Gunnar Henrik Bucht (born 5 August 1927) is a Swedish composer, writer and musicologist.

A short biography

Gunnar Bucht was born in Stocksund (near Stockholm) in 1927. He studied musicology at Uppsala University (Licenciate of Philosophy, 1953) and composition with Karl-Birger Blomdahl between 1947 and 1951. Subsequent teachers included Carl Orff, Goffredo Petrassi and (perhaps the most important of all) Max Deutsch. Bucht made his début as a pianist in 1949 but later came to specialise exclusively in composition.

From 1963 he taught musicology, among other things, at Stockholm University. Professor of composition at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm from 1975 to 1985 and Director at the same institution from 1987 to 1993. Numerous administrative appointments: chairman of the concert organization Fylkingen 1956-59, active in the Swedish section and the International Presidium of the ISCM 1960-1972, chairman of the Society of Swedish Composers 1963-69, Swedish cultural attaché in Bonn 1970-73.

Elected a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music in 1964. The royal medal Litteris et Artibus 1987. At present living and working as composer and author on the island of Gotland and in Stockholm.

Bucht on Bucht

“Paraphrasing the French 18th-century philosopher, my own artistic motto could be read as ‘Tradition, what do you want from me? Live up to me – if you can!’ This means: my relationship to tradition is dialogical; tradition is seen as challenge, not as a pillow. This outlook is reflected in my double activities as a composer and musicologist. The historical and analytical perspectives are always present in my creative work. At the same time, when teaching music history and analysis the artistic dimension is always there, I hope. I teach not only facts but also experiences.

The tension between emotionality and intellectuality is reflected in the often dramatic character of my music. Theres is an affinity with Berlioz’ l’imprévu, the unexpected, as a formal principle. In my music, the architecture is nearly bursting from within and at the same time is being kept on a tight rein. Maliciously, my music could be characterized as a composition of intensely dramatic and poetic moments on one side and road-consuming sections on the other.

Orchestral works dominates my output, much of it of long duration. It satisfies my need for emotional expansion and narration. Since the 1970s, the titles reveal a lot about the contents. Reading them you could reformulate my artistic belief as follows: I believe in an absolute music permeated with extramusical ideas of the world, with echoes of history, with inner pictures and visions, with wordless drama.”


Recent files to download and read:

 Krigsstigar och solgläntor – en nittioplussares dagdrömmar förmedlade av Gunnar Bucht
(in Swedish only, 25 pages) 210320

 Konst som kunskapsform (in Swedish only, 15 pages) 210320

 Mitt slut är min början och min början mitt slut (in Swedish only, 10 pages) 191001

 Bergljot Krohn Bucht – ett liv (in Swedish only, 13 pages) 191001

Form och formlöshet (190101)
• Form och formlöshet (in Swedish only, 5 pages)

Ord och ton (190101)
• Ord och ton – en annorlunda relation (in Swedish only, 14 pages)

Musik för en öde ö (190101)
• Musik för en öde ö (in Swedish only, 23 pages)

Mellan ton och ljud – reflexioner kring Lars-Gunnar
Bodins musikfilosofi
• Mellan ton och ljud – reflexioner kring Lars-Gunnar Bodins musikfilosofi (in Swedish only, 6 pages)

Catalogue raisonné ou parcours confus
Gunnar Bucht’s own commentaries on his works free to download as pdf files, in two parts (in Swedish only):

• Del 1, kommenterad verkförteckning 1949-2005 (65 sidor)

• Del 2, kommenterad verkförteckning 2007-2021 (21 sidor), reviderad version 210918

Världens tystnad
• Världens tystnad före Bach – och hur den bryts (in Swedish only, 8 pages)

Gunnar Bucht in the 50s

Gunnar Bucht in the 50s.

As a three year old child (pastel drawing).

Together with his friend, the pianist Gunnar Sjöström, 2001.

Together with his friend, the pianist Gunnar Sjöström, 2001.

Listen to Gunnar Bucht speaking.

Download the biography as:
• a pdf file
• a Word file
• as a rtf file