“I want to cherish the traditions, develop the sound, and expand the repertoire. And surprise the audience.”
Cecilia Rydinger Alin is one of Sweden’s leading musical personalities, with a broad sphere of activities as a choir and orchestra conductor and as a teacher. Since 2008 she has been the conductor and artistic director of OD, which she describes as an incredibly exciting assignment. And a great challenge.
OD stands for rich traditions and high quality. This is a heritage that Cecilia Rydinger Alin wants to nurture, while at the same time constantly striving to seek out new ways to develop the choir.
“I want to preserve and steward the music for male-voice choir that already exists, and the rich sound that has been established in the choir for a long time. The capacity to produce infinitely faint and unbelievably powerful nuances in combination with a tonal density and intensity that is otherwise only found in great symphony orchestras. OD is without doubt one of the best male-voice choirs in the world, and it is tremendously inspiring to have the opportunity to work with this choir.”
The challenge is to luxuriate in the traditions and always make quality the prime concern – and at the same time to find new modes of expression and concert forms.
“We can do this by collaborating with artists and musicians, also from other parts of the music world. By performing in unconventional places. And by daring to do new things: to venture into deep waters when it comes to commissioning new music, trying out alternative concert forms, and surprising our audiences – and thereby also finding new listeners.”
About Cecilia Rydinger Alin
Orchestra conducting: Made her breakthrough in 1991 when she won the Royal Opera’s competition for young Swedish conductors. From 1994 to 1998 principal conductor at the Värmland Opera, and today widely sought after as a guest conductor of prominent orchestras, choirs, and opera houses in Sweden and abroad.
Choir director: Conductor and artistic director of Allmänna Sången in Uppsala 1988 -2009. Alongside concerts and tours, the choir made CD recordings on the BIS label and scored multiple successes in a number of international competitions.
Cecilia Rydinger Alin is much in demand today as a jury member for choir competitions around the world.
Teacher: Professor of orchestral conducting and as of 1998 in charge of the orchestral conducting program at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm. Since 2009 also Deputy Vice Chancellor of the RCM.
Engaged to teach international master classes in choir conducting, including sessions together with Professor Eric Ericson at the 2006 International Choral Festival in Lund.
Other activities: Since 2004 member of the Royal Academy of Music and serves in the work group for composers in the Swedish Arts Grants Committee.
Awards and distinctions: In 1999 Cecilia Rydinger Alin was awarded the Johannes Norrby Medal for furthering choral singing in Sweden. In 2005 she received the medal Litteris et Artibus from H.M. King Carl XVI Gustaf for her work in the field of musical art.
Cecilia Rydinger Alin was named Choir Conductor of the Year for 2009.
Robert Sund, OD's conductor 1985-2008 (up to 1991 together with Eric Ericson)
Second bass who in the 1960s was a member of the Olsson Quintet of singers, which played a prominent role is the first decade of Caprices. Appointed assistant conductor early on. Made a major contribution by providing OD with access to the Eastern European male-voice choir repertoire. Maintained the Ericsonian quality of the choir and helped develop its musical and theatrical diversity. Enriched OD’s repertoire with a multitude of arrangements and compositions. A representative selection is available on the CD Sounds of Sund.
Eric Ericson, OD's conductor 1951-1991 (from 1985 together with Robert Sund)
Started in the 1950s to refine the vocal technique of OD and saw his work bear fruit in the following decades. OD achieved a solid position among the world’s leading choirs, known for its rhythmical precision, precise phasing, powerful sound, and other qualities. Eric Ericson’s reputation in the choral world opened many doors for OD. Introduced many contemporary modern composers in OD. Under his leadership OD also achieved organizational and economic stability. The winning Caprice concept was launched, and Eric had many opportunities to demonstrate his sense of humor and his skill as a pianist.
Carl Godin, OD's conductor 1947-1951
Was assistant conductor under Alfvén and took over a choir that was evincing clear signs of fatigue. Despite admirable attempts to renew OD’s repertoire, he was unable to reverse the downward trend.
Hugo Alfvén, OD's conductor 1910-1947
Transformed the choir’s traditional quartet style into an instrumental mode of singing, using both coercion and coaxing to attain the technical skill needed for this. Was a showman who lent glamour and fame to the choir. Wrote a number of compositions and arrangements for OD: cantatas, folk tunes, and dramatic-lyrical pieces. His “Gryning vid havet” (Dawn by the Sea) remains part of the repertoire, and with its exploitation of the choir’s entire orchestral register, it is highly representative of what Alfvén wanted to achieve with OD.
Wilhelm Lundgren, acting conductor 1909-1910
A violinist nicknamed Paganini. Music critic. During his OD year was active in the continuing musical training of the choir and started to renew the repertoire. Introduced Stenhammar’s “Sverige” (Sweden) and Palmgren’s “Sjöfararen vid milan” (The Mariner Guarding the Charcoal Stack).
Ivar Eggert Hedenblad, OD's conductor 1880-1909
Dominated Uppsala’s musical life in his day as director musices (at Uppsala University), and conductor of OD, Allmänna sången, and the Royal Academic Orchestra at Uppsala University. Published a collection of sheet music titled Student Songs in the 1880s. Excellent organizer who led OD’s first singing excursions. Composed, among other pieces, the cantata “Sången” (Song) for OD’s 50th anniversary.
Jacob Axel Josephson, OD's conductor 1854-1880
Focused on making OD an elite choir. Composed a few works for OD, among which “Islossningen” (The Breaking of the Ice) has survived. Introduced romantic music by Mendelssohn and Schubert. Primarily interested in symphonic choral works and oratorios. Under his leadership OD often sang with the Philharmonic Society but also began to develop its own concert activities.
Oscar Arpi, OD's conductor 1853-1854
Director of Allmänna sången. A spirited and temperamental man who conducted OD in traditional student songs even after his retirement. Led the Uppsala singers to victory at the 1867 World Exhibition in Paris.