Between 13-18 August the Staunton Music Festival in Virginia celebrates the music of Anders Hillborg across half a dozen concerts. The focus opens with Hillborg’s Six Pieces for Wind Quintet, performed by Immanuel Davis, Roger Roe, Igor Begelman, Stephanie Corwin, and Megan Hurley. The 9-minute piece is cast in 6 condensed, highly-energetic movements; the fourth features a dizzying cadenza for bassoon.

On 15 August Minna Pensola, Jason Fisher, Michael Unterman, and Mari Lee play Hillborg’s Kongsgaard Variations (2006). The 16-minute string quartet is named for the Californian vintner John Kongsgaard and the Arietta winery, whose bottles quote the theme of the last movement of Beethoven’s final piano sonata. Hillborg writes a meditative set of variations derived from this music, drifting across a panoply of musical styles: Baroque, folk, Renaissance and Romantic.

The following day Zachary Wadsworth conducts singers from the festival in Hillborg’s The Breathing of the World (2019), with solos from Igor Begelman (clarinet) and James Wilson (cello). It will be the first performance of the 10-minute piece featuring clarinet rather than soprano saxophone solo; Hillborg’s text is both a lyrical celebration of nature as well as a melancholic reflection on ecological peril.

On 16 August Igor Begelman and Benjamin Gilmore perform Hillborg’s 6-minute Duet (2009) for clarinet and violin, as part of an audience with Hillborg. On 17 August soprano Megan Chartrand joins a string quintet of Peter Spaar, Airi Yoshioka, Mari Lee, Danielle Wiebe Burke, and Anna Steinhoff for O Dessa Ögon, a 4-minute setting of Swedish poet Gunnar Ekelöf.

The focus concludes on 18 August with the US premiere of Hillborg’s Ich ruf zu dir, herr Jesu Christ (BWV 639) for oboe and strings, a 3-minute arrangement of Bach’s chorale prelude, with Roger Roe as soloist. It appears Hillborg’s alongside Bach Materia for violin and strings (2017), a 16-20 minute piece written for Pekka Kuusisto as a companion to Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No.3, with many free and improvisatory elements. 

Anders Hillborg celebrates his 70th birthday in 2024. Esa-Pekka Salonen will lead the celebrations on 18 and 19 January in a Hillborg Jubilee concert in Stockholm with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Swedish Chamber Choir, Eric Ericson Chamber Choir, and a roster of soloists comprising Ida Falk Winland, Hannah Holgersson, Theo Hillborg, Jan-Erik Gustafsson, and Eldbjørg Hemsing. They perform Hillborg’s Liquid Marble, Violin Concerto No.2, The Breathing of the World, Sirens (for two sopranos, mixed chorus and orchestra), and Kväll (soprano and violin).

Salonen also gives audiences for the San Francisco Symphony a taste of Hillborg’s music this autumn. On 12 October Emanuel Ax joins conductor and the orchestra for the world premiere of Hillborg’s latest piano concerto. The orchestra’s 2023 opening season gala features Hillborg’s Rap Notes (2000) for three rappers, coloratura soprano, recorded sounds and orchestra.