GÖRAN GAMSTORP was born in Stockholm on the 17th May, 1957. He began to play the cello at an early age and in 1983 he commenced his studies at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm, where his composition teachers included Sven-David Sandström and Pär Lindgren. In the summer of 1984 he took part in Franco Donatoni’s composition course in Sienna.
Gamstorp’s music first became known to a wider audience through Snöbrev (Snow letter) for baritone and piano, which was given its first performance in 1984 at the “Young Nordic Music” festival in Malmö. The critics talked of Gamstorp’s “unusually sensitive approach” to Werner Aspenström’s text. His first commission came from the Stockholm Opera and resulted in Historien om Lulu (The Story of Lulu, 1986-87), a chamber ballet in seven scenes with prologue. Gamstorp has since been commissioned to write orchestral music, various forms of chamber music, musical drama and vocal and choral works.
He made his breakthrough as a composer in Stockholm with Growings (1989-92) for large orchestra and tape. The writer Hans-Gunnar Peterson described it as “a work about aesthetic belief and aesthetic doubt, in which highly volcanic dynamics are juxtaposed with diminuendos that die away to extremely delicate nuances.”
Gamstorp’s music has been performed in New York, Paris, London and Hong-Kong as well as in the Nordic countries. His works have been played by the Hong-Kong Sinfonietta, the French ensemble Court-circuit and the Swedish KammarensembleN, as well as the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Swedish Radio Choir.
Gamstorp has been strongly influenced by both Afro-American music and Western art music, and from 1991 onwards he has concentrated on pulse in a series of works called Puls I-VII (Pulse I-VII) where the pulse determines the entire musical development. After an extended visit to Paris (in 1995 he was the first Swedish composer to be accepted for IRCAM’s one-year course “Cursus de composition et d’informatique musicale”) he has increasingly applied harmonic principles in his compositions and united different musical elements to form a new whole with a broader perspective. This is noticeable in Shadow pulse (1996) for violin and electronics which was first performed at IRCAM in Paris in 1997.