“Until you’ve heard Martin Fröst, you really haven’t heard the clarinet.”
Artistic Partner: The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra Designate chief conductor from 2019/20: Swedish Chamber Orchestra
In May 2017, it was announced that Fröst will be Chief Conductor of the Swedish Chamber Orchestra from the 2019/20 season, and he will return to the Orchestra in spring 2019. Known for artistic collaborations worldwide, this season he continues as Artistic Partner with The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, where he will perform both as soloist and conductor. At the end of last season he presented his third collaboration with the Royal Stockholm Philhmarmonic Orchestra, Retrotopia. The project is a musical journey that explores new repertoire and challenges the norms of classical music, following in the footsteps of his second critically acclaimed project, Genesis, which he performed in 2018 with the Gothenburg Symphony. Retrotopia this season is being presented by Fröst with the Bamberger Symphoniker, where he feautures as Artist in Residence, and Frankfurt in May 2019 with the hr-Sinfonieorchester where he will be Principal Guest Artist. These positions follow his success in recent seasons as Artist-in-Residence at L’ Auditori de Barcelona and at the Royal Concertgebouw in Amesterdam.
In 2018/19 Fröst will appear in some of the world’s most important concert venues, including the Barbican Hall, Konzerthaus Berlin and the Franz Liszt Academy of Music. Tour partners for the upcoming season include the BBC Symphony Orchestra with concerts in Spain and the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra in Switzerland. In 2019 Fröst will record a new album with transcriptions of baroque arias, his third recording for Sony Classical following his critically acclaimed album of Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time. Performances of the album’s content will be given at Lincoln Centre in New York and Princeton University in 2018.
Highlights of his last season included appearances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra (Gustavo Dudamel), the Montreal Symphony Orchestra (Masaaki Suzuki), NDR Radiophilharmonie (Andrew Manze), BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra (Thomas Dausgaard) and Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra (Hannu Lintu). He also returned to Carnegie Hall in New York to perform Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time, as part of a North American tour with Janine Jansen, Torleif Thedeen and Lucas Debargue.
Martin Fröst’s exceptionally rich reading of Brahms’s Clarinet Quintet from 2014 (BIS records) is a performance that reminds the listener what chamber music is about… His velvety low pianissimo is something at which he excels. Fröst shines, but he does not dominate. And the vocal qualities in his playing are answered and enriched by the other four instruments. The excellent recording captures all this admirably, giving us the privileged impression that we’re close enough to the musicians to be able to feel some of this togetherness for ourselves.
(BBC Magazine, editorial on Brahms’ Clarinet Quintet best recording, May 2019)
“You would almost have though Mr. Frost was improvising the clarinet part from the impetuous freshness of his playing. The pensive, wistful slow movement, (as played here), seemed newly profound.”
(New York Times, December 2018)
“Martin Frost is one of the finest exponents of his instrument in the world at present”
(Keith Bruce, Herald Scotland, March 2018)
“Fröst did not just perform the music, he became a reincarnation of the energetic restless laid-back Mozart… His playing was brilliantly executed with a purity and clarity that seemed to chart new dimensions for the work. Every section was well judged, every quiet moment, every fortissimo was given an emotional charge as he wove his playing into the fabric of the orchestral music.”
(National Business Review, April 2017)
“Martin Fröst’s performance of it reached similar heights. In terms of tone quality, dexterity and sheer virtuosity, Fröst does stuff with a clarinet that mere mortals should not be able to do.”
(Stuff, The Press, April 2017)
“If the Copland displayed Fröst’s virtuosic skills in a jazz-inflected context, then the Bartók and traditional Klezmer Dances turned up the heat to boiling point as a dazzling array of sounds and extended techniques were hurled across the auditorium. … a truly joyous evening of music-making.”
(Bachtrack, February 2017)
“The program featured the charismatic Swedish clarinettist Martin Frost in a fleet, brilliant account of Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto. […] he instinctively moved with choreographic grace that complemented his expressive playing. As an encore he electrified the audience with a dazzling, wailing performance of a klezmer dance by his brother, Goran Frost.”
(New York Times, August 2016)
“ ‘Roots’ is already his second large-format special program …At the live premiere in the Art Nouveau-Stockholm Concert Hall, where the Nobel Prizes are awarded, the sold out hall was raving. (And they were there) to experience this tall blonde clarinet soloist as an entertainer who was intelligent, clever, charming and also very, very good on his instrument.”
(Manuel Brug, Die Welt, February 2016)
“His concept album “Roots” (allegedly part of a larger “Genesis” project) connects Telemann to Hildegard von Bingen and goes directly to Göran Fröst (brother of the soloist). From Bartók it goes seamlessly into the Spaniard de Falla and from there to a Swedish folk … In short, courageous, curious and beautiful. And courage should — especially in this day and age, in the specialized classical landscape — be rewarded!”
(Kai Luerhrs Kaiser, Kulturradio, February 2016)
“He boldly and effortlessly breaks through both genre and temporal boundaries with fun … The compilation is like a house in which one strolls from room to room, looking at different facets and marvelling. The architect of this house has hereby created a true work of art. It resounds with Martin Fröst’s usual clarinet brilliance.”
(Crescendo, February 2016)
“The Swedish clarinettist Martin Fröst is always on the look out, always alert. On his new album “Roots”, he travels from the earliest classical roots to contemporary music … With Fröst it works perfectly — and live even better — because he is roaringly good on his instrument. Each piece drips with quality from a Klezmer arrangement by his brother Göran, folk dances by Bartok to a traditional Swedish folksong. While playing Fröst conducts the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra. His tone curls smoothly to the musical core of each of the pieces.”
(Trouw, January 2016)
“This all served to highlight the marvel that is Mozart’s clarinet concerto, which the outstanding Martin Fröst played with irresistible character on a modern version of the basset clarinet for which Mozart wrote. Fröst’s legato in the adagio was particularly fine, while the wit and dexterity of his phrasing in the rondo made it feel as if Papageno was somehow on the platform. Interplay between soloist and a much reduced orchestra was exceptional. Here, finally, were hidden, and not so hidden, depths.”
(The Guardian, October 2015)
“Musicians queue up to work with clarinettist Martin Fröst, even if it could be pointed out that it does them few favours: his extraordinarily pure tone, sinuous phrasing and seamless breathing technique tend to throw any tiny inaccuracies elsewhere on the podium into a relief they wouldn’t otherwise have had. Still, they seem happy to risk it – and audiences aren’t complaining.”
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