Arne Otto Birger Mellnäs

From Wind Repertory Project
Arne Otto Birger Mellnäs

Arne Otto Birger Mellnäs (30 August 1933, Stockholm, Swed. - 22 November 2002, Stockholm) was a Swedish composer.

Arne Mellnäs studied at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm 1953-1961, where he first passed the music teacher examination in 1958 and thereafter studied composition with Erland von Koch, Lars-Erik Larsson, Karl-Birger Blomdahl and Bo Wallner. Mellnäs then studied music theory until 1963. He travelled abroad during this time, and studied composition with Boris Blacher in Berlin in 1959, Max Deutsch in Paris in 1961 and György Ligeti in Vienna in 1962. The latter proved to be of decisive influence on Mellnäs. He also studied electronic music during the following years.

Mellnäs visited Gottfried Michael Koenig at Bilthoven in Holland 1962-1963 and worked at the Tape Music Center in San Francisco in 1964. He taught music theory at Stockholm Citizens’ School 1961-63 and in 1963 he was employed at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm where he taught orchestration from 1972 to 1986. He was chairman of the Swedish section of the ISCM 1983-96, and a member of the board of the Society of Swedish Composers 1979-89. He was elected member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music in 1984, and was president of the International ISCM from 1996 to 2002.

The important position that Arne Mellnäs holds as a technical innovator and introducer of avant-garde styles to Swedish music can hardly be overestimated, given the breadth of his understanding of the capabilities of different instruments. The results of his explorative energy during the expansive 1960s crystallized into a personal musical language full of diverse moods. Nocturnes is one of his best works as far as chamber music clarity and perfect sentiment is concerned. The choral work L’Infinito is characterized by a strong radiance and vibrating beauty, rich in nuance.

Works for Winds