Jacob Mühlrad


Swedish composer Jacob Mühlrad, b. 1991, has been commissioned by Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, Radio France, Vancouver Chamber Choir, Bamberger Symphoniker and WDR Rundfunkchor Cologne. He has collaborated closely with individuals such as Olga Neuwirth, Martin Fröst, Pablo Heras-Casado and Matthias Pinscher. His inventive and emotionally resonant compositions seamlessly blend his Jewish heritage with avant-garde musical exploration, incorporating elements like microtonality and liturgical scales. Mühlrad's work covers eternal themes such as mortality, holiness, and the essence of human nature, expressing a profound connection to the foundations of the universe through music.

Particularly notable is his choral music, which authentically captures the mystical essence of Jewish tradition. Following his breakthrough with "Anim Zemirot" in 2013, Mühlrad's compositions "Time" and "Ay Li Lu" were both commissioned by prestigious choirs across four continents.

In 2021, Deutsche Grammophon released the critically acclaimed album "TIME," featuring four standout choral works performed by the Swedish Radio Choir. Among them is the profoundly personal “Kaddish” based on Mühlrad’s grandfather’s experiences in the concentration camps. Mühlrad received a 5-star review from BBC Music Magazine saying: “Time, is in fact timeless, not to mention haunting and beautiful.”

Mühlrad's repertoire expanded with the world premiere (2021) of his first large-scale orchestral work, "REMS (Rapid Eye Movement Sleep)," exploring the enigmatic realm of the unconscious dream state. This marked the beginning of a multi-year collaboration with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic. Subsequently, a short version of REMS was performed at the Suntory Hall by the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra.

In October 2023, Warner Classics released the album REMS, coinciding with a portrait concert featuring sculptures and light projections by artist Alexander Wessely. Looking ahead to 2024, Mühlrad is set to make his debut with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, presenting the premiere performance of his clarinet concerto "SEMA" featuring Magnus Holmander as soloist and conducted by Martin Fröst.

Embracing cross-genre collaborations, Mühlrad has partnered with diverse artists such as Swedish rapper Silvana Imam, Swedish House Mafia.. Additionally, he has ventured into film scoring, contributing to "Burn All My Letters," directed by the acclaimed Björn Runge (The Wife). Mühlrad's scores for theater include "Tröstrapporter (Reports of Consolation)," commissioned by The Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm, and written and directed by best-selling author Alex Schulman.

Reflecting on his artistic journey, Mühlrad shares, "I've come to realize that my creative palette extends far beyond classical confines. Drawing inspiration from my Jewish heritage, Sigmund Freud's dream theories, or even a catchy pop tune, music serves as a conduit to illuminate abstract concepts. Through this lens, I navigate life, filtering every experience and action. Music, to me, unveils the world's essence and imbues existence with meaning.”

Jacob Mühlrad studied at the Gotland School of Composition, the Royal College of Music in London, and at a master’s level at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm.