Lasse Olsson

ILMC is sad to report that Viva Art Music founder, Lasse Olsson, died on 18 August, 2012. He was 52 and had been suffering from cancer.
Born Lars Inge Thorsten Olsson, he always had a great love for music and prior to his career as a promoter, he studied guitar in Boston, USA.  Back in his native Sweden, Olsson became managing director at Viva Music Sweden in 1985. Five years later, together with Marek Szpendowski, Olsson established a company named Viva Art Music based in Sweden and, soon after, Poland.

When it launched, Viva Art Music developed the Christian music business within Europe and soon became a major outlet for American christian rock and gospel artists. The company established and developed the 13,000-capacity Gospel Globe Festival in Stockholm, which ran for six years. During this period, Olsson and Szpendowski also produced pan-European tours for artists such as Take 6, Andraé Crouch, DC Talk, BeBe & CeCe Winans, Michael W Smith, Petra, Amy Grant, LCGC, and many others.
 
In 1992 the company started to produce concerts and tours in contemporary and mainstream music, producing world tours including hundreds of shows for artists such as Art Garfunkel and Al Green. Olsson was also the agent for Julio Iglesias between 1998 and1999, outside of the United States. Additionally, Viva Art began promoting shows in Eastern Europe for artists such as Michael Jackson, Rolling Stones, Luciano Pavarotti, Depeche Mode, Bruce Springsteen, Mark Knopfler, Roger Waters and many more.
 
“I’m sure Lasse would like everybody to remember him as a good promoter, a good friend and a nice, happy and cheerful man,” says Szpendowski. “I met Lasse for the first time in March 1987 and in September the same year we did our first concert in Poland together. Lasse was very serious about business and was always trying to prepare tours, promoters and himself in the best way. But privately he loved to make jokes and he really cared about people, especially employees.”
 
Szpendowski adds, “Even in difficult and dangerous situations, he kept his sense of humour. The day before his cancer operation he wrote this to all of his friends: ‘I have made sacrifices – I have cancelled tennis tomorrow afternoon. Finally was convinced it would not work, or I rather realised that I may not play the same outstanding tennis as I usually do.’”
 
Olsson is survived by his wife, Rakel.