Young jazz star takes over University’s big band

Erik Tengholm in the University Hall with a trumpet.

Tengholm is a young, versatile jazz musician and trumpeter from Uppsala, taking over the baton after Ulf Johansson Werre. Photo: Mikael Wallerstedt

It has been kept secret until this evening’s spring concert – Uppsala University Jazz Orchestra’s new artistic director will be Erik Tengholm. “It feels tremendously exciting, great fun and a great honour to become UUJO’s next artistic director,” Tengholm says.

Close-up with Erik Tengholm playing trumpet

Erik Tengholm, new artistic director for UUJO. Photo: Mikael Wallerstedt

The University’s big band, Uppsala University Jazz Orchestra (UUJO) has a new artistic director, following the retirement from the University of the big band’s founder, jazz musician Ulf Johansson Werre.

Werre’s final concert was intended to be the orchestra’s 20th anniversary concert in November 2023, but the recruitment of a new director took longer than that. After a careful recruitment with many well-qualified applicants, in the end it was Erik Tengholm who was invited to take over the baton after Werre.

“It feels tremendously exciting, great fun and a great honour to become UUJO’s next artistic director. The orchestra and Ulf as artistic director have meant a lot for my personal development as a musician. I would particularly like to emphasise Ulf’s enormous enthusiasm and unflagging passion for jazz music, which infects the whole band, and which I have carried with me since my time in UUJO,” Tengholm says.

Versatile jazz musician

Tengholm is a young, versatile jazz musician and trumpeter from Uppsala, with a degree in music from the Royal College of Music in Stockholm. He is a freelance musician, arranges music and runs his own record company. He has also worked as a teacher, at Visingsö jazz courses and Uppsala culture school, and has great experience of leading big bands.

“Playing in, leading and composing and arranging for big bands is currently one of the cornerstones of my life as a musician,” he says.

He leads one of these bands, the Tengholm Ullberg Big Band, jointly with Lars Ullberg. In January 2023, the band released the record Blue And Green With a Touch of Brown, which has been warmly reviewed in the press.
He is now looking forward to launching a series of project ideas for UUJO.

“It’s fantastic that Uppsala University has the good judgement and good taste to have its own big band. I know I am not alone in having had tremendous pleasure and developing enormously as a musician through UUJO. I especially appreciate the way the band takes on music from different epochs in the history of jazz, which is stimulating for the members, both for their musical development and their purely emotional enrichment,” Tengholm enthuses.

Confidence for the future

Werre is pleased with the choice of his successor.

“It’s now settled that the mantle of leading UUJO will be borne by a great musician with a musical and human breadth that gives me great confidence for the future. I have felt great pride and affection for UUJO and now the orchestra will be taken forward in the best imaginable way by Erik,” says Werre.

Märta Gross Hulth

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