World-famous conductor Lindberg livens up Swedish National Day in Ankara

World-famous conductor Lindberg livens up Swedish National Day in Ankara

Emine Kart - ANKARA
World-famous conductor Lindberg livens up Swedish National Day in Ankara The Embassy of Sweden in Ankara has celebrated Sweden’s National Day with a recital and reception at Bilkent Concert Hall on May 27, featuring world-famous Swedish trombonist and conductor Christian Lindberg and the Bilkent Symphony Orchestra.

Hosted by Ambassador Lars Wahlund and his spouse Helena Gustavsson Wahlund, the event brought together representatives from different segments of the Swedish-Turkish society, political sphere, business community, civil society, academia, cultural life and foreign missions.

Since 1983, Sweden has celebrated its National Day on June 6. Delivering opening remarks before the concert, Wahlund said he preferred to host the event a few days earlier, because he assumed it would not be appropriate to host such an event in the holy month of Ramadan, which this year starts on June 6.

“To celebrate the National Day in Sweden is something new, not more than 10-15 years. We might have been inspired by our neighbors the Norwegians, who do that very thoroughly on May 17, but also on a more serious note that Sweden [has come] from having been one of the more homogeneous countries in Europe today to having a population of 17 percent first- or second-generation migrants. Then it’s good to have a day which symbolizes and unifies Sweden. There are today percentage-wise as many Syrians in Sweden as in Turkey and 2 percent of the population originates from Iraq, to give you some examples,” Wahlund said.

“Then I said that the real National Day is June 6 but that is also the beginning of Ramadan which makes it less pertinent this year for a National Day celebration. Therefore we decided to [do] it a little bit earlier and to combine it with the visit of Christian Lindberg - the world’s leading solo trombonist, who will perform with the Bilkent orchestra. Christian is also an example that it is never too late start something new. He picked up the trombone first when he was 17 years [old],” he said.

Lindberg’s achievements for the trombone can only be compared with those of Paganini for the violin or Liszt for the piano. Having premiered over 300 works for the trombone and over 90 major concertos recorded over 70 solo CDs, as well as an international solo competition created in his name, he was voted brass player of the 20th century side-by-side with Miles Davis and Louis Armstrong.

The concert was followed by a reception with Swedish delicacies.

The event was sponsored by a number of Swedish companies, including Ericsson, Telia Company, Volvo, SKF, Autoliv, IKEA, Saab, Sandvik, Scania, Securitas and ABB.

The day when Swedes mark their National Day, June 6, is the date on which Gustav Vasa was crowned king in 1523, which laid the foundation of Sweden as an independent state, and on which a new, important constitution was adopted in 1809.

The original idea came from Artur Hazelius, who founded the Skansen open-air museum in Stockholm and held a National Day celebration there on June 6 as early as the 1890s. 

At the 1893 World Fair in Chicago, Sweden presented Midsummer Day as a form of the Swedish National Day, so in the 1890s Sweden celebrated the occasion twice a year.

In 1916, June 6 became Swedish Flag Day, celebrating the fact that Sweden had acquired its own flag following the dissolution of the union with Norway in 1905.