Born: October 26, 1918 - Borás, Sweden
Died: February 16, 2013 - Stockholm, Sweden
The distinguished Swedish choral conductor and pedagogue, Eric Ericson, acquired his widespread musical education in the Stockholm Musikhögskolan (1941-1943), Schola Cantorum of Basel in Switzerland (1943-1949), Germany, England and the USA. After finishing his studies he was appointed in 1949 as Cantor of Jakobskirch in Stockholm, and professor in the conservatory of the city in 1953.
Eric Ericson was the conductor of three excellent chamber choirs. He formed the Stockholm Chamber Choir in 1945 (renamed in 1988 to be called the Eric Ericson Chamber Choir). This group has remained his main instrument for developing the art of a capella singing ever since. In 1951 the Swedish Radio Choir was formed on his initiative, and the post as its principal conductor and artistic leader was held by him until 1982. During the years 1951-1991 he was also principal conductor and artistic leader of the noted male choir Orphei Drängar, based in Uppsala Sweden.
In 1952 Eric Ericson became a teacher and in 1968 professor at the Stockholm Musikhögskolan (Royal University College of Music in Stockholm). For many years he was a legendary figure as professor in choir conducting there. He was an inspirational choral conductor and influential pedagogue, and has been appreciated as a particularly valued and stimulating teacher. Over the years, his international commitments became steadily more extensive.
Since his retirement from his post as principal conductor of the Swedish Radio Choir in 1982, professor Eric Ericson gave numerous master-classes over the world. He also guest conducted many leading vocal groups, such as the Netherlands Chamber Choir, Groupe Vocal de France, BBC Singers, RIAS Kammerchor, Vienna State Opera Choir. etc. He also conducted numerous performances of larger works with leading orchestras and choirs in Europe, Australia, the USA Japan, Hong-Kong and Israel. He frequently collaborated with conductors like Riccardo Muti and Nikolaus Harnoncourt and their respective orchestras.
Eric Ericson was, for the great majority of choir conductors and choir singers throughout the world, the unsurpassed master in the field of choir conducting. His entire career was devoted to choral music; his work not only gave him great acclaim to his own choirs but significantly contributed to a breakthrough in establishing the status and merit of choral music making. In 1995 he received the Nordic council Music Prize.
The Berlin Tage Spiegel warmly praised the singing of his chamber choirs, stressing the perfection of techniques and execution, the purity of tone, the flexible direction of all the voices, the richness of colour and the intensity of expression. Sergiu Celibidache considered him as ‘the grand chief of choir of our time’.