Ragnar Bohlin began his tenure as Chorus Director of the San Francisco Symphony in March 2007. In 2010 the San Francisco Symphony and Chorus garnered three Grammy Awards for their recording of Mahler’s Symphony No. 8, including for Best Choral Performance under Bohlin’s direction. Born in 1965, he served as choirmaster of Stockholm’s Maria Magdalena Church and holds a master’s degree in organ and conducting and a postgraduate degree in conducting from the Royal Academy of Music in Stockholm. Bohlin studied with the renowned choir director Eric Ericson and studied piano with Peter Feuchtwanger in London on a British Council scholarship. Through a Sweden-America Foundation scholarship he visited choruses throughout the United States. He studied singing with the great Swedish tenor Nicolai Gedda and has also appeared as an oratory tenor.
With Stockholm’s KFUM Chamber Choir, the Maria Magdalena Motet Choir and the Maria Vocal Ensemble, Bohlin has toured internationally and won numerous prizes in international competitions. He has prepared choruses for some of the world’s foremost conductors, including Michael Tilson Thomas, Herbert Blomstedt, Valery Gergiev, Esa-Pekka Salonen, and Alan Gilbert.
Bohlin has appeared regularly on Swedish radio with the Swedish Radio Choir, the Maria Vocal Ensemble, and the Maria Magdalena Motet Choir and has worked with The Ericson Chamber Choir, the Royal Philharmonic Choir and the Opera Choir of Stockholm. With the Maria Vocal Ensemble and special guests Rigmor Gustafsson and Lena Willemark, Bohlin recorded a CD of new jazz music by composer/pianist Elise Einarsdotter and lyrics by great poets including E.E. Cummings.
In October 2007 Bohlin conducted the world premiere of a new requiem by composer Fredrik Sixten featuring choir, orchestra, and two soloists, broadcast on Swedish Public Radio. Bohlin’s recording of Sixten’s Saint Mark Passion, and another recording, Mysterium, featuring mainly a cappella music, was released in Sweden in 2008.
Bohlin teaches at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, has taught at the Royal Academy in Stockholm, and in February 2008 he was a visiting professor at Indiana University. In October 2008 he conducted a performance with trombonist/composer Christian Lindberg and the Swedish Radio Choir for release on CD. The choir toured the U.S. with Bohlin conducting in spring 2010 to great critical acclaim. In 2006 Bohlin was awarded the prestigious Johannes Norrby Medal for expanding the frontiers of Swedish choral music making. In June 2010 he made his Carnegie Hall debut conducting Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem. In 2011 he appeared as guest conductor of the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, and will return for guest appearances in May 2014.
In November 2011 he conducted the Verdi Requiem with the Malmo Symphony in Sweden and in March 2012 Mendelssohn's Elijah in Madrid. In November 2012 Bohlin conducted the Sixten Requiem with the Swedish Radio Choir and the Nordic Chamber Orchestra. The performances were recorded on CD and released in September 2013.