Mats Bergström has taken guitar performance into so many directions and with such skill, it's a challenge to simply define his career. He is a highly successful soloist, chamber player, accompanist, and arranger, and in most of these roles he has struck out rather imaginative paths. In the chamber realm he has played in duos, trios, and larger ensembles, and in such unusual combinations as vocalist, double bass, and guitar. He has done much accompaniment, particularly with vocal soloists like mezzo-soprano Malena Ernman and soprano Annika Skoglund. As an arranger he has, through Mats Bergström Performance Editions, fashioned numerous renditions for guitar and other instruments of works by J.S. and C.P.E. Bach, Handel, Mozart, Bizet, Grieg, Nielsen, and many others. Naturally, his repertory is inclusive of music by these, as well as by contemporary composers like Reich, Takemitsu, Åke Parmerud, and Anders Hillborg. And Bergström has also performed crossover fare by Duke Ellington, Jerome Kern, Michel Legrand, and others. Bergström has recorded for such labels as BIS, Naxos, and Wergo.
Mats Bergström was born in Gävle, Sweden, in 1961. Raised in Stockhom, he studied music at the Royal College of Music there, graduating in 1982. He debuted at London's Wigmore Hall in 1983 and while he experienced reasonable success afterward, even appearing on several recordings in the mid-'80s, he decided on further study. From 1990-1992 Bergström had post-graduate studies at Juilliard. Thereafter he occasionally appeared as soloist in concert, but largely focused on chamber music performance and song accompaniment.
His 1995 Areco Music CD, With a Little Help, was a crossover effort (works by Ravel, de Falla, Chick Corea, Gershwin, etc.) that was quite in the spirit of chamber collaboration, as it featured Christian Bergqvist (violin), Sam Bengtsson (electric bass guitar), Anna Norberg (flute), and many others on various tracks. By the turn of the new century Bergström was a major international presence, with many successful recordings and a busy concert schedule. His concert appearances with mezzo Malena Ernman resulted in their first CD, My Love, issued in 2004 on the BIS label.
In 2006 Bergström was made a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music. He remained busy making numerous arrangements of instrumental and vocal pieces from the classical repertory. Bergström recorded a disc of his arrangements of Schubert sonatas for the Proprius label in 2010 that featured Nils-Erik Sparf, on violin and viola, and other artists.