Sonja Stenhammar

Multilingual opera singer and devoted vocal educationist Sonja Stenhammar, has made significant efforts to spread Swedish music and Swedish culture abroad. Among other things, by initiating the Wilhelm Stenhammar International Music Competition (WSIMC).

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Founder and Artistic Director for the competition

Studies in Sweden

After studying at the Royal Academy of Music in Stockholm for, among others, Professor Folke Sällström in vocals, and also attaining a Bachelor of Arts in music and theater science at Stockholm University, she specialized in singing for Dorothy Irwing and opera singer Rolf Leanderson.

Further studies abroad

After her vocal educationist degree at Royal College of Music in Stockholm she studied vocalism with the opera singer Paula Lindberg in Amsterdam and Salzburg and with Professor Paul Lohmann in Wiesbaden.

Knowledge of German repertoire was deepened with Professor Eric Werba in Salzburg and Vienna, when she sang Mozart Opera under the direction of conductor Bernhard Paumgartner. Through the singer Conchita Badia in Barcelona, Sonja Stenhammar came to enjoy unique interpretive traditions from the composers Granados and de Falla and also other Spanish music.

Great experience in international scenes

Sonja Stenhammar has a significant career abroad, beginning in Spain. She gave many Lieder-Abend concerts and sang as a soloist with Orquesta Nacional d´Espana and RTV Orquesta in Madrid as well as the symphony orchestras in Barcelona, Bilbao and Seville.

Sonja Stenhammar has been particularly involved in Switzerland, Spain, Poland and Italy. She has also performed as a soloist and given Lieder-Abende in Bulgaria, France, Brazil, Greece, Argentina and USA. In Austria she performed in Salzburg Cathedral in Mozart’s Requiem at the Mozart Anniversary.

In Sweden, Sonja Stenhammar was engaged as soloist withThe Norrköping Symphony Orchestra, The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Drottningholm Baroque Ensemble and also participated in radio and TV programs. 

Prior to initiating the WSIMC initiative, she organized the Sweden Festival in Geneva in collaboration with the Swedish Embassy in Bern, Sweden’s Radio and the Radio in Geneva. She has also included Swedish music at Lied-Abendes.

Vocal educationist

Sonja Stenhammar’s extensive repertoire means that she has participated in both Lieder-Abende and as soloist in Oratorio- Opera and Chamber music. Contemporary music has been on her program annually and she has performed several works written for her voice.
Sonja Stenhammar has made recordings for EMI, Erato, EMS (Brussels) and Grammont (Switzerland). Sonja Stenhammar has also devoted herself to teaching vocal technique and interpretation and has given a number of master classes in America, Italy and Switzerland. 

For six years she led an opera school in Italy, organized by Amici della Musica, with the support of the Ministry of Culture in Rome and the Symphony Orchestra in Palermo. Now she continues to teach with the center of her business in Geneva.

Jury and competitions

Sonja Stenhammar is often engaged as jurymember at major international singing competitions such as ARD in Munich, the Wagner competition in New York, Voci Verdiani in Busseto when the world tenor Carlo Bergonzi was president, the Tchaikovsky competition in Moscow, the Elly Ameling competition in The Hague, Maria Calla competition in Athens, and opera competitions in Paris, Spoleto and Bilbao and José Carrera competition in Pamplona. 2018 Sonja was engaged as Chairman of the jury in Vina del Mar in Chile.

In 2006, Sonja Stenhammar initiated the Wilhelm Stenhammar International Music Competition (WSIMC), where she is Artistic Director. WSIMC is today ranked as one of the premier singing competitions in the world.