Britta Byström is an orchestral composer of distinction whose boundless imagination is tethered by fastidious care. Her work list already contains a string of focused and beguiling scores for orchestras on both sides of the Atlantic. She is also known for engaging ensemble, vocal and stage works.
Byström was raised on Sweden’s east coast where she played the trumpet. She was soon drawn to writing music and was lured into the universe of orchestral sound by her local professional orchestra. At 19, she became a student at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm.
Byström went on to demonstrate a minimalistic tendency to spin out entire works from a single entity (shape, chord, theme). Farewell Variations (2005) and Invisible Cities (2013) both pivot on a single feature (the latter won a Swedish Grammy when recorded).
As in the prizewinning song for viola and orchestra A Walk After Dark (2014) her titles frequently refer to walks or rambles and her music sets out on unplanned journeys too, spurred by an improvisatory spirit.
Byström won the Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s Elaine Lebenbom Memorial Award in 2015 and became a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music the following year. Her works have been performed by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Cologne Gürzenich Orchestra and more. They are built without compromise or cushioning, and their sparse elegance has been compared to that of a Japanese Garden.