Nordic Weeks: A Drama in the Air

Rising star Tabita Berglund conducts the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra in Britta Byström’s A Drama in the Air, inspired by a Jules Verne short story, and highlights from Geirr Tveitt’s orchestral suites A Hundred Hardanger Tunes. Norwegian cellist Amalie Stalheim also returns to Berwaldhallen in Bo Linde’s rarely performed cello concerto.

Stay for the bonus concert Wednesday September 27, beginning shortly after the regular programme, featuring four pieces by Nordic composers, including the world premiere of Madeleine Isaksson’s Vindande for oboe quartet!

The concert will be broadcasted on the Swedish Radio P2 on Friday, October 13 at 7:03 pm.


Change of soloist

Cellist Amalie Stalheim will replace Jakob Koranyi in Bo Linde's cello concerto.




The Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra is known worldwide as one of Europe’s most versatile orchestras with an exciting and varied repertoire and a constant striving to break new ground The multi-award-winning orchestra has been praised for its exceptional, wide-ranging musicianship as well as collaborations with the world’s foremost composers, conductors and soloists.

Permanent home of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra since 1979 is Berwaldhallen, the Swedish Radio’s concert hall. In addition to the audience in the hall, the orchestra reaches many many listeners on the radio and the web and through it´s partnership with EBU. Several concerts are also broadcast and streamed on Berwaldhallen Play and with Swedish Television, offering the audience more opportunities to come as close as possible to one of the world’s top orchestras.

“The orchestra has a unique combination of humility, sensibility and musical imagination”, says Daniel Harding, Music Director of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra since 2007. “I have never had a concert with the orchestra where they haven’t played as though their lives depended on it!”

The first radio orchestra was founded in 1925, the same year that the Swedish Radio Service began its broadcasts. The Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra received its current name in 1967. Through the years, the orchestra has had several distinguished Music Directors. Two of them, Herbert Blomstedt and Esa-Pekka Salonen, have since been appointed Conductors Laureate.

Tabita Berglund is currently Principal Guest Conductor of the Kristiansand Symphony Orchestra, appointed to this post following her debut engagement with the orchestra in 2020.

Highlights of 2022-2023 season included Berglund’s London debut with the Philharmonia (Royal Festival Hall), US debut/​subscription concerts with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and German debut/season-opening concerts with the Sinfonieorchester Wuppertal. Berglund also made her debut with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, Malmö Symphony Orchestra and Orquesta Sinfonica de RTVE in Madrid, while return visits included the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Finnish Radio Symphony and Bergen Philharmonic orchestras as well as her fourth guest appearance each with the Hallé and Royal Scottish National Orchestra.

2022/23 also marked the second season of Berglund’s tenure with the Kristiansand Symphony Orchestra – KSO where the repertoire and soloist highlights included Mahler’s Symphony No.1, Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No.6 and cellist Tanja Tetzlaff, while across the season Berglund also joined forces with Truls Mørk, Edgar Moreau, Stephen Hough and Randall Goosby, among others.

Berglund also made her Austrian and French debuts with the Tonkünstler-Orchester Niederösterreich and Orchestre National de Lille respectively, as well as appearances with the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, Orquesta Sinfónica de Tenerife, Luzerner Sinfonieorchester, Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra, Stavanger Symphony Orchestra, Trondheim Symfoniorkester, Norwegian National Opera Orchestra, Orquesta Ciudad de Granada and Tapiola Sinfonietta, among others.

Tabita Berglund graduated in 2019 from the Orchestral Conducting Masters course at the Norwegian Academy of Music, where she studied under Professor Ole Kristian Ruud. She originally trained as a cellist and studied to Master’s degree level under Truls Mørk, performing regularly with the Oslo and Bergen Philharmonic orchestras as well as the Trondheim Soloists before conducting became her main focus in 2015. She was the 2018–20 star of the Talent Norway programme and is a past recipient of the Gstaad Conducting Academy’s Neeme Järvi Prize.

Flerfaldigt prisbelönade cellisten Amalie Stalheim har redan etablerat sig som en av Nordens främsta samtida musiker. Vid sidan av den klassiska cellorepertoaren har hon ett starkt engagemang för att beställa och framföra nyskriven konstmusik och har samarbetat med flera av dagens främsta tonsättare: Missy Mazzoli, Anders Hillborg, Britta Byström, Therese Ulvo, Jo David Meyer, Jostein Stalheim, med flera. Bara de senaste åren har hon uruppfört åtta solokonserter och dessutom spelat in flera av dem på skiva.

Hon gör regelbundna gästspel som solist hos de främsta nordiska orkestrarna, såsom Oslo-filharmonien, Kungliga Filharmonikerna, Sveriges Radios Symfoniorkester, Islands symfoniorkester, Uleåborgs symfoniorkester och Bergens filharmoniker. Bland höjdpunkterna under säsongen 2023/24 kan nämnas konserter med symfoniorkestrarna på Island, i Ankara, i Malmö och Helsingborg, samt med Trondheimsolistene.

Amalie Stalheim var Klassiska artisten i P2 2018–2020 efter att hon vann Solistpriset 2018. 2021 vann hon även Norska solistpriset. Hon spelar på en F. Ruggieri 1687 generöst utlånad till henne av Anders Sveaas Almennyttige Fond.


Approximate timings

Översatt från engelska av Bodil Hasselgren

When I received a commission for a piece to the Malko competition 2021, my thoughts went to Jules Verne’s short story ”A Drama in the Air” (1851) – a story about a dramatic balloon ride. Just as the narrator starts the ascent of his balloon, a stranger jumps into its car. The unexpected passenger’s only intent is to take the balloon as high as possible, even at the cost of his and the pilot’s life… I have tried to capture this dangerous ascent in music, alternating with calmer passages where the narrator temporarily persuades the intruder to descend – only to be overpowered by him once more… ”You provoke me”, cries the stranger, ”and you shall no longer know whether you are rising or falling!”

Maybe there are similarities between flying a balloon and conducting an orchestra? And a conductor’s competition may in itself be regarded as a kind of ”drama in the air”, since the competitors lead the music by movements in the air!

So, how does it all end? Jules Verne concludes his story with these calming words: ”May this terrible narrative, though instructing those who read it, not discourage the explorers of the air.”


Approximate duration: 1 hr 10 mins


Stay and enjoy this approximately half-hour long bonus concert which begins shortly after the original programme. The oboe takes centre stage in these four pieces, including the world premiere of Madeleine Isaksson’s Vindande (Wind Spirit).

Emmanuel Laville, oboe
Geneviève Martineau, violin
Tony Bauer, viola
Astrid Lindell, cello

SVEN-DAVID SANDSTRÖM: Oboe Quartet, 6 min
DANIEL BÖRTZ: Kithairon, 7 min
MADELEINE ISAKSSON: Vindande – world premiere, 7 min
CARL NIELSEN: Fantasy Pieces Op. 2 (arr. Hans Abrahamsen), 6 min