Festival & Forum 21, August 31 - September 3, 2000

A festival for the Arts of the 21st Century.

An international music festival and an international Scientific conference with the theme “Music – School – Society”

The music festival

The violinist Gidon Kremer and his orchestra “Kremerata Baltica” were Principal Artists. The Hungarian-Swedish pianist Janos Solyom and the Swedish percussion ensemble Kroumata also participated.

A scientific conference Music – School – Society

The conference included lectures by Scientists, Doctors, Psychologists and Musicologists from Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Denmark, the US and Sweden. Around the conference there were various activities: a children’s musical; a school class orchestra from a regular school; an open rehearsal with Gidon Kremer and Kremerata Baltica; a public interview with Gidon Kremer; a film from a US school where music changed an entire school; a “speaker’s corner”; discussions and a debate.

The organizing team

Professor Töres Theorell, Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, coordinator; Dr. Georg Matell, Stockholm, coordinator; the Scientist Steven Brown, US, advisor; Sofia Lindberg, presentation material & publicity; Göran Staxäng, Director.


Festival & Forum 21 was supported by Sparbanksstiftelsen Första and Kulturnämnden, Stockholms läns landsting.


Dr Georg Matell and Professor Töres Theorell published a report with all lectures from the conference. It was released through the Karolinska Institute.
See website:!/R295.pdf

A random meeting at a buffet dinner on the Finland-ferry Silja Line in the fall of 1999, resulted in the formation of Festival & Forum 21, a music festival and a scientific conference.

Links to sections below:

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Göran Staxäng and Sofia Lindberg (since 2008 married Sofia Staxäng) realized that presenting festivals and conferences would not be enough to initiate changes of status for the Arts in the Swedish Society. They decided to engage in working from the inside, hoping to inspire a small community in Sweden to become a pilot community.

Arboga 2001-2007

2001-2007 Göran Staxäng held the position as Music Director in Arboga along with Sofia Lindberg who held the position as assistant church musician in the same congregation. Arboga is a community with about 14 000 inhabitants, 150 km west of Stockholm.

Sofia Lindberg and Göran Staxäng engaged in many parts of the local cultural life. In the Spring of 2006 they were part of initiating a cultural center, Meken, in an old industrial building outside of Arboga. Between 2006-2007 Göran Staxäng was engaged into the local Arboga politics.

The conclusion from the Arboga years is that making the Arts a greater part of Society has to be non-political!

See a film trailer about the Arboga experience: 4 min 53 s
Cantemus, a Choral Academy

In 1999 Sofia Lindberg and Göran Staxäng started a Choral Academy for everybody that loves singing, Cantemus.

The Academy is still active today with about 300 singers rehearsing weekly. More than 7 000 choral singers in the Stockholm area have been part of the Cantemus experience in a time span of 25 years.

Every semester presents a thematic program, from classical master works to classical style choral arrangements of popular hits. Cantemus performs music like Handel’s Messiah, Mozart’s Requiem, Orff’s Carmina Burana and Bach’s Christmas Oratory alternating with popular music by ABBA, The Beatles, Elvis, Queen, Elton John and much more.

Cantemus performs regularly in the Berwald Hall and the Stockholm Concert Hall with great artists from Sweden, England, the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium and professional orchestras and instrumentalists.

See a film trailer presenting Cantemus: 2 min 38 s
A manifestation for the musical classroom, Stockholm 2016

Five schools from five countries presented music programs involving every child. Stockholm Concert Hall, December 21, 2016

Festival & Forum 21 invited five schools from five countries to present school music programs, where all students are engaged in daily music making. A short film documentary was made in their respective school, prior to the manifestation.
Press here to come to section Films and see film documentaries from these five schools.

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From bullet…

In June 19, 1975 Göran Staxäng was attacked by a nineteen-year-old boy in his cab. His right arm took a bullet instead of his head.

Previous to the court session the father of the young “gunboy” invited Göran for lunch at the family home. Fully aware of the intensions behind the invitation Göran agreed to the lunch. He wanted to see and understand the background of a boy that felt he needed a gun in his hand to express who he was. In court the nineteen-year-old boy told about how he wanted to impress his friends.

… to fiddle

In the spring of 1990 Göran Staxäng was introduced to a music program involving all children in the public schools in Ann Arbor. The contrasts between the boy from 1975 and the children with instruments in their hands expressing themselves and their emotions through music, were striking.

A documentary film about the Music program in Ann Arbor was made in the Spring of 1990 – a first film of many about music programs in schools. The bullet from 1975 has led to the concept of the study “From bullet to fiddle”.

The road to Ann Arbor…

Göran Staxäng studied choral conducting at the Juilliard School of Music in New York, a program he joined after initiating The Nordic Chamber Orchestra, 1984 (the conductor Sixten Ehrling and the soprano Birgit Nilsson were honorary members of the orchestra).

During studies Göran discovered a book by a professor in orchestral conducting, Elisabeth H Green: “The Modern Conductor”. He contacted Ms. Green and was invited to the orchestral conducting program at Michigan University in Ann Arbor. Ms. Green introduced Göran to the music program of Ann Arbor Public Schools, a program she had started in the early 1940’s. Read more above.

Jesus Christ Superstar

When Göran Staxäng in 1990 returned to Sweden, from eight years of studies and impressions in the US, he wanted to convey his experiences to Sweden. Göran Staxäng was appointed Music Director in Ekerö outside of Stockholm.

Together with the theatre director, Martin Lange, he produced the musical Jesus Christ Superstar with young actors and singers from the Stockholm area. It was fascinating to see how young people developed a palette of expressions through music and drama in ways they never had imagined.

See a film trailer of Jesus Christ Superstar in Ekerö: 1 min 48 s
Gidon Kremer

In 1997 the Latvian violinist Gidon Kremer was approached with the question: Would he consider being Principal Artist in a small chamber music festival in Järna, outside of Stockholm? His response was to tell about his own project assembling young Baltic musicians in an orchestra, Kremerata Baltica. He wanted to make music together with his young musicians and inspire them with his own musical experience.

Mr. Kremer agreed to bring ten of his Kremerata Baltica musicians to the festival and to audition young Scandinavian musicians to be part of the orchestra in a musical adventure in the Järna festival. He advised on matters of organizing the festival, he contacted artists and Baltic composers to be part of the festival.

A short version of the festival was realized in June 1998.

Festival & Forum 21, August 31-September 3, 2000

Gidon Kremer returned to Stockholm and the Festival & Forum 21 with his full orchestra Kremerata Baltica. Read more above.

Festival & Forum 21, June 12-19, 2025

Plans are to present a Music Festival with the same concept as above festival in Aug/Sept 2000, but expanded. Plans are to make the festival a platform for the Study “From bullet to fiddle”.

The culmination of the Festival & Forum 21 in 2025 is planned to be on June 19, 2025 exactly on the day fifty years after the bullet was fired. The venue for the festival will be presented shortly.