"There are no detours or easy ways out. You just have to make the music you crave for."
Johan Ramström grew up in Strängnäs. He did get a saxophone instead of a moped when he turned fifteen, and yes, music was important, but not yet more important than visual art and film. The wish to become a composer came to him much later in life. After technical pre-college and a few years of music courses at Skurups Folkhögskola he played in different groups; mixtures of pop, covers and dance music. One week in Sälen, standing too close to the cymbals night after night, he injured his ears. Later in Stockholm he went to hear the Radio Symphony Orchestra at a concert in the Berwald hall and discovered the acoustic music for himself, the untampered tones of the instruments, a complex world of sounds and silences.
Johan went to study composition with two internationally well established composers: Anders Nilsson at Birkagårdens Folkhögskola and Jan Sandström at Piteå College of Music / Luleå University of Technology 1996 – 2006.
I have a musician’s relationship to music. It is what you hear that is important, the ideas behind and the intentions of the composer, are more or less unimportant in the finished piece. I value simplicity and clarity. Contemporary art music has gone through so many changes during the 20th century. Our time calls for something else, perhaps we long for music that speaks to our emotions. Inspiration comes to me when I am in a situation where I feel the need to do something about it. Lately inspiration often came from prose and poetry. It is exciting how poetry besides being dense and concentrated also generates rhythm and melody.
Johan Ramström has received commissions to write music for all kinds of ensembles; Symphony Orchestras, solo instruments, tape pieces as well as art installations.
Johan Ramström is also a frequent composer of film music, a media that caught his interest already in his teens. He has expanded the creative expression by also making the film, not just the music. The short film Thanks / Tack – together with dancer Peo Rask in deserted industry yards – received the Experimental Film Prize of Umeå International Film Festival. The experimental art film Traumwerk – Duo Gelland performing James Dillon’s violin duo Traumwerk Book I with the camera dancing around them like a third member of the ensemble – was honoured with the German Music Critics Annual Award 2008.
2008-2015 he worked as associate professor of composition at the Piteå School of Music / Luleå University of Technology.
Since 2012 he is lecturer in filmscoring at the Royal Academy of Music in Stockholm.
In 2002 Johan was appointed Artistic Director of the international music festival, Festspel i Pite Älvdal.
(Text by Cecilia Gelland)