Martin Fröst

Martin Fröst
At Hindsgavl Festival, Denmark 2017
At Hindsgavl Festival, Denmark 2017
Background information
Born (1970-12-14) 14 December 1970 (age 51)
Sundsvall, Sweden
LabelsBIS, Sony

Martin Fröst (born 14 December 1970) is a Swedish clarinetist and conductor. He is principal conductor of the Swedish Chamber Orchestra. He is also a developer of multimedia projects with music, choreography and light design, in which he appears as a clarinetist, conductor, copywriter and "master of the ceremony". He crosses musical and medial borders, willing to experiment.

Early life and education

Fröst was born in Sundsvall, Sweden. As a youth, Fröst began musical studies on violin at age 5. At age 8, he started to learn the clarinet. Fröst switched to clarinet after hearing a recording of Jack Brymer playing Mozart's Clarinet Concerto.

Fröst studied with Hans Deinzer in Germany and Sölve Kingstedt and Kjell-Inge Stevensson in Stockholm. His first concerto performance was at age 17 with the Royal Academy of Music Orchestra.


Fröst's work in contemporary music includes collaborations with Anders Hillborg, Krzysztof Penderecki, Kalevi Aho, Rolf Martinsson, Bent Sørensen, Victoria Borisova-Ollas, Karin Rehnqvist and Sven-David Sandström. In May 2014, he received the Léonie Sonning Music Prize, the first clarinetist so honoured.

Fröst was artistic leader of the Vinterfest music festival for 10 seasons, concluding his tenure in 2015. He became joint artistic director of the Stavanger International Chamber Music Festival in 2010, and served in that until 2015. He has been a conductor-in-association with the Norrköping Symphony Orchestra. In May 2017, the Swedish Chamber Orchestra announced the appointment of Fröst as its next principal conductor, effective with the 2019–2020 season, with an initial contract of 3 seasons.

In the United States, in October 2014, Fröst first appeared with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra (SPCO). Based on this concert, in November 2014, the SPCO named Fröst one of its Artistic Partners, effective with the 2015–2016 season, with an initial contract of 4 years. He was supposed to have made his first appearance in November 2015, but was unable to perform due to Meniere's Disease. The effects of this ailment delayed Fröst's appearances as an SPCO artistic partner until February 2017.


  • Penderecki (CD-652, 1994)
  • French Beauties and Swedish Beasts (CD-693, 1994)
  • Close Up (CD-744, 1997)
  • 'Hekas! – Östgöta Symphonic Wind Ensemble (CD-818, 1997)
  • Clarinet Concertos dedicated to Benny Goodman (CD-893, 1998)
  • The Pied Piper of the Opera – Opera paraphrases on the clarinet (CD-1053, 2000)
  • James MacMillan – The Confession of Isobel Gowdie (CD-1169, 2002)
  • Mozart – Clarinet Concerto & Quintet (SACD 1283, 2003)
  • Schumann – Works for Clarinet & Piano (CD-944, 2003)
  • Holmboe – Concertos for Piano, Clarinet and Oboe; Beatus Parvo (CD-1176, 2004)
  • Brahms – Clarinet Sonatas & Trio (SACD-1353, 2005)
  • Karin Rehnqvist – Arktis Arktis! (CD-1396, 2005)
  • Weber – Clarinet Concertos (SACD-1523, 2006)
  • Nielsen & Aho Clarinet Concertos (SACD-1463, 2007)
  • Christopher Rouse – Orchestral Music (CD-1386, 2008)
  • Crusell – The Three Clarinet Concertos (SACD-1723, 2008)
  • Fröst & Friends (SACD-1823, 2010)
  • Martin Fröst – Dances to a Black Pipe (SACD-1863, 2011)
  • Martin Fröst – Plays Mozart (SACD-1893, 2013)
  • Martin Fröst – Roots (Sony, 2016)
  • Martin Fröst, Lucas Debargue, Janine Jansen & Torleif Thedeen, Messiaen: Quatuor pour la fin du temps (Quartet for the End of Time) (Sony, 2019)
  • Martin Fröst & Concerto Köln – Vivaldi (Sony, 2020)



Every two to three years, since 2013, Fröst staged a project in which he works as a clarinetist, conductor, lyricist, "master of ceremony", actor and occasionally as a dancer. He performs in collaboration with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, composers, choreographers and lighting technicians. The projects presented are named Dollhouse, Genesis, Retropia and Exodus.

Dollhouse (2013)

At Dollhouse, compositions by Göran Fröst, Paul Dukas, Bent Sörensen, Manuel de Falla and Anders Hillborg, as well as choreography and light, became one unit. It was Fröst's first collaboration with the lighting designer and choreographer Linus Fellbom. The world premiere was in October 2013 with a duration of approx. 1:35 h.

The artist says on his website: "Dollhouse is very much about liberation, both in its physical and symbolical form, about the invisible threads that hold us to the earth, tie us together and can wear away. It is a concert with movement as its center, a metaphor in the footsteps of Petrushka and Pinocchio."

Genesis (2015)

Genesis is a program of works from a millennium of music history, starting with Greek music of the 2nd century (Mesomedes) to compositions by Hildegard von Bingen, Telemann, Piazzolla, Messiaen, Lutoslawski and Hillborg, to name a few. In between folk music by Bartók and klezmer dances by Goran Fröst. Old and new music and music from all over the world are combined. "It’s all connected, and the music also reflects people", says Fröst.

The performance lasts approx. 1:42 h.

Retropia (2018)

Retropia, Retro and Utopia, looking back, but also designing future forms of music. In the retrospect, we hear the overture to Mozart's Marriage of Figaro, followed by Beethoven's Fourth Symphony. The present of music depicts: Exodus: Departure for solo clarinet (premiere) by the Russian born composer Victoria Borisova-Ollas, who lives in Sweden, Angelus novus for chamber orchestra by the Swedish composer Jacob Mühlrad and Nomadia for clarinet and chamber orchestra by Göran and Martin Fröst, while the future is hinted at in Emerge for clarinet, orchestra and gestrument by Jesper Nordin. Motion sensors on the clarinet ensure that every movement Fröst is converted into music. "In Emerge me and Martin have been trying to find the future of music, blend technology through my technology gestrument – gesture-instrument – where you can play on a virtual orchestra while playing on his clarinet and conducting the live orchestra and to find new ways of expression," says Nordin.

Fröst: "The piece provides a gestrument, it is called 'Space in the Air' and contains music DNA. When I touch the air, it turns into sound, created by an infrared camera. I can play with my fingers in the air, for which I need a choreographer for the movements. And that, too, is a kind of future for music. At the beginning of the piece I say, where does the music go? Can I feel it? Is it going to the future? Can I touch her? And then I literally put my hand in the air between me and the audience and suddenly there is a sound. So it is a conversation between me, the gestrument, the room and the orchestra behind me. It's actually pretty exciting."

The premiere was on 18 May 2018 in Stockholm. The performance lasts approx. 1:45 hours with the addition of the Klezmer dance No. 2 for clarinet and string orchestra by Göran Fröst.

Xodus (2022)

A year late due to the pandemic, the project, originally Exodus, came on stage under the name "XODUS (The Way Out Lies Within)" on 5 May 2022 at Stockholm's Konserthuset with the participation of more than 100 people and live painting on a large screen, performance time about 75 minutes. Texts with English subtitles and live images are by the multi-artist Jesper Waldersten, very well known in Sweden. Fröst performed as a clarinetist, conductor of the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra and a chamber choir, and again as "master of ceremonies." Konserthuset has posted a video of the performance online, as well as a brief introduction indicating all the music titles arranged for this work. These include compositions by Johann Sebastian Bach, George Frideric Handel, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Johannes Brahms, Giuseppe Verdi and Béla Bartók on the one hand, on the other hand, contemporary pieces by the Swedish composers Hans Ek, Anders Hillborg, Goran Fröst, Annamaria Kowalsky, as well as an arrangement of traditional pieces by the Spanish clarinettist and arranger Alberto Álvarez García. The Swedish lighting designer Linus Fellbom, who works mainly in theater, opera and dance, provided lighting design and direction.

One review says: "Musician Martin Fröst and artist Jesper Waldersten push the boundaries of what a classical concert can be."

Martin Fröst Foundation

In 2019, Fröst set up a foundation whose goal is to give children and young people in Sweden and other countries the opportunity to receive music lessons and access to instruments.

Personal life

Fröst and his family live in Stockholm, Sweden.

This page was last updated at 2022-12-06 15:37 UTC. Update now. View original page.

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