About the Lund University Academic Choir
You could say that the Lund University Academic Choir (LAK) formed at two points in time. In 1927, the Lund Women’s Student Choir was formed by Anna Munck-Falk as an alternative to the Lund Student Singers’ Association, which was entirely composed of male singers. In 1948, the choir reformed as the Lund University Academic Choir, mainly due to the limited repertoire for women’s choirs. However, by borrowing men from the Lund University Male Voice Choir, among others, the choir had previously performed as a mixed choir on several occasions. In the early period as a women’s choir, it was led by the University’s Director of Music at the time, Gerhard Lundqvist. Under the direction of Lundqvist, in 1932, the choir performed, among other works, J.S. Bach’s Mass in B minor and The Nix operetta.
In 1941, a new period in the Choir’s history began under John Fernström. The choir performed several important works, among others the opera Isissystrarnas bröllop, composed by Fernström himself and dedicated to the choir, and Förklädd Gud with the author Hjalmar Gullberg himself as reciter. Naturally, the choir also had John Fernström’s minor choral work on its repertoire. When the choir reformed as the Lund University Academic Choir, John Fernström took up the position of municipal director of music in Lund and therefore ceased his directorship of the choir. A period of stagnation began.
In 1954, Olle Nilsson, organist at Klosterkyrkan, took over the role as the choir leader and thus the Lund University Academic Choir again had a place in Lund’s music scene. The spring concerts often featured famous soloists, including, notably, Erik Saedén. Olle Nilsson was succeeded by several competent directors, including Eva Bohlin who introduced the tradition of Christmas concerts in Allhelgonakyrkan. Eva Bohlin also introduced jazz to the choir’s repertoire, including work by Georg Riedel and Jan Johansson. The choir also performed opera during this period. In 1975, Professor in Choral Conducting Dan-Olof Stenlund led the Lund University Academic Choir and the Lund University Academic Orchestra in Orpheus and Eurydice by C.W. Gluck. In addition, the choir also performed a premiere of Hilding Rosenberg’s Symphony no. 8 with Stig Westerberg as director and Birgit Nilsson as soloist.
In 1978, Peter Wallin took over as conductor of the choir. Under the direction of Peter, the choir performed, among other things, L.E. Larsson’s Förklädd Gud and J.S. Bach’s St Matthew Passion. During the 1987/88 anniversary season, it also performed the work that strings the choir’s history together: J.S. Bach’s Mass in B minor. After Peter Wallin, the conductors were Johan-Magnus Sjöberg and Fredrik Malmberg, both well known in Sweden’s music life. Fredrik Malmberg took the choir back to the world of opera through a performance of H. Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas.
1997/98 was another anniversary year for the choir. Harald Eikaas was the conductor at this point and he led the choir in W.A. Mozart’s Requiem and C. Orff’s Carmina Burana. Under the direction of Harald, the choir also performed at several concerts with the Malmö Symphony Orchestra and Malmö Symphony Orchestra’s Choir, for performances of, among other works, Mikis Theodorakis’ Zorba, with Theodorakis himself as conductor, and S. Prokovjev’s Alexander Nevskij.
With Sofia Söderberg-Eberhard as conductor, the choir entered a new exciting era. Again, the choir had a musical director with a solid connection to Lund. The choir participated in the Orlando di Lasso festival in Rome, where the choir was awarded the gold medal, and in the Segizzi festival in Goritzia. In addition to collaborations with the Eastern bloc and Malmö Symphony Orchestra, in 2005, the choir performed the opera The Emperor’s New Clothes, composed by Sofia. The same year, the choir was also invited to Mexico City for a performance of G.F. Händel’s Messiah.
Since 2007, when the choir became part of the newly formed Odeum music department, the Lund University Academic Choir has been under the direction of Director Cantorum Cecilia Martin-Löf. With Cecilia, the choir has performed works such as H. Schütz’s The Christmas Story, R. Vaughan William’s Dona nobis pacem, F. Martin’s Mässa för dubbelkör, and J.S. Bach’s Christmas Oratorio together with the Rebaroque Orchestra. In recent years, the choir has also made several long-distance trips, including to the international choir festival in Miedzyzdroje in Poland, where the choir won the festival’s Grand Prix, and to California and South Africa.
Conductors of the Lund University Academic Choir
1927-1931 Maria Håkansson
1931-1937 Gerhard Lundkvist
1937-1941 Eldhagen & Åhlund
1941-1948 John Fernström
(LAK lay dormant 1948-1951)
1951-1954 Nils Guttorp
1954-1966 Olle Nilsson
1966-1969 Bertil Hallin
1970 Carl Hervelius
1970-1978 Eva Bohlin
1978-1990 Peter Wallin
1990-1993 Johan-Magnus Sjöberg
1993-1994 Lena Ekman-Frisk
1994-1996 Fredrik Malmberg
1996-1998 Harald Eikaas
1998-2005 Sofia Söderberg Eberhard
2006-2007 Christoffer Nobin
2007- Cecilia Martin-Löf