In this video, composer Anders Hillborg discusses his Vaporized Tivoli, performed at MusicNOW on Oct. 21, 2013.

    Duration: 9 minutes
    Instrumentation: large ensemble
    Commissioned by Ensemble Modern and dedicated to Franck Ollu
    Premiered by Ensemble Modern and conducted by Franck Ollu on Sept. 14, 2010, at the Sacrum Profanum Festival in Krakow, Poland.
    Copyright/Publisher Information: Edition Peters/Frankfurt

    The composer writes:

    “In Europe the word ‘tivoli’ is used in the same way as amusement park, funfair or carnival is used in America. A main idea for the first part of Vaporized Tivoli is the image of kids running around in a tivoli with the (for grown ups) incredible speed and energy only kids can have, trying out all the marvelous attractions that the tivoli offers — here’s a roller-coaster, let’s try that! — now for a carousel, wow, and look here, a bunch of junk that we can bang on…

    “After about six minutes this ecstatically joyful character suddenly changes — it’s as if a plug is pulled, and all the speed and energy is pouring out into a lush, strangely beautiful and much more ambiguous soundscape. Here, a more sinister association to tivoli was lurking in the back of my mind — in my teens I read Ray Bradbury’s novel Something Wicked This Way Comes, a story combining elements of fantasy and horror, about a nightmarish traveling tivoli that comes to town and prey on the people there. Finally, the music literary vaporizes, while accompanying an eerily sentimental melody line played by the double bass.”

    About the composer:

    Anders Hillborg was born in Stockholm in 1954. He gained his first musical experience singing in choirs and was also involved in various forms of improvised music. From 1976 to 1982, he studied counterpoint, composition and electronic music at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm, where his teachers included Gunnar Bucht, Lars-Erik Rosell, Arne Mellnäs and Pär Lindgren. Brian Ferneyhough, who was a guest lecturer at the College of Music on several occasions, was another important source of inspiration. Apart from occasional teaching positions, Hillborg has been a full-time freelance composer since 1982. His sphere of activity is extensive, covering orchestral, choral and chamber music, as well as film scores and pop music.

    Hillborg’s orchestral music has been performed by many major conductors, including Esa-Pekka Salonen, Alan Gilbert, Gustavo Dudamel, David Zinman, Andrey Boreyko, Yannick Nézet-Seguin, Michael Gielen, Leif Segerstam, Jukka-Pekka Saraste, Susanna Mälkki, Hannu Lintu and John Storgårds.

    The following orchestras have performed or commissioned Hillborg’s works: Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Swedish Radio Orchestra, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra and Berliner Philharmoniker.

    Other notable musicians he has worked with include clarinetist Martin Fröst, mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter and choir conductor Eric Ericson.

    For more information about the composer, visit