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Musical World

Helen Jahren

  • Oboist


Helen Jahren's repertoire includes not only the classics of the Baroque, Classical and Romantic eras, but she also takes a great interest in today's music. More than 50 Nordic composers, including Erik Bergman, Jouni Kaipainen, Daniel Börtz, Bent Sörensen, Anders Nilsson, Per-Henrik Nordgren and Atli Heimir Sveinsson have been inspired by her expressive command of the instrument and composed works for Helen Jahren. In September 1999 she premiered the Oboe Concerto by Poul Ruders at Queen Margarethe’s inauguration of the Royal Library in Copenhagen and next year she will premier Sven-David Sandström’s Concert Pieces for oboe and orchestra in Sweden. At present Svend Hvidtfelt Nielsen from Denmark, Olav Anton Thommessen from Norway and Jukka Tienssu from Finland are composing new concertos for her.

Helen Jahren has won several prizes in her early career, including First Prize and The Audience Prize at the Jeunesses Musicales’ International Oboe Competition in Belgrade in 1981, Prizewinner at the Markneukirchen International Music Competition in 1982 and the Swedish Composers’ Society’s Interpretation Award in 1986. She won the Biennial for Nordic Soloists in Oslo in 1984 and in 1987 she was selected to represent Scandinavia in the Louisville Symphony Orchestra’s 50-years Anniversary. In 1995 she was awarded with the Swedish ”Crystal Prize” for outstanding contributions in the field of music and in January this year she was awarded ‘Musician of the Year 2000’ by the Swedish newspaper, Expressen.

Helen Jahren has recorded on the labels BIS, Ondine, Caprice, Phono Suecia, Aurora and MAP and been awarded with the Swedish Phonogram Award in 1987 and 1986, Swedish Grammy for Best Classical Recording in 1987 as well as nominations for the International Record Critic’s Award and the Koussevitsky Award. Her discography includes concertos by Mozart, J C Bach, Ferlendis, Schnittke, Kaipainen and others, as well as chamber music by Britten, Doráti, Martinu, Krenek and Schoenberg.

Helen Jahren is professor of oboe at the Carl Nielsen Academy of Music Odense in Denmark and she has given numerous masterclasses all over the world. Since the conception of Båstad Chamber Music Festival in 1993, Helen has been the Artistic Director of the festival. In 1998 she was elected Member for Life of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music.