Elisabeth Holmertz - Kenneth Karlsson

Holmertz and Karlsson worked together for the first time in 2005 in the opera Ophelias:death by water singing by Henrik Hellstenius, where Elisabeth sang the main part. After this, the Cikada ensemble (Karlsson is the artistic leader) invited Holmertz to sing on several projects. One of these became the critically acclaimed CD “Nordheim”, that was also nominated for a Norwegian Grammy award.

The Duo was formed at Karlssons birthday party, in the summer of  2010. Late in the night Holmertz/Karlsson spontaneously started to perform Swedish romantic music pop songs etc. and the duo was formed

Kenneth Karlsson- Elisabeth Holmertz work within a large musical spectrum. A big part of their work is contemporary classical music and working closely with the composers like Helmuth Lachenmann, Klaus Lang, Rolf Wallin, Carola Bauckholt. They also have a burning passion for lieder, Swedish romantics and performing known music in new and different ways; like Bob Dylan, Josephine Foster etc. often using Karlsson’s Indian harmonium.

Elisabeth Holmertz-Kenneth Karlsson also have formed the group Vollen United. An experimental group that mixes genres like baroque, contemporary, pop, and improvisation. Vollen United appears in different shapes and members include Fredrik Bock-theorbe, Per Bure-barockviolin, Karin Hellqvist- violin


Kenneth Karlsson was born in Åmål, Sweden. He is the pianist and artistic leader of Cikada and a member of improvisation group Point 4. He’s playing in a duo with soprano Elisabeth Holmertz. Together they have formed Vollen Untied, an experimental genre-crossing ensemble, playing baroque contemporary-classical, pop, improvisation music.

Karlsson has toured in Europe, Asia and America he has commissioned and premiered numerous works, by significant international composers . He has recorded a large number of CDs. In 2001 Karlsson was awarded a Grammy for his solo-CD ''sofferte onde serene'' with music by Nono, Berio and Scelsi. 

In 2005 Kenneth Karlsson's ensemble Cikada, received the Nordic Council's Music Prize.

He has worked with video, dance and multimedia projects and collaborated with musicians and composers like James Dillon, Carola Bauckholt Liza Lim, Bent Sørensen, Richard Barrett, Jon Balke, Ingar Zach, Rolf Wallin, Klaus Lang .... In the 80's and 90's he was a member of Ensemble K4, Oslo Sinfonietta, Aquarius, etc. He also played in different rock and improvisation groups. Karlsson also plays Indian harmonium and synthesizer.


Elisabeth Holmertz

The repertoire of Swedish soprano Elisabeth Holmertz spans from medieval to contemporary via Baroque, folk song, experimental musical theatre, and the late Romantic era, but she has worked mostly in early and contemporary music.

Elisabeth studied at the Norwegian Academy of Music, where her principal teacher was Professor Barbro Marklund-Petersône. She also studied with Professor Barbara Schlick at the Hochschule für Musik Köln, Germany.

She made her opera debut in 2005, singing the title role in Ophelias: Death by Water Singing by Henrik Hellstenius. Since then she has lent her voice to many strong and passionate female characters with a propensity toward delirious or suicidal behaviour (Dido, Hedda Gabler, Armide, et al), while also singing the roles of happy nymphs and diverse Venus-like figures.

Elisabeth has appeared as soloist with the the most important ensembles and orchestras in Scandinavia, among them, the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra, the Norwegian Radio Orchestra, the Oslo Simfonietta, Danish Radio’s Underholdningsorkester, and the Cikada Ensemble. She has worked with conductors such as Christian Eggen, Ingar Bergby, Tõnu Kaljuste, and Jonathan Stockhammer in larger concertante works that have included Pierrot Lunaire (Arnold Schönberg), Lonely Child (Claude Vivier), L’Abbé Agathon (Arvo Pärt), and Tre Voci (Arne Nordheim).

Together with Cikada Duo and Åke Parmerud she recorded Fem Kryptofonier by Arne Nordheim.