Dimensions- the triple pianists
pianists performing together.
repertoire of specially composed music and arrangements.
sonic palette - sounds of strings, winds and percussion!
programmes from Baroque to Romantic.
problems with instruments. We bring them with us.
Art of Improvisation - Staffan Biörklund-Jullander
about a recital that's completely different? An evening of music
in a variety styles presented in words and tones.
I improvise at the piano using well-known music as the theme. And
I explain how different styles actually function.
and music evenings. I also perform improvisations at art showings
- with an art historian discussing the paintings.
My day job is as cantor and organist of the Gustav Adolf Church
in Borås which is in the west of Sweden. I was admitted to
the piano class at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm when
I was 16. My principal teacher was Professor Gunnar Hallhagen. I
studied for five years in the piano class and then for two more
years to get my teaching diploma. In 1978 I won a scholarship to
the Lizst Academy in Budapest. After that I performed for several
years in a wide variety of musical contexts - chamber music, Lied
accompanist, ballet pianist - as well as teaching. I even got to
perform on tour in China back in 1978 when I travelled with a choir
from Stockholm Cathedral as their pianist.
my duties as cantor in Borås I also compose music and have
written and arranged music for choir, organ, piano and various solo
instruments. There is a list of my published pieces on the site.
My most extended work so far is a concerto for piano and orchestra
that I finished in 1986. Improvisation has always been one of my
central interests both on piano and organ. You can hear an excerpt
from an improvisation on the famous Swedish hymn "Härlig
är jorden" (Glorious is the World) on one of my links.
Pianists and the Borås Synth Orchestra
my musical activities I am now a church musician in the Gustav
Adolf Parish in Borås teaching the piano has always
had an important place. Indeed I taught piano at the music school
in Stockholm for 17 years before coming to Borås. What has
troubled me throughout is the fact that so many people start to
learn the piano as children but are not heard playing the piano
as adults. There are queues of youngsters wanting to learn the piano.
Yet there are relatively few amateur pianists in the adult world.
Piano teachers actually spend a lot of time thinking about what
went wrong while their former pupils are frustrated at never
having quite mastered the piano. They still know the rudiments of
reading music and they can probably pick out a tune on the piano
with one hand. But the skills they have acquired do not give them
any real satisfaction. Indeed when faced with a piano they probably
feel a sense of failure. Music is a wonderful gift. Why couldnt
I ever really enjoy making music?
a child a clarinet or a trombone and after a term or two of lessons
they are ready to take a seat in a band or orchestra. If they can
recognize the notes and have mastered an octave or so of their instrument
they can be fitted into the ensemble. A school band can basically
make room for everyone. There are always harmonies to be filled
in for the beginners. Fun on five notes, so to speak! And at the
end of the concert our beginner can take her bow and feel just as
important as the principals of the band. Everyones contribution
has a real value.
pianos are not like that. They stand there alone, challenging the
beginner to master their keys. And nobody wants to be heard playing
the piano unless they can manage a melody in the right hand and
some accompanying chords in the left hand. That is without seeming
to hesitate all the time, desperately searching for the right keys
to press! A few pupils take to the piano immediately and seem to
have no problems in doing one thing with the left hand and another
with the right. But many students of the piano find progress too
slow and are tempted to give up and devote their time to pursuits
that give easier rewards. It is not only the pupil who feels frustrated.
Teachers, too, either wonder what they are doing wrong or begin
to ask whether todays children lack perseverance! But, however
one looks at the matter, the fact is that the huge investment of
time and effort that goes into teaching children to play the piano
seems often to have borne little fruit. And this is sad because
making music is one of the great joys of human existence. Almost
everyone feels that music makes the world a better place.
like Lutheran countries in general, has a great tradition of choral
singing, much of it organized by the parishes. Sweden is famous
for its elite choirs both professional and amateur performing
at the highest level. But there is scarcely a village in the entire
country that does not boast several choirs from children
to pensioners. Thanks to the excellence of the training in choral
direction offered by the music colleges in Sweden, these village
choirs often achieve remarkable musical standards with choristers
who often have no formal musical training. But the choirs also have
a vastly important social role to fill. They bring people together,
teaching them to contribute the gifts they may have and to be supportive,
rather than critical, of other people in the choir. Everyone makes
their contribution and, at the end of the day, it is the choir in
its entirety that receives the credit. There is room for all, beginners
and experts alike.
The Borås Synth Orchestra is the answer to the riddle of the
missing pianists. Like an amateur choir, it is not interested in
who is best or who can play loudest! It welcomes anyone who has
ever taken some piano lessons and who still dreams of making music.
Together! Because the Synth Orchestra enables any number of keyboard
players to perform together. It exploits the new keyboard technology
that can cram any number of different sounds or voices
into an electronic keyboard instrument that you can carry around
with you. Music can readily be arranged to suit the skills of the
members of the Synth Orchestra. All those lonely, missing pianists
suddenly realize that they actually can make music. Together. And
suddenly making music is no longer about frustration but about positive
Borås Synth Orchestra started out as an attempt to salvage
some pianistic know-how from the many adults who abandoned their
piano studies before they had mastered their instrument. I was convinced
that even the most limited skills could bring joy to the performer
if only she or he was able to use them together with other musicians.
Music should be about the joy of collaboration and communication;
not a tear-filled journey of frustration with a single piano in
an empty room!
Initially I was not so much interested in the results of the orchestra
but in the process of music making. It would be interesting to see
what might come out but that did not matter so much. Getting the
missing pianists to discover the delight of making music collaboratively
was a goal in itself. To maintain focus a goal is necessary and,
with music, this means concerts at least for family and friends!
Practice makes perfect and though perfection is not
our immediate goal, the Borås Synth Orchestra sounds remarkably
professional in concert. Audiences now have difficulty in believing
that the players are basically missing pianists with
remarkably little formal training.
intend to carry on being an orchestra for missing pianists.
So if you happen to have heard the orchestra and have decided that
theyre far too good for me, please think again!
In the Borås Synth Orchestra there is room for everyone who
ever took a piano lesson. Why not give us a try?
hesitate to contact me if you want to know more about the Borås