As a part of the 2014 mise-en music festival, ensemble mise-en highlights some of celebrated Danish composer Bent Sørensen’s more recent works, including solo pieces and arrangements for chamber orchestra and full ensemble that have never been performed in the U.S.
With support from the Danish Composers´ Society´s Production Pool/KODA’s Cultural Funds, DMFF (Dansk Music Publishers Association) through KODA’s Funds for Cultural and Social purposes, Scandinavia House: The Nordic Center in America/The American-Scandinavian Foundation, Edition Wilhelm Hansen, G. Schirmer, New York University, and the Consulate General of Denmark, New York.
About Bent Sørensen
Bent Sørensen (b. 1958, Denmark) received his musical education from, amongst others, Per Nørgård at the Royal Academy of Music in Aarhus and Ib Nørholm at the Royal Danish Academy of Music. Considered the leading Danish composer of his generation, Sørensen’s originality, imagination, and technical abilities were praised long before his major breakthrough in the mid-80s. His first string quartet Alman (1984), along with the other three quartets, Adieu (1986), Angels’ Music (1988), and Schrie und Melancholie (1994) are still considered among his most important works.
During the 1990s he was very productive, focusing primarily on large-scale orchestral works, including the major vocal works The Echoing Garden (1992) for soloists, choir, and orchestra; violin concerto Sterbende Gärten (1993); the Symphony (1996); and the piano concerto La Notte (1998). Several major ensemble pieces were also scored for a variety of forces; such as Birds and Bells for trombone and 14 instruments, the enchanting concerto written for Christian Lindberg (1995).
Danish playwright Peter Asmussen was so taken by the coexistence of the past and the present in Sørensen’s violin concerto that the two artists decided to work together on an opera commission from the Royal Danish Theatre. After five years intense work and collaboration the composer completed the full-scale opera Under the Sky in April 2003. Sørensen and Asmussen continued to collaborate on the work Sounds Like You (2008) for actors and symphony orchestra, which premiered at the opening of the Bergen International Festival in 2009.
The composer’s music has gained tremendous international recognition in recent years, partly due to the perennial cooperation with the Bergen International Festival resulting in the orchestral work Exit Music (2007) and the symphonic play Sounds Like You (2008). However, in addition, the second piano concerto La Mattina (2009; written for pianist Leif Ove Andsnes) and Tunnels de Lumiére (2010; written for French Ensemble Intercontemporain) have helped spark an international appetite for Sørensen’s works.
Sørensen received the Nordic Council Music Prize in 1996 for the violin concerto Sterbende Gärten and in 1999 he received the Wilhelm Hansen Composer Prize. He is composer-in-residence for the Danish ensemble Scenatet and held that same title at the 2011 Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival in the U.K.
About ensemble mise-en
ensemble mise-en is an innovative and versatile New York-based contemporary music collective led by composer Moon Young HA. With over 15 of New York’s most talented musicians, the ensemble’s multi-national personnel strive to bring a repertoire of challenging, new sounds to diverse audiences. The ensemble wishes to impart an experience that is simultaneously multi-cultural, intellectually stimulating, and aesthetically pleasing (“mee” means “beauty” in Korean and “zahn” means “to decorate”), promoting large-scale composition projects and intense performances of contemporary music with programs featuring the works of many established and budding composers alike.
Since it was founded in 2011, ensemble mise-en has collaborated on several special projects, including more than 10 commissions and 20 New York and U.S. premieres, and has performed at various exciting venues such as (le) poisson rouge, Bohemian National Hall, the Tank, the DiMenna Center, Tenri Cultural Institute, The Invisible Dog Art Center, the cell, where the ensemble has been an artist-in-residence since 2012, and others. These performances have been supported by Washington Square Contemporary Music Society, Italian Academy at Columbia University, International Alliance for Women in Music, Austrian Cultural Forum New York, Open Meadows Foundation, New York University, New York Foundation for the Arts, Harry and Alice Eiler Foundation, Goethe-Institute (Boston), and Villa Gillet (Lyon, France).
During the upcoming 2013-2014 performance year, ensemble mise-en looks forward to expanding its diverse repertoire and audience outreach with four concerts, which will be presented at Moving Sounds Festival, University Settlement, the Italian Academy at Columbia University, and Tenri Cultural Institute. Concert programs will feature a total of 20 pieces, including seven new commissions and seven pieces by living American composers.
In accordance with its mission to bring new sounds to New York City, ensemble mise-en’s upcoming programs include several New York and U.S. premieres, such as Isang Yun’s Oktett and Arnold Schoenberg’s Gavotte Und Musette (Im Alten Style) Für Streichorchester respectively.
Likewise, the ensemble will honor Italian composer Franco Donatoni with a composer portrait concert at the Italian Academy, which will feature the U.S. premiere of Donatoni’s Flag for 13 instruments and the New York premiere of Ronda. ensemble mise-en is also thrilled to welcome two new additions to this year’s concert season: a Boston tour in May 2014 and mise-en music festival 2014 in June.