1. When did you first realize you were a composer? Was there some event or series of things that told you this is what you wanted to do with your life?
I guess I did at an early stage, in fact when I saw music notation for the first time, it was fascinating, I recall. My first performance (by other than myself) was when I was 20.
2. Tell me about studying at the Royal Academy of Music. How has your work as an organist affected your composing?
As an educated organist you have to deal with a lots of occasions where your skill to arrange and compose will make a difference. Lots of well known composers worked as organists themselves, including Bach, Mozart and others. As I mostly composed sacred music one could say that it certainly had a great impact on my composing, being an organist.
3. Who were some of your early influences? Who are some of your current influences?
My early influences were contemporary Russian music, like Stravinsky, Prokofiev and so on. Brahms and Bach are two favorites and French masters like Duruflé, Debussy, but also Prince (!), Blues and other stuff plays a big role in my music.
4. Tell me how your study of the printed score is part of your work.
That's how you learn your trade. Study, read scores!
5. Tell me about how jazz influences your work.
Jazz, pop and blues have a big place in my heart. It is maybe not directly heard, but if you listen more closely you will find it here and there. It's impossible not be affected by the things you really love.
6. How has you music evolved over the past few years?
Because I started out as a full-time organist in 1986 I was too busy in the beginning to make room for my own music. When I composed my biggest piece in 2004: The St. Mark Passion, it was kind of a breakthrough. Since then everything has gone very fast since I'm now 8 years older and one of the most published and performed composers in Sweden. The world is waiting :)
I would very much like to get my music more played in the States, and it seems this will happen, even if it does not get there as fast as I want it to.
7. What is your favorite type of ensemble to compose for?
Choir a cappella and organ music (I'm sure I would love to do more orchestral and chamber music - but time does not allow that for the moment)
8. When you decide on a project like the Requiem, what draws you to such an idea? Do the literary images suggest the music or vice versa? How important is narrative in your music?
The Requiem started with the fact that my best friend, Patrik Runeke, died at only 37 years old of a horrible disease. I wanted to express that in some way, and music was something natural for me to handle the grief and mistrust I felt. I also wanted to combine the traditional Latin lyrics with new Swedish words reflecting on these old ancient words. So in the work you hear both Swedish (this time translated to English) and Latin, sometimes at the same moment.
9. Is there a sort of dream project that you would like to be able to create?
10. What does the future hold for Fredrik Sixten?
Hopefully a healthy life with many new projects and of course performances. I'm very grateful towards Erik Ochsner and SONOS for giving me the opportunity to hear my Requiem, a work which I hold as one my best works, in New York - a city I just adore.
Visit Fredrik Sixten online, hear examples of his music and see his discography at http://www.fredriksixten.se/flash/indexeng.html.
See an interview with the composer at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=beky4IuIcNY&noredirect=1.
Hear his Ave Verum Corpus at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6_sZoFm8uS0.
Hear his There is No Rose of Such Virtue at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vg8x1I7xc28.
Hear his Postludio at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nz2UDmbDFTE.