Elektronmusikstudion EMS – Art, Technology and Politics

On show from 1 December 2023 to 1 September 2024

Elektronmusikstudion EMS in Stockholm is one of the world’s oldest and most prominent centres for electronic music and sound art. This is the story of a utopian vision of the future, new technology that will save the world, and a major national initiative in electronic music.

New music for a new era

It was the year 1964 and the future was looking bright. A solution had been found to the problems facing humankind, and that solution lay in nuclear and computer processing power. A better, more peaceful and more beautiful world could now be built. In the early days, computers were known as “electronic brains”. Not only could they perform calculations and sort data, but they could also be used to create art – a new kind of music, fit for a new era.

The most modern country in the world

In Stockholm, the public-service broadcaster Sveriges Radio invested millions of kronor in an advanced computer-based studio for electroacoustic music and sound art. This facility – called Elektronmusikstudion or EMS – was set up under the guidance of composer Knut Wiggen and Stockholm soon became a hub for Europe’s new radical art and music scene.

Aktuellt: “Can you really call it beautiful?”

Gary Engman, a reporter for the Swedish news programme Aktuellt, interviewed Knut Wiggen in 1963.

Watch more videos from the early days of EMS.

Welcome to the studio

EMS has attracted artists and composers from around the world for 60 years. The studio has been operating 24 hours a day and all year round ever since the start. These days, it is used to produce everything from chamber music to niche experimental club music. Now we are inviting visitors to come and see this legendary place for themselves.

Analogue recording technology and cutting-edge synthesisers

Explore parts of the original EMS and get an insight into today’s high-tech studio with the help of virtual reality. Use an oscillator to create your own sounds and enjoy seeing the 200 or more objects on display – including the EMS’ first computer, a voice changing device made from a toaster and, perhaps best of all, the world-famous Buchla electronic music system.

Transition and conflict

With the help of audio stations, videos, images and press cuttings, we will guide you though the 1960s, a decade characterised by pioneering spirit, optimism and belief in the future. Follow us as we journey into the troubled times of the 1970s, when tensions degenerated into public brawls and bloodshed, and onwards into the new beginnings of the 1980s, when a new purpose-built studio facility was established on Söder Mälarstrand in Stockholm. This is where EMS has cemented its place on the world map of electronic music.


Artists involved

Come and discover works by over 30 artists with links to EMS. The exhibition also features a new installation by sound artist Hanna Hartman.

  • Tarek Atoui
  • Caterina Barbieri
  • Karl-Birger Blomdahl
  • Lars-Gunnar Bodin
  • Nadine Byrne
  • Viking Eggeling
  • Björn Elisson
  • Marcus Fjellström
  • Ferenc Füzeskuti
  • Amanda Glans
  • Guds söner (Leif Elggren och Kent Tankred)
  • Sten Hanson
  • Hanna Hartman
  • Åke Hodell
  • Maria W Horn
  • Ofelia Jarl Ortega
  • Per Jonsson
  • Daniel M Karlsson
  • Erkki Kurenniemi
  • Patsy Lassbo
  • Ida Lundén
  • Ralph Lundsten
  • Miklós Maros
  • Lise-Lotte Norelius
  • Mattias Petersson
  • Akoz Rozmann
  • Räserbyrån (Katarina Eriksson, Per Sacklén och Håkan Mayer)
  • Liv Strand
  • Jenny Sunesson
  • Jonas Söderberg
  • Knut Sönstevold
  • Pär Thörn
  • Tamas Ungvary
  • Knut Wiggen
  • Ulla Wiggen
  • Lars Åkerlund
  • Sonja Åkesson