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About Lund University Academic Orchestra

The Lund University Academic Orchestra was established in 1745 to provide music for the University’s ceremonies and is thus Sweden’s third-oldest orchestra. Today, it is the symphony orchestra of Lund's university students and has about 60 members. The Conductor and Artistic Director is the University’s Director of Music, Patrik Andersson.

The orchestra today                     

Since it was founded, the Lund University Academic Orchestra has provided the music for professorial inaugurations and doctoral degree conferment ceremonies. In addition, the Lund University Academic Orchestra performs concerts once or twice per semester featuring symphonic works in Odeum’s event series. The orchestra also regularly goes out on tour – China was a destination in 2012 – and visits other universities in Sweden and abroad. There have also been tours in Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, England, the USA and Italy.
In May 2014, the Lund University Academic Orchestra and Lund Academic Choir went on tour together for the first time, to California.

Tours:

1996 Munich (Germany)

1999 Cambridge and London (UK)

2001 Groningen and Amsterdam (The Netherlands)

2003 Bologna and Forlì (Italy)

2006 Bologna and Forlì (Italy)

2007 Uppsala and Kalmar (Sweden)

2008 Potsdam and Berlin (Germany)

2009 Helsinki (Finland)

2010 Washington, DC and Newark, DE (USA)

2012 Beijing, Tianjin, Hangzhou, Shanghai och Suzhou (China)

2013 Brussels and Ghent (Belgium)

2014 San Fransisco, Stanford and Los Angeles, California (USA)

2015 London (UK)

History

It was decided in 1745 that Lund University was to have an “an orchestra of musicians”. The University Board’s intention was not only to embellish the University’s ceremonies with music, but also to encourage students to cultivate an interest in music alongside their studies.

The young theology student, Friedrich Kraus, from Jönköping, was made director and 12 scholarship posts were set up for the orchestra members. By 1748, funds had been secured for the activities and Kraus was formerly appointed Director of Music. Public rehearsals were held on Wednesday and Saturday afternoons in the Botanical Garden’s orangery, on the same spot where Palaestra et Odeum stands today. Any orchestra member who did not attend was fined “eight öre”. Chamber music dominated during the orchestra’s first hundred years. In the second half of the 1800s, it developed into an orchestra that even attracted musicians from outside the University. The repertoire expanded from the Viennese classics and Mendelssohn to also cover contemporary (i.e. romantic) music. Its activities received a boost in 1883 with the completion of Helgo Zettervall’s distinctive building, Palaestra et Odeum, in Lundagård. The building housed a gymnastics hall (palaestra) and concert hall (odeum). Alfred Berg, leader of the Lund Student Choral Society, was also a much-appreciated chorus master from 1897 to 1922. “Father Berg” was keen on creating a pleasant atmosphere and
abolished public rehearsals, but the orchestra’s activities declined somewhat. His successor, Gerhard Lundqvist, was Director of Music for almost 40 years, and built up both the orchestra and choir activities. 

In the last few decades of the 1900s, the orchestra grew, under the direction of Johan Åkesson, to a full
symphony orchestra dominated by students, and had major symphonic works in its repertoire. In 1996,
the orchestra went on tour for the first time, to Munich. Johan was described by his successor, Per Ohlsson,
as the father of the modern Lund University Academic Orchestra. In Per’s time, university courses were added in chamber music and orchestral playing. The orchestra went on tour to Cambridge (1999), the Netherlands (2001) and Bologna (2003 and 2006). Patrik Andersson has been head of the orchestra and Odeum since 2006.

Lund University Academic Orchestra has retained its Swedish name, “Akademiska kapellet”, throughout its 250-year history as Lund students’ own orchestra, performing at University ceremonies and symphony concerts.

Directors of Music (1895-1952 University Conductor) at Lund University

1748-1780 Friedrich Kraus (1724-1780)

1781-1806 Christian Wenster (1735-1823)

1806-1856 Emanuel Wenster (1785-1856)

1858-1887 Wilhelm Theodor Gnosspelius (1809-1887)

1887-1889 Carl Kempff tf (1831-1901)

1889-1893 Wilhelm Heintze (1849-1895)

1893-1897 Carl Kempff tf

1897-1922 Alfred Berg (1857-1929)

1923-1961 Gerhard Lundqvist (1894-1985)

1962-1972 Sten-Åke Axelson (1906-1988)

1972-1997 Johan Åkesson (f. 1930)

1998-2004 Per Ohlsson (f. 1944)

2004-2005 Mika Eichenholz (f. 1960)

2005-2006 Glenn Mossop tf (f. 1951)

2006- Patrik Andersson (f. 1970)

Literature

Spelglädje i Lundagård: 250 år med Akademiska kapellet

Ed. Greger Andersson. Arlöv: Lund University Press, 1996.