Popular Swedish Composers You Should Know
Updated: Jun 26
Sweden’s music and arts are quite interesting. There are many symphony orchestras that play modern music, and the classical one is not the only genre that is covered by musicians.
While there has been a lot of classical music composed in Sweden, the list of composers here includes those who created popular music as well as modern ones.
In this article, we're going to cover composers from Sweden you should know about. Some of the most popular names in this list are Benny Andersson and Burt Bacharach.
Benny Andersson & Björn Ulvaeus
Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus are the two Swedish composers behind ABBA. This is one of the most successful pop music groups in history. They sold well over 380 million albums around the world, out of which more than 370 were awarded platinum.
Benny Andersson was not just a member of ABBA, but he was one of its composers too. The other one is lyricist Björn Ulvaeus. Benny is also a member of the band Hep Stars and he played keyboard in The Hollies for some time too.
Björn wrote the lyrics for all the songs he and Benny composed, except for Dancing Queen.
ABBA was formed in Stockholm in 1969. The band released 9 studio albums and 16 singles as well as won many awards such as 4 Grammys and 3 Rockbjörnen. ABBA got 8th position in the English Music Hall of Fame.
After ABBA disbanded, Benny Andersson formed the group Orsa Spelmän and he also composed for Chess musical. He has also released two studio albums as a solo artist and some compilations of his music with Hep Stars and ABBA. Björn Ulvaeus meanwhile continued working with musicals, and he co-wrote Mamma Mia.
Benny was appointed to the Royal Order of the Polar Star by King Carl XVI Gustaf, becoming an Honorary Member of The Royal Swedish Academy of Music as well as a Knight of the French Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. Benny is also a board member of Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth, an Action Aid honorary member and a patron of Artister Mot Narkotika.
Burt Bacharach is one of the most popular composers from the United States whose songs have been performed mainly by well-known pop singers such as Dionne Warwick, The Beatles and Elvis Presley. Besides writing music for films, he has worked with artists like Bob Dylan, Ringo Starr and Aretha Franklin.
Burt is one of the most successful film composers in history with 6 Oscars and 10 Grammys. Burt was also inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1986. He'd written more than 40 US top 20 hits and over 30 UK top 20 singles. Burt has also composed numerous scores for film and television as well as produced albums.
Burt Bacharach first achieved notability as a musician in the 1950s as a member of the Royal Teens, but he became famous worldwide after his songwriting partnership with lyricist Hal David began in the late 1950s.
Burt wrote the soundtrack for famous films such as Casino Royale, Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid, Lost Horizon or Arthur Hiller's comedy hit What's Up Doc? with Barbra Streisand in 1972.
One of his most popular songs remains This Guy's In Love With You from 1968. Other notable songs include Walk On By, I'll Never Fall In Love Again, Alfie and Make it Easy on Yourself.
Bacharach has been married twice. His first wife was singer-songwriter Mary D'Arcy (married in 1958 - divorced in 1965) and his second wife is singer-songwriter Carole Bayer Sager (married in 1981).
Lennart's List of some other notable Swedish composers:
-Bo Linde (1953) is a singer, composer and actor. His biggest hit was the song Du är den Ende.
-Doris Renck (1963) is a German singer, actress and writer who has lived in Sweden since 1990.
-Erik Bergman (1898–1974) was a Swedish composer and author. He was the son of Robert and Karin Åkerman, brother to photographer Ingegerd. He is known as one of the founders of film music in Sweden. He wrote arrangements for hundreds of films.
-Evert Taube (1890–1976) was a Swedish author, artist, composer and singer. His songs are still very popular in Sweden, especially "Tropicale Bar" and "Sjösala vals".
-Gunnar Lundkvist (1907–1986) was a Swedish poet, writer, translator and literary critic.
-Hjalmar Peterson-Berger (1889–1963) was a Swedish composer who was known for writing music to many poems by Erik Axel Karlfeldt. His best-known work is the Requiem in Memoriam E.A.K. He also wrote chamber music, such as his string quartet Op. 5, and songs with piano accompaniment.
-Johan Helmich Roman (1694–1758) was a Swedish Baroque composer and Director of the Royal Swedish Opera. He wrote over 200 pieces for orchestra, 50 sonatas and much church music. His best-known work is the Opera Birger Jarl.
-Johan Helmich Roman (1694–1758) was a Swedish Baroque composer and Director of the Royal Swedish Opera. He wrote over 200 pieces for orchestra, 50 sonatas and much church music. His best-known work is the opera Birger jarl.
-Karl-Erik Welin (1940) is a Swedish composer, lyricist and music producer.
-Lars Larsson (1801–1878) was a Swedish author, poet, songwriter, composer and fiddler. His most well-known songs are Gluntarne, Sten Stensson Stenkula och Spel-Lill Lind-öhmans vals.
-Magnus Uggla (1952) is a Swedish pop and rock musician, composer and multi-instrumentalist who has been active since the 1970s. His most well-known songs are Å nej nu börjar klockan slå och Polsk Ballad.
-Nils Lindberg (1911–1981) was a Swedish actor, singer, director and writer. His biggest hit was the song Vårat gäng which he recorded together with Alice Babs in 1942. He also played in several films.
-Ragnar Hultén (1898–1957) was a Swedish architect from Helsinki who also wrote music.
-Robert Broberg (1970) is a Swedish composer and organist. In 2003, he composed the opera Therese for Malmö Opera and Music Theatre, which won the "Den ny musikdramatik"award by Radioteatern.
-Stig "Stocktorsk" Renberg (1948) is a Swedish organist, composer and record producer. His biggest hit was the song Det är kärleken, followed by En vals om våren in 1980.
- Thommy Berggren (1960) is a Swedish musician, composer and songwriter.
- Wilhelm Peterson-Berger (1860–1911) was a Swedish author, poet, composer and critic. His most well-known works are Blenda och Johan Ulfstjerna and Elysium.