About Ylva Q. Arkvik

”Ylva Q. Arkvik has a thorough musical background, yet still the path to composition was far from straight. She worked as a ballet accompanist, read musicology at Uppsala University, and after graduating as a cantor went on to study music teaching at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm. It was here where she also studied composition at the Stockholm Academy of Music (Master of Fine Arts) with a diploma in 2000 (Postgraduate Diploma in Composition) and in 2015 she was awarded a PhD in composition at the University of Huddersfield.

Arkvik has written pieces for most orchestral settings, including electroacoustic music, chamber and orchestral music, opera and theatre music.

What inspires her is the synthesis of different forms of expression, which has led to collaborations with artists from very diverse fields, such as sculpture, dance and poetry. She has also written several solo works for specific musicians, as well as pieces uniting instrumentalists with electronics. She wrote a chamber opera, Solitario, with poet Eva Runefelt, and an emotionally charged mini-opera Du får inte gå! with author Eva Ström based on the events of 9/11.

Her music is often harsh, even passionately  intense at times, but is mostly mournfully restrained and steeped in a kind of  fantastical, abrasive melodic tincture. Pieces exemplifying these traits  include Tid läggs som tunt papper över beröringarna, Que for saxophone quartet  and Skarpa, vassa for solo violin. Unlike many of her generation, Arkvik does  not imbue her music with stylistic fusions, bur remains firmly rooted in the  modernist tradition with an intensely concentrated mode of expression”

Tony Lundman

”Ylva Q. Arkvik chose to begin the suite  Vikingamark (for alto saxophone and poetry) with a long, deep and very  confident saxophone tone. Like the instrument, played by the saxophonist Jörgen  Pettersson, cut a furrow throughthe silence that loss and sorrow bring forth.  I wrote the poetry and Ylva heard my words take form in music.  That is how we met and started our work  together who also has brought forth the camber opera Solitario, played at Plaza  Theatre in Stockholm, 1999.

Grab hold, hold still – those are words I  instantly associate with Ylva Q Arkviks way of relating in her works. Not  fearing the long tones. The wave coming from beyond is not to be stopped, only  recieved.

The music is in the color of water – it can be  transparent and weak, almost frail but also marin and bottomless blue-black and  in between intensivly blue-greyish. Like she, as a composer, dwells in the eye  of the storm. A calm is always there, but all the time surrounded by movement,  strictly legible or like a faint hint. I think about Ylvas music as a horizon.  A distant horizon closing up, and suddenly transformed from untouchable,  unseizable substance to a strange yet firm landscape. And in this musical  nature rises groupes of flora and fauna. Flaming bunches of the drawn out  stillness, obstinate thin plants spiring up. A cellos dark bowing or the  animallike puls of a saxophone – around my poetry in an operalibretto it is  closing up, painting a room of strange growth.

Ylva Q Arkvik lets her sensations take musical  form. She doesn’t stop it, she lets it spread out and sound out when the  breathing breaks and the movement faintly changes.

For me this music is very visual and filled  with the range of blue nuances, without any similarity with blues. Ylva Q  Arkvik:s palette contains the escaping blue toneslings of the water, like the  blue that drills itself deep down in the dark like diabase.

The horizon is never just far away beyond  reach. It glides nearby me, so I can hear, taste its lust to sink deep and to  rise – high, high.”

Eva Runefelt, poet and writer


  • Doctor of Philosophy in Composition. University of Huddersfield, England 2015.
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Composition. Royal College of Music, Stockholm, Sweden 1998-00.
  • Master of Fine Arts in Composition. Royal College of Music, Stockholm, Sweden 1993-98.
  • Master of Fine Arts in Music Education. Royal College of Music in Stockholm, Sweden 1986-90.
  • Music science. University in Uppsala, Sweden 1981-83.


Member of:

  • FST
  • ISCM
  • STIM
  • Opus 96
  • URUK