Stockholm Early Music Festival

Stockholm Early Music Festival
The Stockholm Early Music Festival is the largest international event dedicated to historical music in the Nordic countries and the only festival of its kind in Sweden. Held every June, it focuses on repertoire from Medieval to Baroque music, showcasing musicians and singers from all over the world.

The term “early music” refers to a broad musical era in the history of Western art music. It generally comprises Medieval music (subdivided into ars antiqua, ars nova, and ars subtilior), Renaissance music, Baroque music, and galant music. Some scholars, however, consider that early music should include the music of ancient Greece and Rome or exclude Baroque music.

In the late 20th century there was a resurgence of interest in Medieval and Renaissance music. To satisfy this interest, Swedish composer, bandleader, music producer and music researcher Peter Pontvik inaugurated the Stockholm Early Music Festival (SEMF). First held in 2002, the festival has since become one of the leading music events in Sweden. The patron of the festival is Queen Silvia of Sweden.

SEMF strives to offer a program of known and unknown music from all over the world that highlights the diversity of early music. Its motto being “Variation and quality”, the festival features renowned Swedish and international artists who perform to promote 1,000 years of Swedish and European musical heritage.

Notable artists who’ve performed at SEMF include Jordi Savall (Spain), Andreas Scholl (Germany), Philippe Jaroussky (France), Marco Beasley (Italy), Nigel North (United Kingdom), Trio Mediaeval (Norway), Sarband (Germany), Elyma (Switzerland), Maria-Christina Kiehr (Switzerland), Kudsi Erguner (Turkey), Dialogos (Croatia), and many others.

The Stockholm Early Music Festival is a week-long event held in the historical setting of Gamla stan (the old town of Stockholm). Its program includes a series of concerts held at various venues in Stockholm’s old town (including the Royal Academy, the German Church, the Finnish Church, and the Royal Armory), workshops, seminars, and other events for both early music connoisseurs and those who are just beginning to discover the beauty of early music.

Along with the festival, SEMF runs a series of music events and activities throughout the year. They include a concert series titled Early Music LIVE!, SEMF Christmas Edition, and European Day of Early Music.

Stockholm Early Music Festival

Photo: Trond Olsen




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