Bosse Johansson in memoriam

We were all sorely bereft hearing that our founder and conductor for so many years, Bosse Johansson, passed away in the morning of May 10th 2016. This is a short obituary by Bosses long time friend and colleague, Christian Ljunggren.

Bosse Johansson in memoriam

My very good friend and Swedish conductor colleague Bosse Johansson has suddenly passed away in the beautiful month of May in his home in Sweden.

Bosse was a real artist among us Swedish choral conductors and the main “theme” of his life was to state that the work with children and young voices really was a way to express deep artistic thoughts and values. He made the Adolf Fredrik Girls Choir an instrument for this artistic ambition of his, and led the choir to exceptional success in appearances all over the world. Just to take one example, I can mention the impressions he made in Hong Kong and China with the choir at several occasions. His philosophy as a conductor was to look upon the singers as individual personalities, and liberate them from the tendency to unification that can be an obvious threat when working with a choir. The sound of the choir – although consisting of young voices - was very mature. Bosse early on worked with a mixed choir, Bromma Chamber Choir, and from that time and onwards he had a great interest in contemporary music, and many Swedish composers have written work for his ensembles.

The Adolf Fredrik Music School, at which Bosse was a teacher for nearly 40 years, is a unique school and in many ways a front runner – also in the broad international perspective. With different political situations in Sweden during the years it was not always easy to keep this kind of school going, but Bosse together with his colleague Jan-Åke Hillerud, was one of the main persons to fight for the school and its existence during some of these hard times.

Bosse has several times been officially recognized for his work. He was the first conductor to be recognized as “Choral Director of the Year” in Sweden (1986), he got the prestigious “Norrbymedaljen” (1986), he became member 930 of the Royal Music Academy in Sweden (1999). He will be greatly missed not only by me and many choral director colleagues around the world, but first of all by the many singers whose life, I am sure, changed during the years they sung in his choirs.

Christian Ljunggren