September, this is not. In fact, September came and went, and while the blog remained on my mind, I opted to focus my time and energy on something else that came rather out of nowhere and took up most of both of those throughout the past four months: I got a job.
If you know me already or have been following my blog for a long time, you may know that I have been working as a freelance writer for the concert hall Swedish Radio Berwaldhallen for a long time. (In fact, it’s coming up on 10 years this spring!) I have also had a few stints with them as an editor, both in-house and external.
Back in late August of last year, they called me out of the blue to see if I wanted to come on as soon as possible to cover for a colleague who had to take an unexpected sick leave. I ended up working as a deputy editor from late August until, well, yesterday. It is an oftentimes challenging and stressful job, but also creative and rewarding. To get to work close to and together with such brilliant musicians as the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra and Swedish Radio Choir, and my lovely colleagues toiling behind the scenes, is also inspiring in its own right.
Since I ended up working almost full-time with writing and editing, I decided fairly quickly that I needed to dedicate my writing energy to my job and not expend part of it on the blog, however much fun it is to maintain. Back in September, I considered writing a short update on my new and unexpected work situation, but I kept putting it off, and when October came around, I tossed the idea.
It has been a tremendously fun autumn, though. I interviewed choir conductors and concert pianists; translated poetry and song lyrics by Nietzsche and others; wrote an article about the late, great Marie Fredriksson; collaborated on a number of text commissions with several great freelance writers; and more, at that. I know I will come back and do more freelance jobs for them, but part of me already misses being a part of the day-to-day, larger-scale work and the greater positive impact it’s possible to have.
Not only did I have to scrap my original plans for my autumn, but even more things have happened since July, that meant I had to rethink my entire spring semester as well, and possibly this entire year. In fact, 2024 might just turn out to be one of my most exciting years yet.
Back in July, the Octava Chamber Orchestra in Seattle requested a new concert piece to be premiered by them this June at Maple Park Church in Lynnwood, WA! The orchestra concludes each season with a concert entirely dedicated to contemporary orchestral and chamber music, with several works written especially for them, and I really look forward to getting to write for them. I have been planning for this piece and making little sketches on and off over the past couple of months but will begin work proper this side of the new year.
That is not all, however.
In August, the Royal Swedish Opera got in touch with me about Short Stories: a biennial commissioning project that engages three pairs of composers and librettists per round to write a 20-minute opera each – a short story, in other words – and they wanted to include me in the next round, premiering in 2025! (Do I even need to say I accepted?) I have had several meetings already with my librettist, and we have settled on a plot as well as the main characters in the story. Our deadline is in October, so there is a bit more time, fortunately. While I won’t be able to write any of the finished music until I have the correct text, I look forward to beginning to explore styles and moods and ideas in parallel with the libretto.
These two fairly large, and very exciting, projects will for sure keep me busy for much of the year. I will take on the odd freelance job on the side as well, but mostly I look forward to actually focussing on one thing for a chance – and not just any one thing, but the thing that I most of all want to do: composing music.
By extension, this also means that, starting today, I will be returning to my regular posting schedule of one blog post per week. After all, I will hopefully have plenty of interesting and exciting stories to share!