Concerts held in Victor Borge Hall – named in honor of the legendary Danish entertainer and in recognition of his generosity to Scandinavia House – are supported in part by The Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation, The Louise and Karl Andrén Fund for Musical Performance, The Victor Borge Hall Endowment Fund, and The Dunard Fund.
Thursday, September 17, 7 pm
Free | RSVP strongly encouraged
Youth Mixed Choir Vox Populi – led by conductor Janne Fridolin – presents an evening of aural stimulation celebrating preeminent Estonian choral composer Veljo Tormis' 85th birthday.
Based on Tormis' choral cycles Nature Pictures (1964-69) and Etudes in Keys (1970) and directed by Anne Türnpu and Eva Klements, Meditations with Tormis is a journey into the landscapes of Estonia and the four seasons.
About Youth Mixed Choir Vox Populi
Founded in 2006 and led by conductor Janne Fridolin, the spirited young people of Youth Mixed Choir Vox Populi are united by their passion for music and singing. With 65 active members, the primary goals of the ensemble are to offer memorable moments for both performers and audiences, to develop one's talent for music, and to bring people together as friends.
Vox Populi's repertoire currently ranges from folklore and sacral music to pop and jazz. In Estonia the ensemble is best known for their performances inspired by Estonian and Finno-Ugric folklore and the works of composer Veljo Tormis. In 2013 Vox Populi released the jazz-pop music album First Strawberry. The ensemble's vocal coach is baritone/bass Andreas Väljamäe of the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir.
Since its founding, the ensemble has had several notable moments competing in different choral competitions in Estonia and abroad, among them First Prize at the Viimsi JazzPopFest (Estonia, 2012) and at the Freamunde International Choir Competition (Portugal, 2012); two gold medals at the Festival of Songs Olomouc (Czech Republic, 2013); and a silver medal at the World Choir Games (Latvia, 2014) and first prize at the Valga jazz/pop festival (Estonia, 2014).
Fridolin was honored as the Best Young Conductor of 2010, Best Music Teacher and Conductor of 2013, and nominated in 2014 for the Estonian Choral Association's Best Conductor award. She was named Best Conductor at the Freamunde International Choir Competition (Portugal, 2012) and served as art director at the 2014 Gaudeamus Song Festival in Latvia. Fridolin will conduct at the 12th Estonian Youth Song and Dance Celebration in 2017.
Co-presented with the Estonian Ministry of Culture and Consulate General of Estonia in New York.
Saturday, October 17, 4 pm
Elusive in meaning, Vilhelm Hammershøi's paintings evoke a certain kind of Nordic melancholy. His quiet interiors – secret rooms and intimate spaces glimpsed through open doorways and light-infused corridors – conjure a particular feeling of loneliness and abandonment. In this concert inspired by six of the artworks on view in the Gallery, Danish composers Ejnar Kanding and MBD73 (aka Carsten Bo Eriksen) and the American Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME) invite listeners on a unique auditory journey into Hammershøi's enigmatic world. The performance will be accompanied by live video.
About The American Contemporary Music Ensemble
The American Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME), celebrating its tenth anniversary in 2014-2015, is dedicated to the outstanding performance of masterworks from the 20th and 21st centuries, primarily the work of American composers. Founded by cellist Clarice Jensen, conductor Donato Cabrera, and publicist Christina Jensen, the ensemble presents fresh work by living composers alongside contemporary classics. ACME's dedication to new music extends across genres and has earned the ensemble a reputation among both classical and rock crowds. National Public Radio (NPR) calls them "contemporary music dynamos," and The New York Times describes ACME's performances as "vital," "brilliant," and "electrifying." Time Out New York reports, "[Artistic Director Clarice] Jensen has earned a sterling reputation for her fresh, inclusive mix of minimalists, maximalists, eclectics, and newcomers."
About Carsten Bo Eriksen/MBD73
Carsten Bo Eriksen (also known as MBD73, which is short for "My Beautiful Decay 1973") is a prize-winning Danish composer. Eriksen's music incorporates elements and inspiration from post-rock, American minimalism, ambient electro-acoustic music, and field recordings.
He was educated at the Royal Academy of Music as a composer (1997-2003) and a pupil of Ib Nørholm and Hans Abrahamsen. Eriksen has also studied at the Berklee College of Music in Massachusetts and with the musician Pak Tama in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.
In 2001, he was nominated for the Danish Music Award for Best Chamber Music Release alongside his ensemble Nordlys (DaCapo Records) and was the winner of the Danish Art Foundation's Best Electronica competition. In 2009 Eriksen won first prize for Best Media Production on the Internet with the Face the Climate team.
Eriksen is committed to working with a broad range of collaborators and has worked with The Copenhagen Philharmonic, Athelas Sinfonietta, Ars Nova Ensemble (Sweden), Ensemble Adapter (Germany), JACK Quartet (U.S.), and Messer Quartet (Denmark). His work has been exhibited and performed at some of Denmark's most prestigious institutions, including the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, The National Gallery of Denmark, The Black Diamond's Queen's Hall at The Royal Library, The Tivoli Concert Hall, and VEGA. In addition to his music, Eriksen is also a self-taught painter and video artist.
About Ejnar Kanding
Composer Ejnar Kanding is internationally known for his uniquely colorful music, which unites electronic and acoustic sound with complex textures, physical energy, and delicate simplicity. To Kanding, music should not embellish, but rather create a fantasy: a journey into the ambiguous – a hall of mirrors. His work is a sensuous voyage into the unknown of inner life.
Kanding received a degree in composition and musical theory from The Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen in 1993 and later studied at IRCAM in Paris and with Professor Lev Koblyakov in Jerusalem in 1994 and 1995. Since his debut concert from the Royal Danish Academy of Music in 1996 Kanding has specialized in composing music for computer and instruments, which has led to an extensive use of the software MaxMSP in the development of his works and as an instrument in live performances. Despite this obsession, his focus is never electronic experimentation, but rather musical expression, form, and phrase.
Kanding's music has been selected for prominent festivals such as the International Computer Music Conference (2001, 2004, and 2010); International Society for Contemporary Music (2002 and 2008); Festival Synthése, Nordic Music Days, Up North, and the Interactive Arts Performances Series at New York University. Kanding is the recipient of a three-year stipend from the Danish Arts Foundation, and has received commissions by numerous international ensembles.
The compositions and concert are supported by the Danish Arts Foundation and organized in collaboration with AFSMK – American Friends of Statens Museum for Kunst.
See also Painting Tranquility: Masterworks by Vilhelm Hammershøi from SMK – The National Gallery of Denmark in UPCOMING EXHIBITIONS section.
Thursday, October 29, 7:30 pm
$25 ($20 ASF Members)
Distinguished Finnish cellist Anssi Karttunen draws inspiration from his seminal Creative Dialogue workshop for young composers and performers where they collaborate to solve musical problems and create pieces together.
Featuring world premieres for solo cello, The Five Dialogues (2015) emphasizes the idea of experimentation and improvisation. The work is the direct result of the organic discourse and exchange of ideas – either sound, text, or a concept – exchanged between Karttunen and the five young composers chosen for this concert.
The program also includes a group of Finnish and Argentine tangos for three cellos – transcribed by Karttunen in consultation with Argentinian composer Pablo Ortiz – that explore the unique dialogue between the traditions of both styles of tango and its performers.
The five composers for this concert – Taylor Brook, Zosha di Castri, Bryan Jacobs, Yoshiaki Onishi, and Nina Young – were chosen for the Creative Dialogue by Columbia University. The two cellists playing alongside Karttunen are Caroline Stinson, selected by the Juilliard School of Music, and Joann Whang, a student of Yale University and The Royal Conservatoire in The Hague.
About Anssi Karttunen
Anssi Karttunen is one of the most reputable and versatile musicians of classical music today. Exceedingly active both as a soloist and chamber musician, his repertoire covers all of the standard works for cello, as well as a myriad of forgotten masterpieces and his own arrangements. He plays on modern, classical, and baroque cellos, as well as the violoncello piccolo.
Karttunen is a passionate advocate for contemporary music. He has performed over 135 world premieres, collaborating with such composers as Magnus Lindberg, Kaija Saariaho, Rolf Wallin, Luca Francesconi, and Tan Dun. An astounding 27 concertos have been written for him; he premiered Magnus Lindberg's First Concerto with the Orchestre de Paris and Second Concerto with the Los Angeles Philharmoni; Esa-Pekka Salonen's Mania with London Sinfonietta; Martin Matalon's cello concerto with the Orchestre National de France; Luca Francesconi's Rest (2003) with the RAI Torino; and Kaija Saariaho's Notes on Light (2006) with the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
Karttunen has worked with world-renowned orchestras such as the Philadelphia Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, BBC Symphony, Orchestre National de France, NHK Orchestra, Tokyo Metropolitan Orchestra, Southwest German Radio Symphony Orchestra, Munich Philharmonic, Ensemble Modern, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Residentie Orchestra, Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, Oslo Philharmonic, RAI Torino, Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra, Helsinki Philharmonic, Avanti! Chamber Orchestra, and many more. He also performs regularly as soloist and chamber musician at Europe's most important music festivals, including Edinburgh, Salzburg, Lockenhaus, Spoleto, Berlin, Venice, Montpellier, Strasbourg, and Helsinki. His Zebra Trio, with violinist Ernst Kovacic and violist Steven Dann, performs concerts on both sides of the Atlantic. Dos Coyotes, his duo with Magnus Lindberg, has performed all over the globe.
Karttunen studied with Erkki Rautio, William Pleeth, Jacqueline du Pré, and Tibor de Machula, among others. From 1999 until 2005 he was principal cellist with the London Sinfonietta. Between 1994 and 1998, he was the Artistic Director of the Avanti! Chamber Orchestra and the Suvisoitto Festival in Porvoo, Finland. Having directed the Helsinki Biennale in 1995, he has been Artistic Director of its successor, the Musica Nova festival, since fall 2013.
Karttunen frequently teaches masterclasses, for example in 2012 together with Kaija Saariaho at Carnegie Hall, at the 2012 Cello Biennial Amsterdam, and regularly since 2008 at the workshop series Creative Dialogue, offered in collaboration with the Sibelius Academy in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
He plays on a Francesco Ruggeri cello circa 1670.
Thursday, September 24, 8 pm | Series continues winter 2016
$25 ($20 ASF Members) | Series pass for 4 concerts: $80 ($64 ASF Members)
Internationally acclaimed pianist Jeffrey Siegel is back for his ninth season of Keyboard Conversations® this fall at Scandinavia House! Each evening is comprised of informal commentary on the music and its composers, a full performance of each work, and concludes with a short Q & A session. The accessible format enriches audience understanding of classical music for the newcomer and seasoned listener alike.
Siegel honors the 150th anniversaries of the births of two inimitable Nordic composers: Denmark’s beloved Carl Nielsen and Finland’s statuesque Jean Sibelius and features additional music by Sergei Rachmaninoff and Modest Mussorgsky.
About Jeffrey Siegel
A renowned pianist and a Steinway artist, Jeffrey Siegel has enjoyed an illustrious career. Born into a musical family, Siegel studied with Rudolf Ganz in his native Chicago, with the legendary Rosina Lhévinne at The Juilliard School and, as a Fulbright Scholar, with Ilona Kabos in London.
He has performed with some of the finest orchestras in the world, including the Berlin Philharmonic, London Symphony, Moscow State Symphony, the Oslo and Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestras, and NHK Symphony of Japan, among others. In the U.S., his engagements have included solo performances with the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, The Philadelphia Orchestra, The Cleveland Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, and Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
Siegel has also collaborated with many of pre-eminent conductors: Pierre Boulez, Charles Dutoit, Neeme Järvi, James Levine, Zubin Mehta, Leonard Slatkin, Michael Tilson Thomas, and David Zinman, as well as legendary maestros of the past, including Claudio Abbado, Lorin Maazel, Eugene Ormandy, Sir George Solti, William Steinberg, Klaus Tennstedt, and Yevgeny Svetlanov.
Siegel has also recorded The Power and Passion of Beethoven (Random House Audio, 2006); The Romanticism of the Russian Soul (Random House Audio, 2006); The Romance of the Piano (Random House Audio, 2006); An American Salute (Random House Audio, 2007); Music for the Young - and the Young at Heart (WFMT Radio, Chicago, 2008); and American Pianistic Treasures (WEDU, Tampa), to name a few.
The ongoing Keyboard Conversations® series flourishes in major cities throughout the United States, including New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Phoenix, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Dallas, Denver, and Washington, D.C. Some of these venues have presented Keyboard Conversations® for more than 30 years – resounding testimony to Siegel's superb artistry, innovative format, and loyal fans.
Ongoing, 5 – 9 pm
$41 per person ($36 ASF Members)
Pairing top-notch Scandinavian music with fine Nordic cuisine, Smörgås Chef at Scandinavia House continues its popular Dinner & a Concert prix-fixe 2-course dinner menus. Available from 5 to 9 pm, this ongoing offer features a selection of favorite dishes including herb-roasted chicken, cured gravlaks, and Swedish meatballs, and includes one admission to that evening's concert.