1978 – Early beginnings, my childhood and my family
I was born in the Swedish town of Norrköping, but I grew up in Södertälje, close to Stockholm. My parents were not professional musicians, but very good hobby musicians. My father playing in a brass band and my mother singing in a choir and playing the piano. Music has been following me everywhere since my early childhood. Whether it was in the form of music being played on the gramophone, or being in church listening to the choir, or visiting the concert house in Stockholm to listen to the Philharmonics.
My grandfather, on my father’s side, was a professional musician and conductor, and his father was a great musician as well, although that wasn’t his profession. Unfortunately, he burned his candle at both ends, doing his day job and then composing and playing the piano during nighttime, barely getting any sleep. Back in the day, it was very unusual to have an opportunity to fulfill your dreams of becoming a musician. Thankfully, times have changed.
1988 – Stung by success and obsessed with music!
I started playing an instrument at the age of 10. My first instrument was the cornett. Later, I also started playing the trumpet. When I was 12 years old, I attended a Salvation army concert together with my father and grandfather. I was incredibly impressed by two young brothers that played a duet together with the brass band and I asked my father when we got home how much these guys practiced to get this good. His response was ”at least 2 hours a day.” That’s when I started practicing two hours every single day. Determined to become the greatest trumpet player in the world and take over the throne after the Swedish world-famous Håkan Hardenberger and the American Wynton Marsalis; both were my idols at the time. Luckily, when you are young, you don’t really have any fears and believe anything is possible. I sincerely believed I could be the greatest. Looking back, the decision to start practicing to be the best has probably shaped the rest of my life.
1991-1997 Beginnings in composition – what a journey
I picked music studies in both Junior High and High School. During my teenage years, I started composing and taking private lessons in Stockholm. Primarily during my time in High School. I felt it was something I was going to do for the rest of my life. I was not sure how it would turn out, but felt a deep connection with composing music and the way it was helping me express myself. During this time, I also had the privilege of learning to conduct music. I practiced with my grandfather and the Brass Band in Södertälje, as well as in school. I was conducting choirs at concerts, too.
1998-2000 The turning point
I did my military service in the armed forces wind band. This turned out to be one of the worst and one of the best years of my life at the same time. I had to quit my service after about 3 months due to physical problems while playing. To make a long story short, I was having those problems for 2-3 years straight and basically got forced to put my instrument back on the shelf. I ended up being very down and rather depressed. Fortunately, I got back on my feet after a while, and felt that composing was the way to go. Hence, I picked more intense studies and began composing more regularly. At the same time, I worked as a music teacher at a school for one year and as an assistant to a young boy with ADHD and similar issues for another year. Additionally, I was taking private lessons in composition for various composers in Stockholm and getting more pieces written.
2000-2002 Two years of pure magic
Gotland School of Music Composition. I spent two wonderful years on this magical island on the southeast coast of Sweden. We have two islands in Sweden, Gotland and Öland. I still remember the magical evenings walking home from school. Or enjoying a night out at one of the many cosy pubs, mesmerized by this medieval city with a wall surrounding it. Accompanied only by glowing lights from the windows and complete silence. I will never forget the feeling I got every time I saw the ferry leaving for the mainland. It’s beyond description. Lights disappearing in the distance. Reminding you that beyond this beautiful and peaceful paradise, there’s another world far away. During these two years, I no longer had any doubts. I knew composing music was the right thing to do.
2002-2007 Finding my own voice – keys to composition
Gothenburg University Bachelor and Master in composition. This is the period when I did a lot of experimenting and really tried to find my own voice. I studied with the help of professor Ole Lützow-Holm. He had a profound impact on me and my approach to music. I wrote a few great pieces, but I think it was a couple of years after I graduated that I felt free and empowered to compose whatever I wanted. I also had the tools to do so.
2007-2012 Family and work
I met my wife! This changed my life for the better in so many ways. We met at university. She was an exchange student and a professional violinist from Estonia. Then, our daughter Nomi was born in 2008 and everything changed again. If you are a parent, you know what I’m talking about here!
After the initial joy and amazement of suddenly having a family, the harsh reality of providing for said family got me thinking I should get a job. I did some simpler jobs and combined that with music at first, but then got into sales as I felt the need for a full-time job, something that could provide me and my family with a more stable income. Looking back, I’m not too sure this was the right decision. At least not from a music point of view. But sometimes, you just have to do what you have to do.
2012-2016 The crash
In 2012, I crashed in a massive panic attack. One big reason for this was that I had lost myself and hadn’t composed for well over a year. I got so caught up in making money and doing my day job, that I neglected both my physical and mental health. When you consider all this, the crash wasn’t such a huge surprise.
These years are, in a way, a kind-of black hole with regards to music. I don’t really know why, but I was completely focused on my full-time job in sales and trying to start a business, so the music ended up on the sidelines pretty much.
Maybe the most important year of my life so far. The year when we moved to Estonia and stayed there for 12 months. I took a leave from my full-time job and had the privilege to only focus on my own stuff. Which was primarily building my publishing business, but also composing. I had started with the publishing actvities a couple of years earlier on the side, trying it out and seeing if I could make some money off of it.
While I was in Estonia, I signed up for a program called the 100 Day Challenge. I can say with confidence that this changed my life for the better again. Looking back, I would have lost so much on the music side of things just because I got caught up with business endeavors. One session in this 100 Day Challenge is a very powerful story about how soldiers used to get letters from their spouses back home, who had no idea whether they were dead or alive, telling them they had met someone else. The lesson here is that we can’t let our dreams send us a letter one day asking where we went, why we abandoned them and why we don’t seem to love and care for them anymore. This made me realize I had to do something big with my musical talent before it’s too late. I started putting my portfolio together, finalizing old scores, making good-sounding demos (and more) since so much of this had been neglected over the years.
Finally, here we are today. You can find my portfolio on forslundmusic.com, take a look at my scores and listen to my music in mp3. I’m very happy and proud to have achieved this at long last. Having a great website with all my material and content has been a dream of mine for a long time.
The year when I’m finally getting a real website up and running, keeping it fresh with lots of material. This is a huge work in progress and I hope this page is going to serve you, as well as me, on our lifelong musical journey.
My mission is to create a service where you can find all you need to learn about contemporary music and composition. I will also make it my mission to get my music out to the masses of people interested in contemporary composed music. Showing you that it has many facets.
forslundmusic.com is going to be a living document where we constantly add new and informative, entertaining and valuable content on a weekly and sometimes daily basis. Everything from books to blog posts, podcast interviews with interesting composers and musicians, as well as scores and music you can download and enjoy.
I hope you will enjoy this musical trip and look forward to your feedback!