Hans-Ola Ericsson

Academic title(s): 

Professor, Organ & Church Music, Area Coordinator

Early Music
Organ & Church Music
Contact Information
Email address: 
hans-ola.ericsson [at] mcgill.ca
Area Coordinator

Music Director Examination (Church Music), Royal Swedish Academy of Music

Graduate Diploma in Organ Performance, Hochschule für Musik Freiburg

Graduate Diploma in Composition, Hochschule für Musik Freiburg


Hans-Ola Ericsson – Pedagogue, Organist, and Composer. Hans-Ola Ericsson was born in Stockholm in 1958. He studied composition and organ mainly in Stockholm and Freiburg but later also in the USA and in Venice. Most influential among his teachers have been Klaus Huber, Brian Ferneyhough and Luigi Nono.

In 1989 Hans-Ola Ericsson was appointed chaired professor in the church music and organ area at the School of Music in Piteå at Luleå University of Technology, Sweden, a position he has held since then.

In the summer of 1990 he was instructor at the summer course for new music in Darmstadt (Darmstädter Ferienkurse) and was awarded the prestigious Kranichsteiner Musikpreis. He has held guest professorships in Riga, Copenhagen, Helsinki and Amsterdam, as well as lectured and performed at a large number of leading organ festivals and academic symposia worldwide, persistently campaigning for the quality of new music and its right to be heard.

In 1996 Hans-Ola Ericsson was appointed permanent guest professor at the Hochschule für Künste in Bremen, Germany.

Hans-Ola Ericsson has given concerts throughout Europe as well as in Russia, Japan, Korea, the USA, and in Canada. He has made numerous recordings including a highly acclaimed complete recording of Olivier Messiaen´s organ music. In 1999 the influential German magazine Die Zeit named this complete recording one of the 111 most important recordings for the next millennium (http://www.zeit.de/1999/01/111_Platten_fuer_das_naechste_Jahrtausend). Music from the 20th Century has been in focus for Ericsson’s recordings, mostly on the Scandinavian label BIS, however also recordings of organ and chamber music from the romantic and the baroque era have been very well received.

Currently, Hans-Ola Ericsson, is working on an extensive recording project focusing on chamber- and organ solo works by Johann Sebastian Bach for the Norwegian record label, Euridice. These recordings will be released during 2011 and 2012.

Hans-Ola Ericsson has been engaged in extensive work together with, among others, John Cage, György Ligeti, Bengt Hambraeus and Olivier Messiaen on the interpretation of their works for organ. He is frequently engaged as a jury member in international organ competitions. In 2011 he is engaged for the competitions in Nürnberg and München (ARD).

During the last decade, a number of compositions by Ericsson have been premiered. Among these the following can be mentioned: In 2000 his Organ mass “The Four Beast’s Amen” for organ and electronics as commissioned and premiered for the inauguration of the prestigious research organ in Göteborg (GoArt). The Church Opera “Höga visan – en kyrkoopera” (Song of Songs – a Church Opera) for two singers, two dancers, one actor, percussion, electronics and organ was premiered in 2004.

In 2008 “Sub speciae aeternitatis” for piano, percussion and chamber orchestra was premiered by Norrbotten Chamber Orchestra and also broadcasted by the Swedish National Radio.

In 2009 incidental music to Hans Henny Jahnn´s play Neuer Lübecker Totentanz for 9 actors, percussion, electronics and organ was premiered and performed in Herford, Lübeck and Hamburg.

In 2011 a “Stabat Mater” for women’s choir, four clarinets, two percussionists, and organ was premiered in Bodø, Norway, being a commission from the Norwegian Board of Culture.

Beside his artistic and pedagogical activities, Ericsson is also deeply involved in different projects aiming at either restoration of historical organs or innovative organ building projects. He served as the project leader of the ”Övertorneå-project”, an exhaustive documentation, two reconstructions and a restoration of the most important instrument of the Swedish Baroque, the organ of the German Church in Stockholm, a project that took place between 1992 and 1999.

At the School of Music in Piteå, Sweden, he currently works as the project leader with an innovative organ project which will result in an organ for the 21st Century, scheduled to be inaugurated in October 2012. (www.acusticumorgan.com)

In the spring of 2000 he was named a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music and he received the Swedish Society of Composers interpretation prize in 1999. He was from 2002 until 2006 Principal Guest Organist of the Lahti Organ Festival in Finland. From 2005 he is artistic consultant for the Bodø International Organ Festival in Norway. In 2009 he was awarded wine knighthood in the German town of Oppenheim.