“Breaking Waves” is a celebration of the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in Sweden. As the battle for universal suffrage was sweeping across Europe, women claimed their right to be heard within music, and to take on the world’s biggest instrument: the orchestra.
The pieces in this unique recording were composed by female pioneers in the history of music: Clara Wieck Schumann (1819–1896), Elfrida Andrée (1841–1929), Helena Munktell (1852–1919), Ethel Smyth (1858–1944) and Lili Boulanger (1893–1918). All the works have been specially arranged for the Swedish Wind Ensemble by Anders Högstedt and were conducted by Cathrine Winnes.
The recording took place at the Musikaliska concert hall in the heart of Stockholm. The Royal Swedish Academy of Music has convened here for a number of musical and historical events over the years and the venue saw the first Swedish performance of Helena Munktell’s work Breaking Waves, during the Academy’s formal gathering. She, Elfrida Andrée and Clara Schumann were all members of the Academy. Today, Musikaliska is the home of the Swedish Wind Ensemble, and an important arena for acoustic music.
The Swedish Wind Ensemble is the largest professional civilian wind ensemble in Sweden. The orchestra has developed from a brass sextet, founded in 1906, into a modern, bold and innovative ensemble. The orchestra has actively striven for a more equal repertoire and greater gender awareness. Ever since its ‘Skip the Full Beard’ initiative in 2010, the orchestra has developed, arranged and performed a number of works written by women.
Cathrine Winnes has been the orchestra’s artistic director and principal conductor since 2015. She has been praised for her brave and unusual programming, and has been widely recognised as a broadcaster in the dual capacity of both conductor and TV presenter. She Composes Like a Man is the title of Winnes’ ground-breaking four-episode TV series and a filmed concert. As a conductor, Winnes works regularly with the symphony orchestras of the Nordic countries and at the Scandinavian opera houses.
Anders Högstedt has been the Swedish Wind Ensemble’s permanent arranger since 1996. He frequently works for musical institutions as an arranger and adapter, primarily of classical music.