Presentation of the Festival
Music now feels more important than ever!
In these trying times we are nevertheless moving ahead with preparations for the third Frontside Festival on 14–17 January 2021. It goes without saying that we will abide by guidelines and recommendations from the authorities and make all necessary adaptations.
Proceeding from Gothenburg’s situation by the sea and its long tradition of international contacts, the first four years of the festival will form a full tetralogy. In 2019 we looked westward to America with the theme m/s Transatlantic, and in 2020 the inspiration came from the East India Company as we turned the bow musically towards Asia under the banner Eastward.
In 2021, as Gothenburg celebrates its 400th birthday, we stage our third festival. With the theme Direction 57° North we bring you music by composers from more nearby countries that have greatly influenced the city, such as Holland, Germany, Scotland and England. The Czech Republic is represented too, by Bedřich Smetana, who strongly influenced musical life in Gothenburg when he lived there 1856–62. There will also be music by Swedish composers who lived and worked in Gothenburg, such as the female pioneer Elfrida Andrée and the wayward musical profile Sven-Eric Johansson.
Among the artists we may mention the soprano Camilla Tilling, the lutenist Rolf Lislevand, the Czech string quartet Zemlinsky Quartet, the Kungsbacka Piano Trio with Malin Broman, Jesper Svedberg and Simon Crawford-Phillips, the recorder player Anna Petrini, the organist Hans Davidsson and the composer and electronic musician Palle Dahlstedt.
Our much-appreciated Wandering Concerts will this year take the form of an exclusive journey through time. A guide will receive us on board Styrsöbolaget’s boat m/s Kungsö, which will bring us to Lagerhuset (containing the Gothenburg House of Literature); we will then get a unique tour of Carolus Rex, a former bastion and storeroom for gunpowder in the old city wall. All to the accompaniment of musical surprises from different periods!
We look forward to celebrating Gothenburg and hope to entertain you with unforgettable concerts!
Participating Artists 2021
Anna Petrini, recorder
Ayla Kabaca, storyteller
Camilla Tilling, soprano
Hans Davidsson, organ
Karin Dornbusch, clarinet
Kungsbacka Piano Trio: Malin Broman, violin; Jesper Svedberg, cello; Simon Crawford-Phillips, piano
Palle Dahlstedt, live electronics, composer
Paula af Malmborg Ward, composer
Rolf Lislevand, lute
The Gothenburg Combo: David Hansson & Thomas Hansy, guitars
Zemlinsky Quartet: František Souček & Petr Střížek, violin; Petr Holman, viola; Vladimír Fortin, cello
Anders Carlsson, musicologist
Margareta Björklund, guide
Gothenburg’s first international
chamber music festival
After clarinetist Karin Dornbusch had successfully led the Båstad Chamber Music Festival for twelve years, she was contacted by entrepreneur Bob Kelly, who proposed creating an international chamber music festival at the art gallery Röda Sten Konsthall in Gothenburg.
A committee was formed with the well-known musicians Paula af Malmborg Ward, Daniel Berg and Tobias Granmo among others. After a year of intensive work, FRONTSIDE – Gothenburg International Chamber Music Festival – was inaugurated in January 2019 with innovative concert programmes in exciting surroundings. There was art music from different periods; well-known pieces and all-new compositions alternated with folk music and free improvisation. Young and old mixed both on stage and in the audience. People listened, watched, chatted and made new discoveries. The ship was launched!
Now the voyage continues. During the first four years of the festival, we turn our spyglass to each of the four cardinal directions in turn.
With the theme of 2019, M/S Transatlantic, our gaze swung westwards. A red thread of American and American-inspired music ran through the festival. Inspiration came from the big ocean liners that carried emigrants to the United States in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The theme also connected with today’s situation, when people are forced to become refugees and to create new lives for themselves in foreign lands.
In 2020 the theme is Eastward. The note struck is now the Swedish East India Company’s voyages to Asia in the eighteenth century. During the festival, there will be both old and new music by European and Asian composers who in various ways have influenced each other.
When Gothenburg celebrates its fourth centenary in 2021, FRONTSIDE will turn the prow northward with the theme Direction 57° North. We will present music by Swedish composers, particularly from Gothenburg, but also music from northern countries that have strongly affected the development of Gothenburg, such as Holland, Germany, Estonia, Scotland and England.
In 2022 FRONTSIDE will be carried by a warm breeze southward to the theme of Southerly Winds. Here we will fetch inspiration from Italy, Portugal, Spain and South America.
One of the purposes of the festival is to demonstrate what a broad range of music there exists within the chamber format. Moreover, we wish to cultivate the great tradition of Western music while at the same time supporting creativity and artistic innovation. The most important purpose of the festival, however, is to offer enjoyment to people of different generations and from different countries. We want to enrich life with music from near and far, and with the aid of music help to build bridges between people.
There is a saying: Where words fail, music speaks. Maybe that’s more important now than ever before!
And as Bob Kelly said when he was asked, “Why start a music festival?”
“Because it’s a joy!”