– OCTOBER 2022 –
World premiere postponed – Melancholia – Royal Swedish Opera
Due to a stage technician’s tragic, fatal accident on the stage of the Royal Swedish Opera, the premiere has been postponed until October 21, with five remaining performances after that. The show will be filmed for TV by EuroArts.
All the information, cast and tickets can be found by clicking here.

Romeo och Julia
Unga Klara, Stockholm. Director: Gustav Deinoff. Choreographer: Mari Carrasco. Premieres on Oct 13 2023. A very fresh take on the Shakespeare classic. Pre-recorded music by me, recorded with the New Thread Quartet (saxophones) in NYC. The music will be released on streaming services.

– JULY 2022 –
World premiere – Melancholia – Royal Swedish Opera
11 performances of this new grand opera for the Royal Swedish Opera. Music by me, and libretto by Royce Vavrek. 
Orchestration by Michael P. Atkinson and Mikael Karlsson. The world premiere is October 7 2023, with a run of 11 performances Oct 7 to Nov 4 2023.
All the information, cast and tickets can be found by clicking here.

– FEBRUARY 2022 –
Performances in the new year
Briefly, here are the runs of pieces, new and old, of mine (and collaborators of course)

February 17, 2022 – “Frailty of Man“, Artipelag. Immersive installation made with Alexander Ekman and Carina Nildalen.
April 1 2022 – “Escapist“, Royal Swedish Ballet, Stockholm, Royal Swedish Opera. Alexander Ekman ballet.
June 2022 – “A Swan Lake“, Oslo Opera House, Norwegian National Ballet. Alexander Ekman Ballet.
August 2022 – “Coppelia In The Digital Age“. New ballet by Morgann Runacre-Temple and Jessica Wright for the Scottish National Ballet. Score by Michael P. Atkinson and me as co-composers. Premieres at the Edinburgh International Festival Aug 14 2022.
October 2022 – “Hotel“. New ballet by Morgann Runacre-Temple and Jessica Wright for the Birmingham Royal Ballet. Score by me, co-orchestrated with Michael P. Atkinson. Premieres Oct 21 2022.
Fall 2022 – “Remind Me I’m Not Dead“, a dance piece by Mari Carrasco for the Skåne Dansteater,
Fall 2022 – “Hammer”, by Alexander Ekman for the Gothenburg Opera Dance Company. Premieres Oct 29 2022

– MARCH 2021 –
MELANCHOLIA – THE OPERA (a note from the beginning)
After a long year of a lot of premieres despite the pandemic, the time has come to start the work on my next big project – an opera version of Lars von Trier’s film Melancholia, with a libretto by the always wonderful Royce Vavrek. I received the first version a few weeks ago, and let me tell you… it’s a dream. Challenging, funny, dark, wild, hallucinogenic and not at all easy for me to work with… so I have to figure it out, test things, really try to go further than before. In other words, it’s just right. I may slow down the pace of other projects now, to give this one the space it needs.

If you like my music, don’t miss this one. See you in the fall of 2023 at the Royal Swedish Opera.

– FEBRUARY 2022 –
Frailty of Man – Artipelag, Stockholm
This is a new piece by Alexander Ekman, Carina Nildalen and myself. It is financed by the Micael Bindefeld foundation through an award given to Alexander to make a piece to commemorate the Holocaust. I have written 2 hours of new music, and the piece is an immersive installation on a 2 hour loop with actors, sculptures and massive visuals. The music is mixed in 8 channels and features the string players Nick Revel, Clarice Jensen and Hamilton Berry, and was recorded at the Oktaven Audio studio in NYC. It premieres on February 17 2022 at the art museum Artipelag, situated in the Archipelago 20 minutes outside of Stockholm, Sweden. Costumes by Henrik Vibskov!

– OCTOBER 2021 –
PLAY AT THE Paris Opera
Alexander Ekman’s full evening ballet PLAY (with music by me) is currently playing a second run at the Paris Opera. 17 performances, all sold out, and it’s the first piece that the Paris Opera Ballet presents after the pandemic shut-down. Callie Day is back as the lead vocalist, the music ensemble is mostly the same, and the new musicians are wonderful. The dancers are in top form. The sound team is incredible as always. It was a genuine thrill to see it all come together after the many months of small or canceled shows. At the end of this run 64,000 people will have seen the show at the Paris Opera since its premiere in 2017. The music is available on all streaming platforms. We’ve made some improvements on the piece since last time.

– JANUARY 2021 –
“It is actually a pretty brilliant song cycle – think Björk with more vigorous singing and more luxurious orchestration – which hopefully will have a long life.”…”[the close collaboration with Vavrek and Karlsson] paid off because when von Otter sings the three epic songs she does it with complete devotion, wrapping herself in the music.”…”How can Anne Sofie von Otter be this good?” – Dagens Nyheter, Nicholas Ringskog Ferrada-Noli, February 19 2021.
Here used to be the world premiere of the song cycle So We Will Vanish with text by Royce Vavrek and music by me, written for the incredible Anne Sofie von Otter and commissioned by and performed with the Swedish Chamber Orchestra and their artistic director Gregor Zubicky. The video has been taken down now, though. The live version will be announced for 2022, so it will be back. The three songs – Doggerland, Firehawks, and Saint Helena Olive – are about nature’s destruction by nature itself and are stories told by three trees in three different types of calamity.
The title of the cycle is a Werner Herzog quote, in which he talks about how we as species are designed to self-destruct. Nothing is permanent and to vanish and go extinct is every species’ destiny in the end.
Doggerland is a song about the sunken land outside the coast of England that once housed mammoths, tigers, lions and a tremendous forest. One of the trees in that forest, now embedded into the ocean floor, sings to us about the day the waves came.
Firehawks describes a type of bird that uses fire as a tool to hunt for prey. They pick up burning twigs in bush fires and drop them into bushes and trees to put them on fire and thereby force the animals hiding there to escape, giving the birds an opportunity to hunt them. Here, a tree that sees the bird descending from the sky with fire in its mouth, describes the horror and how it will soon be consumed by the flames.
Saint Helena Olive is a type of olive tree that went extinct in nature in the early nineties (it only ever grew on the island of Saint Helena). A single specimen remained in a garden on the island, and botanists spent decades trying to multiply the tree through seedlings, but nothing worked, and in 2003, the last tree died. This is her song.
Orchestration by Michael P. Atkinson and me.

– NOVEMBER 2020 –

Alexander Ekman’s double bill at the Royal Swedish Opera “Shift / Cacti” is running until January. Because of the high demand for tickets, more than twenty extra shows were added. The music for Shift is by me. It will be released as an album shortly.
Farnaz Arbabi’s dramatization of Johannes Anyuru’s novel “They will drown in their mothers’ tears” will be performed at Unga Klara from October 29, with a score by me. The show will then tour to Uppsala, Gothenburg and Malmö.
This show, too, was sold out, but with the increased allowed audience numbers, more tickets can now be released.
Both scores feature a string trio: viola and two cellos, performed by Nick Revel, Clarice Jensen and Hamilton Berry, and recorded at Oktaven Audio in NYC.

– JULY 2020 –

My longtime collaborator Niklas Alexandersson (videographer on Trespassing, photographer of most my photos) made four videos to go with the four pieces from “Rooms”. They’re on the theme of rooms outdoors. I love these videos. They’re meditative, strange and really beautiful.
They are all streaming on YouTube now. Please see older news posts for more info about the “Rooms” album from which these pieces are taken.

– MARCH 2020 –

This is the music from Alexander Ekman’s immersive piece “Rooms” which premiered in 2017 with the Norwegian National Ballet, on the main stage of the beautiful Oslo Opera House. The audience was invited to walk on the stage and all of the gigantic backstage area, where many dozens of platforms were placed, with dancers performing on top of them. In the middle were five grand pianos, with pianists Sigstein Folgerø, Thomas Knudsen, Charles Rinaudo, Zelina Sannum and Yoko Toda. They played 24 minutes of music over the course of the 60 minute piece. All of that music was recorded the day after the last performance. Because mixing five pianos layered on top of one another is very difficult in a single stereo file, I needed some time to make it sound good. Now it’s here. I love these performances, and I hope you do too.

– MARCH 2020 –

ROOMS premiered at the Oslo Opera House with the Norwegian National Ballet in 2017. It’s taken me a while to get the mix and master right for this music, but now it’s finally up on all streaming platforms. Five pianos, four pieces. This is a video by Jørund Langeggen from the recording session with the extraordinary pianists Sigstein Folgerø, Thomas Knudsen, Charles Rinaudo, Zelina Sannum and Yoko Toda. Full list of credits in the video. More videos by Niklas Alexandersson are coming.

– FEBRUARY 2020 –

Late summer and fall 2020, I once again join the punky and psychedelic, avant-garde folk duo wonder Siri Karlsson (Cecilia Österholm, Maria Arnqvist) and special guests Katarina Henryson and Karin Hellqvist for our full-length concert collaboration TRESPASSING. This is a performance (I will even sing a little) in the form of a “visual concert” and we’re now touring around Sweden. The concert is a trip into the depth of the woods, after the trance of a forest rave turns into something much more sinister and free. Aggressive synths, key harps, a chamber choir, saxophones, drums, trombones, the haunting voices of Maria and Cecilia, prismatic rhythms and driving energy meet the visuals of Niklas Alexandersson (my long-time collaborator and photographer) and the set and costumes of Majli af Ekenstam and Hanna Rönnbäck. More info soon, but we’re confirmed for Storsjöyran Music Festival on Aug 1, and Stora Teatern, Gothenburg on Oct 26.

– NOVEMBER 2019 –
This is my third piece with choreographer Daniel Proietto. An evening length ballet with a score for orchestra and electronics and with the amazing dancers of Ballet Vlaanderen. The world premiere is January 25 2020 in Antwerp. Please see performance calendar to the right for dates and info about the show. It’s going to be something very special, I think. Lots of fun, surprises, dark humor, politically incorrect topics, beauty and adventure. Read more about Rasa and book tickets.

– APRIL 2019 –

Alexander Ekman’s full evening ballet with music by me, costumes by Henrik Vibskov and dramaturgy by Carina Nildalen, is currently playing its world premiere run at the Royal Swedish Opera with the Royal Swedish Ballet. We’re so happy about the fantastic reactions from the audiences and critics. The run is only  shows, running through April 2019. Here are reviews from all the major Swedish newspapers:

Svenska Dagbladet
Dagens Nyheter

– JANUARY 2019 –

Anna von Hausswolff and I wrote the music for the Nobel Prize Banquet divertissement 2018. We chose the theme of Courage. The divertissement is always in 4 acts. Act 1 was the song Amends and Act 2 the song Courage. Two dancers were introduced in Act 2 – Desislava Stoeva and Jérôme Marchand, choreographed by Nicolas Le Riche. Act 3 had music by me with the two dancers performing, followed by the dessert parade, by me.
James Grossmith conducted the Royal Swedish Orchestra and 10 basses from the Royal Opera Choir. I played piano and pipe organ.
Orchestration of all music by Michael P. Atkinson and me.
Produced by Marie-Louise Sid-Sylwander, Ingmar Bergman Jr., and Tove Asplind. Orchestra Manager, Helle Solberg. Sound by Lars Wern. Lights by Per Sundin. Anna’s dress by Helena Lundström.
Anna and I will keep working together to expand these songs into something larger.

Here is Act 2 – “Courage”

– FEBRUARY 2018 –

The reviews are in for the chamber opera The Echo Drift which premiered at the PROTOTYPE festival in NYC in January 2018. Here a few of them:

The Observer:
“Everything about this presentation was virtuoso, from the psychedelic snarls and slithers in composer Mikael Karlsson’s orchestra writing to the sly, ironic whispers of actor John Kelly as the Moth. But the heart of the piece was the bravura singing of Blythe Gaissert as the panicky prisoner, her smoky mezzo biting into the wide-ranging and relentless vocal part with the violent abandon of a starving shark.” – James Jorden
Link to full review

Opera News:
“Karlsson’s music is a haunting mixture of acoustic and electronic sound. The vocal line is through-composed and lyrical, effectively conveying the text. His colorful music covers the spectrum from the tonal through the very dissonant, all the way to pure noise. In all these varied utterances, the music is fully at the service of the drama.” – Arlo McKinnon
Link to full review

The New York Times:
“Stark and intricate, propulsive and a little film-noir, “The Echo Drift” is most exciting when it is fast and cacophonous, nearly overwhelming the senses.” – Laura Collins-Hughes
Link to full review

I Care If You Listen:
“Mikael Karlsson’s music deftly avoided a sense of both meter and ambiguity, underscoring and propelling the stark plot without making it linear. The score was modest, absorbing, and lush; sweeping gestures including bassoon, bass and alto sax, and double bass were punctuated by surprisingly prickly harp and a cello that echoed Walker’s emotional peaks. A stronger meter emphasized her obsessive details about clock mechanics, she dribbled soup from her spoon to a downward electronic sloop, and the instruments surged upwards during an exciting moment of thunder and lights. Still, the snippets of text painting were woven into something wider and more liquid.” – Lana Norris
Link to full review

Finally, here’s the official trailer for The Echo Drift


After playing 20 nearly sold out performances at the Paris Opera, Alexander Ekman’s PLAY (with music by me) will be released as a blu-ray, and broadcast on tv networks. The video capture is by Tommy Pascal at Bel Air Classics. The video looks really great, and I just spent 2 days mixing the sound with Pascal Roque and Jean-Baptiste Boitel. The music, which features the viral sensation singer Callie Day, is now available on all streaming music platforms (Spotify, iTunes, Tidal…)
The video premiered on Swedish National TV on Sep 22. The Blu-Ray, downloads and streaming versions of the video are available Sep 28.
Listen on Spotify

Vocals: Callie Day; Soprano sax: Christian Wirth; Alto sax: Géraud Etrillard; Tenor sax: Adrien Lajoumard; Baritone sax: Pascal Bonnet; Percussion: Adélaïde Ferrière; Piano: Frederic Vaysse-knitter; Violin: Amanda Favier; Violin: Pauline Fritsch; Viola: Benoit Marin; Cello: Eric Villeminey; Double bass: Francois Gavelle; Music: Mikael Karlsson; Sound engineer: Pascal Roque; Mix: Pascal Roque, Jean-Baptiste Boitel; Master: Mikael Karlsson.


Alexander Ekman’s full evening ballet “Midsummer Night’s Dream”, with a score by me, premieres at the Royal Swedish Opera on April 17 2015. The piece features 40 dancers on stage, the technically most complex score in the history of the Royal Swedish Opera and an extraordinary ensemble of musicians.

Anna Von Hausswolff – singer
The Dahlkvist Quartet – Bartosz Cajler, Kersti Dahlkvist, Jon Dahlkvist, Hanna Dahlkvist
Niklas Brommare – percussion
Henrik Måwe – piano
Roger Bergström, Maria Grönlund – live audio processing

The music is mixed in 7 channel surround and is coupled with sound design made by Alexander Ekman and myself.

April 17, 18, 21, 22, 25, 27, 29, 30, May 1, May 4

Tickets and information