English bio

The composer Katarina Leyman, originally from the Island Orust on the west coast of Sweden, now lives and works in Stockholm. Her main instrument is the piano. During the years 1989-1995 she studied music in Boston, USA. During the first year her focus was on jazz and playing the piano, both classical and jazz. Then she turned to film scoring and finally to contemporary classical composition. She got a dual bachelor's degree in film scoring and composition at Berklee College of Music in 1993 and a master's degree in composition at New England Conservatory of Music in 1995. Back in Sweden she studied music theory pedagogy and composition at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm from 2002 to 2005. Her diploma concert took place in 2006.


Color and texture, shape and movement are often starting points, and form-building elements in her music. Ideas for compositions can emanate from various natural phenomena such as fish moving in shoals, DNA chains, water molecules, volcanic activities and clouds…


Her music has been performed in Europe, the USA, South America and Russia, at different music festivals such as Baltic Sea Festival 2010, ISCM World New Music Days Zagreb 2011, Nordic Music Days Reykjavik 2011, the Brass festival Signal Gävle 2014, Saxå chamber music festival 2015 and Sound of Stockholm 2016. Her music for orchestra has been performed by the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, the Swedish Radio Symphonic Orchestra, Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, the NorrlandOpera Symphony Orchestra, Gävle Symphony Orchestra, the Wermlandsopera Symphony Orchestra and Västerås Chamber Orchestra, led by conductors such as Sakari Oramo, Santtu-Matias Rouvali, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Paul Mägi, Simon Crawford Phillips, Andrew Manze, Martin Yates, Michael Bartosch, Glen Mossop, Jaime Martín, Daniel Cohen, Stefan Asbury, Damian Iorio, Rumon Gamba, Joana Carneiro and Luca Pfaff. 


Katarina is the composer in residence for the Västerås Chamber Orchestra for the concert season 2022/2023 when four pieces, both old and new, will be performed. The main work is a commission for a viola concerto. 

Undulating Blue, a commission for the Swedish Radio Symphonic Orchestra was premiered in Berwaldhallen 2019 and subsequently nominated for The Swedish Music Publishers Association Award. During the period 2012 to 2015 Katarina was the NorrlandOpera Symphony Orchestra composer in residence. Part of the assignment was four commissions for the orchestra: Concerto for Orchestra: An Odyssey; Clarinet Concerto: Verdure (nominated for the Swedish Music Publishers Association Award 2015); Roller Coaster: Super 8, part of the NorrlandsOpera project Beethoven & Beyond 2014; and Transient Skies, a large scale work for the orchestra in four movements (nominated for the Swedish Music Publishers Association Award 2013). 2014 the orchestral piece King of Clouds second prize at ”the Eight Russian composition contest in the memory of Andrey Petrovs”, St. Petersburg. 


Katarina often collaborates with different musicians and ensembles in varied chamber music projects. The chamber music repertoire includes pieces for a range of solo instruments and ensembles of varied format. 2019 the CD Vattenklanger, a portrait CD featuring some of her chamber music was released. During the season 2017/18 Tales of Lost Times for solo viola was performed all over Europe. The piece was a commission by the Stockholm Concert and ECHO (European Concert Hall Organisation) for the ECHO Rising Star.


The major breakthrough was Solar Flares for large symphony orchestra, a commission by the Swedish Radio Berwaldhallen premiered during the Baltic Sea Festival 2010.