Sofia Vokalensemble was formed in 1995 by Bengt Ollén, who still is the choir’s committed conductor. The choir’s performances are characterized by a warm, lyrical Swedish choral sound and a stage presence that has taken the ensemble far in international competitions.
In June 2016 Sofia Vokalensemble once again traveled to Poland to participate in the international choir festival in Szczecin. Later in July the sopranos and altos went to Aix-en-Provence with male choir Orphei Drängar and ladies of Gustaf Sjökvists chamber choir to perform Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms under the direction of Esa-Pekka Salonen. The performances were directed by Polar Prize laureate Peter Sellars. In September 2016 the choirs once again performed the piece, then in London at the Royal Festival Hall. The men of Sofia Vokalensemble traveled on their own tour to the Baltics and held concerts in Latvia and Lithuania in September 2016.
In July 2015 the choir was on tour in Provence, France and participated in Festival des choeurs lauréats - a choir festival where ensembles from across the world are invoited.
In 2014 Sofia Vokalensemble was one of 25 choirs worldwide invited to the 10th World Symposium on Choral Music in Seoul, South Korea. In 2012 the ensemble won the European Grand Prix for Choral Singing. The competition, this year held in Maribor, Slovenia, is one of the most prestigious in the world and the participating choirs are the winners of six reputed choral competitions in Europe. Sofia Vokalensemble qualified for the competition after winning the Grand Prix at the International Choral Competition, Maribor, Slovenia, in 2011.
In the autumn of 2009, Sofia Vokalensemble won the Grand Prix at the Grieg International Choir Festival in Bergen, Norway. In the summer of 2008 the choir took two first places in the Grand Prix in Italian Gorizia and in 2006 the ensemble tied for first place in the prestigious Harald Andersén Chamber Choir Competition in Helsinki, Finland. Sofia Vokalensemble has also toured in South Africa, Germany, Slovenia, Italy, Hong Kong, Ireland, Greece, Venezuela and Russia. At home in Stockholm, the choir gives regular concerts in the Sofia church. The ensemble also regularly performs at events at, for instance, Skansen and in the Stockholm City Hall.
Music by Bach, Poulenc, Pärt and Schnittke recurs frequently in the repertoire. The choir has also premiered pieces by, among others Jaakko Mäntyjärvi, Fredrik Sixten and Karin Rehnqvist. Sofia Vokalensemble is a choir with great love for music and the work is characterized not only by high musical ambition and close interaction with the conductor: the heart is always there; on Wednesday rehearsals and weekend training camps as well as at airports, parties, and behind the scenes before a competition.
“Memories bind us together and our broad experience gives us a solid foundation to stand on. It is something we believe gives us a sense of security and an advantage in our music making together. Tours, competitions and parties are just examples of all that we have shared over the years. With an artistic director who gives us all the positive energy he can muster and a musical drive that gave the choir the opportunity to grow into what it is today, it’s difficult not to be swept away.”
Welcome to listen to Sofia Vokalensemble at the next concert!