Allmänna Sången from Uppsala, Sweden, ranks among the finest choirs of Europe.
This reputation was recently confirmed by two resounding victories: First, the 2004 International Béla Bartók contest in Debrecen, Hungary, where the choir won the Grand Prix. Less than a year later Allmänna Sången faced and defeated the winners from the other Grand Prix contests to claim the European Grand Prix title in Varna, Bulgaria, in 2005. This success meant that Allmänna Sången has won titles in every international competition it has entered since the early 1990's.
Cecilia Rydinger Alin, one of Swedens most noted and successful conductors lately, is in charge of Allmänna Sången since 1988. In 2004, she became the first female conductor to take a seat in the prestigious Royal Swedish Academy of Music.
Under her guidance, Allmänna Sången has established itself as an attractive musical partner for the nation's top musicians. In recent years, artists like Peter Mattei, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Staffan Scheja, Kroumata and Håkan Hagegård have collaborated with the choir on stage as well as on recordings.
Founded in 1830, Allmänna Sången is Scandinavia’s oldest university choir. In those days, women were not allowed in the universities, and the choir did not transform into a mixed voice ensemble until 1963.
Today, the formal connection to the university is history. However, the choir still keeps alive a number of academic traditions. One example is the annual performance of traditional songs at the foot of Uppsala castle on the spring celebrations on the last of April, always broadcast by Swedish national radio.