Bengt Hambraeus (1928-2000) was born January 29, 1928 in Stockholm, Sweden. He studied organ privately with Alf Linder between 1944 and 1948 and has given organ recitals in Sweden and other countries since 1947, including the Swedish broadcast premieres on music by Oliver Messiaen and Arnold Schoenberg. Between 1947 and 1956 he studied at the Uppsala University (M.A.1950 in Musicology; Religious Studies; History of Fine Arts. PhD.1956 in Musicology). He participated in the Darmstadt Summer courses 1951-55 where some of his chamber compositions were performed, and he attended the seminars given by Fortner, Krenek and Messiaen. He was the first Swedish composer working in the electronic studios in Cologne(1955), Milano(1959), and Munich(1963). Between 1957 and 1972 he worked at the National Swedish Broadcast as a program producer; in 1964 he became the Head of the Chamber Music Department, and in 1968 the Head of Music Production. Since 1972 he has been Professor at the Faculty of Music, McGill University in Montréal, where he teaches Composition, Orchestration, Fugue, and 20th Century Performance Practice. He has published numerous critical and scholarly articles and essays in various international dictionaries and scholarly magazines; between 1954 and 1978 he was a member of the editorial boards of various Swedish music encyclopedias and periodicals. Among published books: Codex carminum Gallicorum. Une étude sur le volume Musique vocale du manuscrit 87 de la Bibliothèque de l'Université d'Uppsala (Uppsala1961).
He has written numerous works for orchestra, chamber ensembles, choir and solo instruments, The organ plays a central role in his oeuvre; in the late 50s he developed a new approach to organ composition, related to both his research in organ acoustics, and electronic music.
He has received many awards in Sweden, Denmark and Japan, including the Royal Swedish Gold Medal Litteris et Artibus in 1986. In 1985, 1989 and 1991 he was honoured at Swedish festivals in honour of his research and compositions.
Biography courtesy the Canadian Music Centre
Bengt Hambraeus's Website