlana Azarova was born in Ukraine and educated at the Academy of Music in Odessa as well as in Warsaw and The Hague. She has participated with her music in many international festivals and projects such as Foro de Música Nueva – INBA in Mexico, Chamber Music Day in the Netherlands and Musica Viva, Germany. In 2007, 2015 and 2016 she was Composer in residence at the Visby International Center for Composers (VICC). The symphonic work Mover of the Earth, Stopper of the Sun was commissioned by the Orchester National d'Île de France in 2011 and is dedicated to the astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus.

Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) Symphony No. 5 in C-sharp minor Trauermarsch. In gemessenem Schritt. Streng. Wie ein Kondukt Stürmisch bewegt. Mit grösster Vehemenz. Scherzo. Kräftig, nicht zu schnell Adagietto. Sehr langsam Rondo-Finale. Allegro. Allegro giocoso. Frisch Let us begin in the middle of Mahler's symphony, in the renowned adagietto. No, it is not the middle in terms of length, as it is preceded by three longer movements and followed by an equally extensive finale. The symphony is also characterised by strict symmetry, with the first two movements placed together as a slow introduction and a quick primary movement, followed by a scherzo (the formal centre of the symphony), and then the adagietto, which leads to the rapid finale. But many listeners still consider the famous movement to be an emotional peak, and there are also links that run both backwards and forwards. Because of course, music can be emotionally charged even if the thematic connections are not clearly heard. Emotions may even develop increasing prominence when the listener is not truly aware of them. The philosopher Theodor W. Adorno, who often has surly comments in his back pocket, writes in his dense book on Mahler that it "borders on genre prettiness through its ingratiating sound". When Luigi Visconti chose this movement as a central musical element in his movie Death in Venice (after the novel by Thomas Mann, but with a composer, rather than a writer, in the tragic lead role), this prettiness turned sickly. The image has such power that it is difficult not to see in the mind's eye when the music stands alone once again. It has been called a "song without words" (after Mendelssohn's piano genre), and Mahler even returns to the Rückert song Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen. This already causes the rigid distinction that is often drawn between the "Wunderhorn symphonies" (no. 2-4, all with material from Mahler's Wunderhorn songs) and the "abstract" fifth symphony to fall apart. In fact, Mahler evidently gave his future wife Alma the movement as a gift of love - instead of a letter. But the road to the adagietto is long. First there is a funeral march with two trios that hardly lighten the dense mood; then comes a passionate burst of anguish, which does however provide unexpected space for light in a chorale. To be sure, this breakthrough has no direct repercussions, because the conclusion returns to a minor key, but the light does prevail later in the symphony. This occurs first in the various swirling dances of the scherzo, in which the sumptuous form includes two trios and an implementation, and then in the third section as well. The adagio is followed by a conclusion that Mahler called a rondo, but which others have tried to interpret as a blend of rondo (in which a principal theme is interrupted by different contrasting episodes) and a sonata form (with the presentation of a theme, development and a reprise). It should be no surprise here if reminiscences from the previous movement appear - although the yearning eroticism has now become a feathery-light affirmation. And that is precisely what this movement is: a "yes" to life. Erik Wallrup

Friday 10 March 2023: The event ends at approx. 19.30


The core of the orchestra is students of the two-year international master's program in symphonic orchestra playing at the University of Gothenburg University. The training is unique in its kind and is conducted in collaboration with the Gothenburg Symphony and the Gothenburg Opera. The orchestra projects also include students from the bachelor's program in classical music, a three-year program where the students focuses on chamber music playing and individual development on their instrument. Sometimes students from other music colleges are invited to participate and complement the orchestra. The artistic director of the University of Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra is Henrik Schaefer. Each academic year, the University of Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra performs eight orchestral productions with a total of around 15 public concerts. Internationally well-known conductors and soloists are engaged for these. Recently, Anja Bihlmaier, Eva Ollikainen, ShaoChia Lü, Olaf Henzold, Patrik Ringborg, Tobias Ringborg, Michel Tabachnik and Steven Sloane have been guests of the orchestra. Among the soloists are pianists Roland Pöntinen and Christian Zacharias, violinists Malin Broman and Antje Weithaas, trumpeter Tine Thing Helseth and singer Kristina Hansson. The orchestra also collaborates every year with the opera education at the University of Stage and Music. The University of Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra is an ambassador for the University of Gothenburg, supporting the concert and tour activities.

Henrik Schaefer is Artistic Director of the study programme Master of Orchestra Performance at Gothenburg University. He is also musical director and chief conductor of Folkoperan in Stockholm. The Bochum-born musician began his conducting career as an assistant to Claudio Abbado and was musical director of the Gothenburg Opera Orchestra from 2013-2020. Among other things, he has conducted successful productions of Mozart's Marriage of Figaro and The Magic Flute, Strauss' Daphne, Thomas' Hamlet and Madame Butterfly. His commitment to unknown romantic repertoire is shown in concerts, opera productions and first recordings of rediscovered works by composers such as Elfrida Andrée, Wilhelm Stenhammar, Joachim Raff and August Klughardt. In 2004-2011 Henrik Schaefer was first guest conductor of the Hiroshima Symphony Orchestra, and 2007-2013 chief conductor of Wermland Opera in Karlstad.

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