Full biography

Gunnar Idenstam, concert organist, composer and folk musician, is know throughout the world for his virtuosic playing, stunning improvisations and untraditional and original take on organ music. Gunnar Idenstam aims to transcend the limitations of genre to show the organ from different perspectives, making it more popular.

He comes from a background of classical music, but has always had a "distant love relationship" with the folk and symphonic rock music of the 1970s. In his work today he has brought these different influences into the context of organ music, when he builds bridges between the 20:th century´s French cathedral tradition, symphonic rock, and Swedish folk music. He also arranges grand orchestral master pieces like Debussy´s La Mer for the organ. As a Folk musician he quite unique in his way of adapting the qualities of Swedish folk music for the organ.

To develop the wide-ranging music he creates and performs today he studied at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm. He then studied the French tradition with the legendary Marie-Claire Alain in Paris. He achieved the highest honours in both countries. In 1984 he was the first - and to date, the only - organist from northern Europe to win the 'Grand Prix de Chartres', the prestigious international competition in improvisation. Since 1986 he has pursued an international career as a concert organist and has played in venues around the world like Auditorio Nacional in Madrid, Monaco Cathedral, St Eustache cathedral in Paris, Berliner Philharmonie, Concert Hall Ivan Cankar in Ljubljana and Balboa Park Organ Pavillion in San Diego, USA. He performed regularely in Mariinsky Concert Hall in St. Petersburg, and in Zaryadie Concert Hall in Moscow.

He collaborates with other musicians like ABBA legend Benny Andersson and in popular projects like Bach in Swedish with Lisa Rydberg, violin, and Northern Dances with Erik Rydvall, nyckelharpa. Idenstam is a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music since May 2013.

Education and awards:

Masters degree of Fine Arts in Church Music at the Royal Academy of Music in Stockholm under Rune Engsö, Anders Bondeman and Torvald Torén in 1983. Soloist Diploma with distinction in 1986. 1985: Prix de Virtuosité and the special 1:st Prize (A l´unanimité et avec les félicitations du Jury) at the Conservatoire National de Rueil-Malmaison, Paris, under Marie-Claire Alain and, in improvisation, Jacques Taddei. 1:st Prize Grand Prix de Chartres in improvisation1984. Interpreter of the year 2012 (Royal Swedish Academy of Music). The royal medal Litteris et artibus in 2013.

His music and arrangements are published by Gehrmans Musikförlag.