frontside artists

Karin Dornbusch

Clarinet / Presenter

Karin Dornbusch, the festival’s artistic director, resides in Basel, Switzerland, since 1995, but grew up in a family of musicians in Stockholm. She has a strong connection to both Gothenburg and the West Coast. Her father was born and raised in Gothenburg, and after diligent genealogical research, she has discovered that her paternal grandmother’s family has lived on the islands of Orust and Tjörn for several centuries.

After studying at the Hochschule der Künste Berlin and the Musikakademie der Stadt Basel, she became an internationally sought-after clarinet soloist and chamber musician. In 1996, she won the Swedish Soloist Prize and the first prize from the Basler Orchester Gesellschaft. In 1997, she was selected by concert halls in Vienna, Birmingham, Stockholm, and Athens as a soloist in the Rising Stars concert series.

She has performed as a soloist at the Nobel Prize ceremony in Stockholm. She has recorded three CDs on Caprice Records and one CD on Genuin Classics Leipzig. Her album “Nordic Clarinet Concertos” was nominated for a Swedish Grammy. As a soloist, she has performed with major symphony orchestras in Stockholm, Malmö, Gävle, Norrköping, Basel, and Zagreb under conductors such as Armin Jordan, Peter Csaba, and Daniel Harding. She is a permanent member of the ensembles Camerata Variabile Basel, Ensemble Fiacorda, and she is the principal clarinetist in CMB.

It’s a plethora of musicians Karin has performed with, including the Gringolts Quartet, Vertavo Quartet, Bennewitz Quartet, Zemlinsky Quartet, Trio Con Brio Copenhagen, Dénes Várjon, Benjamin Engeli, Georges Pludelmacher, Alasdair Beatson, Henri Sigfridsson, Hans Pålsson, David Huang, Danny Driver, Charles Owen, Håvard Gimse, Christian Ihle Hadland, Marianna Shirinyan, Bengt Forsberg, Julien Quentin, Jacob Kellerman, Jakob Koranyi, Malin Broman, Simon Crawford-Phillips, Sini Simonen, Chloë Hanslip, David Grimal, Cecilia Zilliacus, Magali Mosnier, Henrik Goldschmidt, Diego Chenna, Szabolcs Zempléni, Martin Owen, Malin Hartelius, Katarina Karnéus, and many more.

She is strongly committed to contemporary music and has collaborated with composers such as Kaija Saariaho, Dai Fujikura, Lisa Streich, Jennifer Walshe, Helena Winkelman, and Maja S.K Ratkje. The well-known Swedish composer Benjamin Staern dedicated “Worried Souls” for clarinet & bass clarinet and orchestra to her, which she has performed on several occasions in both Sweden and Germany. Most recently, in April 2022, in a critically acclaimed performance at the Stockholm Concert Hall with the Gävle Symphony Orchestra conducted by Emil Eliasson. From 2006 to 2017, she was the artistic director of the Båstad Chamber Music Festival, where she received the first “Guldkvasten” (Golden Broom) by KVAST in 2009 for her theme featuring 29 female composers from then and now.

Since 2019, she has been the artistic director of the FRONTSIDE, Gothenburg International Chamber Music Festival, in Sweden. Her concert programs often have an unusual composition, with her own interest in blending the familiar with the new and unknown. In addition to traditional chamber music, she is keen to open the doors to other genres such as folk music, improvisation, electronic music, and jazz.

King Carl XVI Gustaf has awarded her the medal “Litteris et Artibus,” and she is a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music.

Participated in festivals

2019 M/S Transatlantic, 2020 To the East, 2021 Frontside Light – Let the music sound!, 2021 Frontside Visits – Vänersborg, 2021 Frontside Visits – Göteborg, 2021 Frontside Visits – Arvika, 2021 Frontside Visits – Lidköping, 2022 Southerly winds, 2023 Direction 57° North, 2025 Beyond the horizon