The Swedish composer and teacher, Sven-David Sandström, studied art history and musicology at the University of Stockholm from 1963 to 1967. He attended composition and classes with Ingvar Lidholm at the Stockholm Musikhögskolan from 1967 to 1972. He also took special courses in advanced techniques of composition with Gyorgy Ligeti and Per Norgard. He received numerous awards and prizes, including the Christ Johnson Prize and Major Award, Nordic Council Award and the Buxtehude Award.
In 1981 Sven-David Sandström joined the faculty of the Stockholm Musikhögskolan. In 1983 he served as chairman of the Swedish section of the ISCM. Former professor of composition and pro-Rektor, Royal College of Music, Stockholm, Sven-David Sandström is now professor for composition at the Indiana University School of Music.
In his early works Sven-David Sandström made use of quarter-tone tuning. Later he turned to tonal and modal writing. His works have been performed throughout Scandinavia and Europe by the Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam; the Kroumata Percussion Ensemble, the H"gersten Motet Choir and others. Catalogue of published and performed compositions includes more than ninety works in various genres. Recent large-scale works include De ur alla minnen fallna - Missa da requiem, for soloists, chorus and orchestra; High Mass for soloists, chorus and orchestra; the oratorio Moses for the 300th anniversary of the Oslo Cathedral; and the full-length opera Staden (The City). He also recently undertook an entirely new setting of the text of Handel's Messiah, which was commissioned and premiered by the Oregon Bach Festival in 2009 and also performed at the Rheingau Musik Festival that year.
His works are published by Warner/Chappell, Nordiska Musikfrlaget and others and recorded on BIS, MAP, CBS and other labels.