Friday 27th May, 8:00pm, Festivalscene

Magi i Musikteatret

Heiner Goebbels live – on music and theatre


A unique opportunity to meet one of contemporary music's great composers, Heiner Goebbels – as a warm-up to the Athelas New Music Festival 2011.

New Music from Germany is a key theme of this year's festival, and here one of its main players talks about his work and shows clips from some of his shows. The film version of the music-theatre piece “Schwarz auf Weiss” (“Black on White”, 1996) will be shown in its entirety – one example of a work by Goebbels where the audience is required to sharpen their ears and open their eyes, and let themselves get lost. “Schwarz auf Weiss" is dedicated to the memory of the legendary dramatist and director Heiner Müller, with whom Goebbels collaborated over many years.

Saturday 28th May, 6:30pm, Festivalscene


Heiner Goebbels on "Songs of Wars I Have Seen”



Meet the man who merges music and theatre and makes sparks fly.

Get prepared for experiencing a masterpiece when Heiner Goebbels himself talks about his music theatre piece, before it fills the stage and thrills the audience as the spectacular opening act of the Athelas New Music Festival.

Tania Ørum of the Stein Society will tell us the fascinating story of Gertrude Stein (1874-1936) and her novel "Wars I Have Seen" which inspired Heiner Goebbels.

This event is in English.

Saturday 28th May, 7:30pm, Festivalscene

Jammer på jorden

Songs of loss and war

The Festival Opening Concert will be broadcast live on DR P2

TICKETS: 120 kr. (Student and under 25-discount: 90 kr.) > See ticket & discount info

Gustav Mahler and Heiner Goebbels provide music which is both sad and life-affirming for this year's festival opening concert by Athelas and Chief Conductor Pierre-André Valade.

“Der Abschied” (The Farewell) is the great last movement of Mahler's song symphony “Das Lied von der Erde” (The Song of the Earth). Mahler's inspiration for the symphony was Hans Bethge's poems freely adapted from classical Chinese poetry of the 8th century. Arnold Schoenberg, himself a great composer, transcribed Mahler's sumptuosly orchestrated original into an intimate and transparent work for chamber ensemble. It is this version, left unfinished by Schoenberg and finished by Rainer Riehn in 1980, which is on the programme for this concert.

In “Der Abschied”, Mahler combined the texts of two of the Chinese poems and added lines of his own about man in his loneliness, unable to rejoice in the recurrence of spring, ending the movement with the hypnotic repetition of the word "ewig" (for ever). Mahler himself was worried that people might go home and shoot themselves after the concert, and the legendary mid-20th-century alto Kathleen Ferrier was unable to sing “Der Abschied” without bursting into tears at the end. But it was not only the melancholy of the music, but also its overwhelming beauty which brought the tears to Ferrier's eyes – and which still touches and moves audiences.

In the concert's second half, Denmark's leading contemporary music ensemble meets Denmark's leading early music ensemble, when Athelas Sinfonietta Copenhagen and Concerto Copenhagen join forces to perfom Heiner Goebbels’ “Songs of Wars I Have Seen”.

The unpredictable and unexpected are striking characteristics of the German composer Heiner Goebbels. Based in Frankfurt am Main, he is one of the most important figures of modern music, both at home and abroad. Since the 1970es he has been the author of a long line of works which are barrier-breaking not only in terms of musical genres, but also in terms of the art forms in general. This has resulted in fruitful meetings between music and art forms such as literature, theatre, radio plays and films. Gradually, he has created his own genre: A unique form of music theatre which appeals to the eyes and ears and mind of the spectator.

“Songs of Wars I Have Seen” is a reflection on war which is intoxicating and enriching to the senses. The work is unusually scored for a combination of modern and period instruments (the latter being the historic instruments which are often used today to reproduce the original sound of the music of earlier epochs). Not only will the modern and period instruments of Classical music be playing together – they will also be playing music which is strongly influenced by Jazz.

On top of this, the female members of the ensembles are required to recite words by Gertrude Stein. The words are from her novel “Wars I Have Seen”, written in France during the German occupation. The female musicians become the women who narrate the story in a set design showing a sitting room – thus Heiner Goebbels transforms his work from a concert into a piece of music theatre.

Heiner Goebbels introduces the concert at 6:30pm.

Opening speech by Minister of Cultural Affairs Per Stig Møller.

”Songs of Wars I have seen” is a stage production by Republique and form part of their workshop series ”Sounds of Senses”.

The participation of Concerto Copenhagen is made possible by generous grants from Oticon Fonden and Augustinus Fonden.



Pierre-André Valade – chief conductor

Hanne Fischer – mezzo-soprano

Karen Skriver Zarganis – flute
Elizabeth Gibbs – oboe
Anna Klett – clarinet
Signe Haugland – bassoon
Nenad Markovic – trumpet
Christian Smiedeskamp – trombone
Thomas Ekman – horn
Jakob Lund Nielsen, Ana Feitosa – violins
Claus Myrup – viola
Adam Stadnicki – cello
Joel Gonzalez – double bass
Manuel Esperilla – piano, sampler
Rikke Sandberg – harmonium, celeste
Maria Boelskov Sørensen – harp
Mathias Friis Hansen, Mathias Reumert – percussion

Richard Sweeney – theorbe
Gunnhild Tønder – harpsichord
Hannah Tibell, Kanerva Juutilainen – violins
Bryndis Bragasdottir – viola
Judith-Maria Blomsterberg – cello
Kristina Mårtensson – double bass


GUSTAV MAHLER (1860-1911), arr. ARNOLD SCHOENBERG (1874-1951) and RAINER RIEHN (b. 1941): “Der Abschied” from “Das Lied von der Erde” (1908/1921/1980)

HEINER GOEBBELS (b. 1952): “Songs of Wars I Have Seen” (2007) – a staged concert for chamber ensemble with modern and historical instruments.
Music and concept by Heiner Goebbels. Texts by Gertrude Stein (1874-1946)
– Danish premiere

Saturday 28th May, 10:15pm, Festivalcafé

Kufferten i Berlin

Unsentimental German weepies


Helene Gjerris of FIGURA sings seductive German cabaret songs from the rich repertoire of the 1930es – from Kurt Weill to Marlene Dietrich.

When Helene Gjerris of the FIGURA Ensemble is not shining in modern and classical opera roles, she sings German cabaret songs from the 1930es. Songs which cover the whole spectrum from the sharp and witty songs by Kurt Weill and Hanns Eisler with lyrics by Bertolt Brecht, to languishingly sentimental pop songs and movie songs. Both Weill and Eisler's songs inspired by Communism and the wistful schlagers are evidence of a time when culture seemed to prosper for the last time while totalitarian ideologies marched ahead and World War II was approaching.

Helene Gjerris is the regular singer of FIGURA and a founder member of the ensemble. Anne Middelboe Christensen of Information wrote: “When she sings you can understand every word. The way she hits the notes makes you want to hear more. And she is so delightful to watch that your eyes can't get enough.” At this concert she creates a Berlin atmosphere and shows herself to be the equal of Marlene Dietrich, Lotte Lenya and Zarah Leander as interpreter of those great songs of the 1930es.


FIGURA Ensemble

Helene Gjerris – mezzo soprano

Anna Klett  –  clarinets
Jesper Egelund – double bass, banjo
Frans Hansen – percussion, musical saw

Henrik Metz – piano


FRIEDRICH HOLLAENDER (1896-1976): “Wenn ich mir was wünschen dürfte”, “Ich weiss nicht zu wem ich gehöre”, “Die Kleptomanin”, “Geiger Jonny”

HANNS EISLER (1898-1962) / Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956): “Lied eines Freudenmädchens”, “Lied der Kupplerin”, “Über den Selbstmord”, “Moldau Lied”

KURT WEILL (1900-1950) / Bertolt Brecht: “Soldatenweib”, “Barbara Song”, “Alabama Song”

MICHAEL JARY (1906-1988) / Bruno Balz (1902-1988): “Davon geht die Welt nicht unter”

RALPH MARIA SIEGEL (1911-1972) / Aldo von Pinelli (1912-1967): “Ich hab' noch einen Koffer in Berlin”

Sunday 29th May, 6:00pm, Festivalcafé

Cd-release Ensemble MidtVest

Double CD feat. Carsten Dahl & Ensemble MidtVest


Carsten Dahl and Ensemble MidtVest celebrate the release of their new double CD “Synesthesia & Metropolis” featuring joint improvisations in the borderland between jazz and classical music – and new music for Fritz Lang's classic silent movie “Metropolis.

The internationally famed jazz pianist and the classic chamber ensemble have been working together for some years, creating their own synthesis of jazz and classical music.

We tend to forget that improvisation used to be part of classical music, with soloists required to improvise cadences and Baroque continuo groups having to improvise accompaniments rather like the rhythm section in jazz.

But under the skilled guidance of Carsten Dahl, the musicians of Ensemble MidtVest have turned out to be quite adept at improvising in the borderland between jazz and classical. 

The first of the two CD's, “Synesthesia”, is dedicated to improvisations of Dahl and the ensemble, reflecting on the human senses. The term synesthesia means the amalgamation of senses. On the second CD, we hear the new music for Fritz Lang's science fiction classic from the silent era, “Metropolis” (1927).

Carsten Dahl and the Ensemble MidtVest can be heard in concert at 9:00pm on the festival stage.

Sunday 29th May, 7:00pm, Festivalscene


Karlheinz Stockhausen's final tones

Concert is broadcast live on DR P2

TICKETS: 90 kr. (Students and under 25 discount: 60 kr.)  > See ticket and discount info

Stockhausen's monumental chamber music – played by an expert ensemble devoted to his work, musikFabrik of Cologne.

Karlheinz Stockhausen was a rare creature – an avant-garde composer whom everybody had heard of. He was a prominent representative of the Darmstadt School, one of the pioneers of electronic music, and the man behind spectacular works such as “Licht”, the opera cycle lasting 29 hours. “Licht” also includes the much talked-about “Helicopter String Quartet” (1993), in which the four members of the string quartet are situated in four helicopters. And finally, Stockhausen can be seen on the cover of The Beatles’ “Sergeant Pepper”. However, it is not often that there is an opportunity to actually hear his music.

This will be remedied by the elite ensemble musikFabrik with this concert, where they present three of the works from the great cycle of chamber music, “Klang”, left incomplete by Stockhausen. The cycle was to consist of 24 works corresponding to the 24 hours of the day, but at the time of Stockhausen's death he had only completed 21 of the 24 “hours”.

In “Nebadon”, the 17th hour of “Klang”, Stockhausen introduces several layers of electronic sounds. “Glanz” is the 10th hour, a septet for bassoon, viola, clarinet, oboe, trumpet, trombone and tuba. Finally we shall hear some of the 24 piano pieces from the 3rd hour, “Natürliche Dauern” – pieces based on natural rhythms or “durations”, such as breathing.

No-one are better equipped to introduce us to the world of Stockhausen than musikFabrik. Cologne's esteemed ensemble of new music collaborated with Stockhausen prior to his death in 2007, and in 2010 they gave the first complete performance of the “Klang” cycle.

musikFabrik is supported by the minister of North Rhine-Westphalia.


Peter Veale – oboe
Richard Haynes – clarinet
Heidi Mockert – bassoon
Christine Chapman – french horn
Ales Klancar – trumpet
Chris Houlding – trombone
Benjamin Kobler – piano
Axel Porath – viola
Paul Jeukendrup – sound projection



From the cycle “Klang” (2004-2007): “Nebadon”, “Natürliche Dauern” no. 24, “Glanz”

– Danish premiere

Sunday 29th May, 9:00pm, Festivalscene

Musikkens spejl

Carsten Dahl melds minds with Ensemble MidtVest

Concert is broadcast live on DR P2

TICKETS: 90 kr. (Students and under 25 discount: 60 kr.)  > See ticket and discount info

The collaboration between renowned jazz pianist Carsten Dahl and the classical chamber ensemble strikes sparks.

Carsten Dahl is a self-taught jazz pianist with his roots in bebop. Ensemble MidtVest consists of classically trained musicians. At first sight they don’t have much in common, but they have been playing music together since 2007 – and at closer inspection it turns out that there is a common ground after all.

Carsten Dahl is not only known for his deep knowledge of tradtion and his classy playing with Danish and international jazz greats from NHØP to Benny Golson, but also for his improvised solo concerts in the same vein as those of Keith Jarrett. And like Jarrett he is equally at home playing Bach’s Goldberg Variations and playing jazz. Dahl is very aware of genre but he sees it as an inspirational starting point rather than as a limitation.

Like Carsten Dahl, the Ensemble MidtVest has often strayed from their musical home ground and visited other musical territories – not least in their collaboration with Henrik Goldschmidt and The Middle East Peace Orchestra, which was a great success at last year’s Athelas New Music Festival. Whether the ensemble ventures into the fields of world music or jazz, they never stop at just “playing the notes”.

In the project “Music’s Mirror”, Carsten Dahl and the members of Ensemble MidtVest take us yet a step further into the universe that opens up once you let go of musical habits and preconceived notions and listen to the music that emerges from moment to moment. With the personalities and skills of the individual musicians as the starting point for improvisation, they have succeeded in finding “the music behind the music”, as Carsten Dahl says.

At 6:00pm Carsten Dahl and Ensemble MidtVest present their new CD at the festival café.


Carsten Dahl – piano and percussion

Charlotte Norholt – flute
Peter Kirstein – oboe
Tommaso Lonquich – clarinet
Neil Page – horn
Martin Qvist Hansen – piano
Matthew Jones – violin
Sanna Ripatti – viola
Jonathan Slaatto – cello




Sunday 29th May, 10:15pm, Festivalcafé

Anders ist normal

Mauricio Kagel’s absurd music theatre


Mauricio Kagel pokes fun at musical traditions – but in doing so irresistibly shows himself to have an ear for music. musikFabrik of Cologne is at home in Kagel's absurd instrumental theatre where musicians must be able to act while playing music.

The Argentinian-Jewish composer Mauricio Kagel settled in Germany in 1957 and became affiliated with the avant-garde Darmstadt School. In his music he was inspired by the theatre of the absurd and the concept of instrumental theatre where the musicians not only play the notes but must do some play-acting at the same time, using gesture and grimacing.

“MM 51” for piano and metronome is a piece of “Music for Movies” which is not written for a specific movie but alludes to film music as a genre. Kagel plays with the use of well known effects in film music to create specific audience expectations of e.g. suspense. In “Morceau de Concours” (“Concert Piece”) Kagel is also playing with genre expectations. The virtuoso trumpet piece plays with the well-known urge of the Romantic virtuoso to “play to the gallery”.

The strange title “Unguis incarnatus est” is a play on words on the Confession of Creed – but here it is not Jesus, but a hoof which has been conceived – if only because the word “Unguis” resembles an anagram of Liszt's piano piece “Nuages gris” which Kagel alludes to in the music. The late piece “Schattenklänge” (“Shadow Sounds”) is a triptych composed for an instrument, Kagel “fell head over heels in love with” – the bass clarinet.

The elite ensemble musikFabrik enjoyed the privilege of working with Kagel before his death and are thoroughly at home in his instrumental theatre.

musikFabrik is supported by the minister of North Rhine-Westphalia.


Carl Rosman – clarinet
Ales Klancar – trumpet
Benjamin Kobler – piano
Christine Chapman – french horn


MAURICIO KAGEL (1931-2008): Unguis incarnatus est” (1973), Schattenklänge” (1995), Morceau de Concours” (1968-1972), MM51” (1976)

Monday 30th May, 7:00pm, Festivalscene

Etablerede outsidere

Berg – Stockhausen – Steen-Andersen

TICKETS: 90 kr. (Students and under 25 discount: 60 kr.)  > See ticket and discount info

Uncompromising music from the Swiss Ensemble Opera Nova which specializes in the mysterious works of the forgotten Dane Gunnar Berg.

“There is something secretive about the music of Gunnar Berg, every note is surrounded by a mysterious, exotic aura,” says Christoph Jäggin of the Ensemble Opera Nova – but in Berg's time, the verdict in his native Denmark was less sympathetic.

“Damned ugly music!” was the offical reply when Gunnar Berg some time in the 1940es had suggested some of his works for performance on national radio. Disappointed that he was not recognized in Denmark, Gunnar Berg left for Paris in 1948 where he gained praise from colleagues such as Honegger and Milhaud. Berg did not return to Denmark until 1957 – and in 1980 he emigrated once again, this time to Switzerland where his uncompromisingly modern music once again gained recognition. Music which was inspired by twelvetone-technique, serialism and the Darmstadt School – currents which had not reached Denmark at the time. Gunnar Berg gradually developed his own metoid of serial composition, based on numbers, letters and symbols.

The two pieces of chamber music for flute and clarinet and for solo trumpet, respectively, leads us gently into Berg's complex world of thought, which is then unfurled in “Hyperion” – a work for soprano and ten musicians, inspired by the mad Romantic poet Friedrich Hölderlin's lyric epistolary novel of the same title (1799), from which the soprano sings fragments.

In later years, Gunnar Berg's music has had a renaissance, not least thanks to the Danish Gunnar Berg Working Group which has paved the way for performances of Berg's music. It is as logic as one of Berg's own sequence of numbers that it is an ensemble from Switzerland, the composer's last exile, which now performs his music in Denmark.

Karlheinz Stockhausen's “Klavierstück VII” shows the international context that inspired Berg, for Stockhausen was part of the Darmstadt School and a pioneer of serial music.

The concert also features a work by Simon Steen-Andersen, “Beloved Brother” for solo guitar. Steen-Andersen, who lives in Berlin, has the uncompromising modern expression and the international outlook in common with Berg, using as diverse sources of inspiration as European Modernism and Chinese folk music. The composer describes “Beloved Brother” as “two movements from J.S. Bachs harpsichord suite “Capriccio on the occassion of the departure of his beloved brother” arranged for “backside guitar”.”

The concert is made possible by generous grants from ProHelvetia and Schweizerische Interpretenstiftung.


Pierre-Alain Monot – conductor

Isolde Siebert – sopran
Christoph Jäggin – guitar

Chouchane Siranossian – violin
Andreas Plattner – cello 

Viorel Alexandru – double bass 

Maria Goldschmidt, Marjorue Pfister – flute 

Heinrich Mätzener – clarinet 

Laurent Tinguély – trumpet 

Jürg Luchsinger – accordion
Hans-Peter Achberger – percussion
Jean-Jacques Dünki – piano


GUNNAR BERG (1909-1989): Sonate for fløjte og klarinet (1942-44)

KARLHEINZ STOCKHAUSEN (1928-2007): “Klavierstück VII” (1954)

SIMON STEEN-ANDERSEN (b. 1976): “Beloved Brother” for guitar (2002)

GUNNAR BERG: “Monologue” for trumpet (1974)

“Hyperion” – after Friedrich Hölderlin, for soprano and 10 instruments (1977)

Monday 30th May, 9:00pm, Festivalscene

Hvornår begynder tiden?

Tale, Interpretation, Enchantment

TICKETS: 90 kr. (Students and under 25 discount: 60 kr.)  > See ticket and discount info

What is time? How do ideas become real? And what does jealousy sound like? The brilliant Aventa Ensemble from Canada treats us to Canadian, Danish and German music which makes us wonder.

Gilles Tremblay's “À quelle heure commence le temps?” for barytone, solo-piano and 15 instruments, is based on a poem by the Quebec-poet Bernard Lévy which revolves around existential and metaphysical questions: “When does time begin? ... When does the time to live begin? … At what time? At what instant? At what first instant?” Gilles Tremblay, who studied with Olivier Messiaen and Yvonne Loriod, is a veteran of Canadian music and one of the country's most revered composers. He says about this work that a new poem emerges in the interplay of words and music, gradually unfolding itself “as a metaphor of our epogue and transition into a new millennium. It is thus a navigation. At the heart of this navigation-poem: shipwreck and death. But the word “light” is engraved in the poem (“light of the sea”) like an indelible desire.”

“La Jalousie” bears the subtitle “Sounds from a novel” and is inspired by Alain Robbe-Grillet, known as the creator of the language-oriented “nouveau roman” and as the writer of the screenplay for the cult movie “L’année dernière à Marienbad” (1961). From the notes of the German composer Heiner Goebbels on his work: “Despite its relatively large orchestral forces, it is a rather quiet and cinemaic piece. In French, “La Jalousie” has a double meaning, referring both to an adjustable sun-shade, transparent from one side only, and to jealousy. This differentation is the theme of Robbe-Grillet's novel of the same title from 1957. ”La Jalousie” revolves around the jealousy of the husband-narrator ... an unspoken, unacknowledged jealousy ... The manic perceptions and suppressions of this emotion are minutely described and traumatically conveyed to the reader ... Robbe-Grillet said of the novel: “How is it that so little has been said about the importance of hearing in this novel?” This I attempted in my composition.”

Simon Steen-Andersen calls his compositions under the headline “Next To Beside Besides” a “re-cycle”. The germ of the series was the composition “Besides” which lead to the cello piece “Beside Besides”. It is the latter which is the object of Steen-Andersen's recycling experiment with which he wishes to explore the tension between the abstract ideas of the composer and the concrete handling of the instruments by the musicians. He says: “The re-cycle “Next To Beside Besides” become an open series of attempts to transcribe the piece ”Beside Besides” for various instruments and combinations of instruments … All the pieces can be played separately or in any combination, simultaneously or consecutively.” The Aventa Ensemble plays “Next to Besides Beside” in an incarnation for piccolo flute and percussion.

The scores for “À quelle heure commence le temps?” by Gilles Tremblay has been made available through the generous support of le Centre de musique canadienne au Québec.

This concert is made possible by the generus support from Canada Council of the Arts, British Columbia Arts Council and the Government of British Colombia.


Bill Linwood – conductor
Vincent Ranallo – barytone
Miranda Wong – piano

Muge Buyukcelen, Sharon Stanis – violins
Mieka Michaux – viola
Alasdair Money – cello
Darren Buhr
double bass
Mark McGregor
Russell Bajer – oboe
Caroline Gauthier – clarinet
Brent Besner – bass clarinet
Jennifer Gunter – bassoon
Darnell Linwood – horn
Louis Ranger – trumpet
Martin Ringuette – trombone

Mike Szabo – contra bass trombone
Manuel Esperilla – piano, sampler
Jesper Lützhøft – electric guitar
Corey Rae – percussion, guitar
Robert Slapcoff – percussion



GILLES TREMBLAY (b. 1932): “À quelle heure commence le temps?” for baryton og ensemble (1999) – Danish premiere

SIMON STEEN-ANDERSEN (b. 1976): “Study for String Instrument #3” version for guitar and video (2011) - Danish premiere

HEINER GOEBBELS (b. 1952): “La Jalousie – Geräusche aus einem Roman” for reciter and ensemble (1991)

Monday 30th May, 10:15pm, Festivalcafé

Flaskepost fra Hollywood

Longing for bygone German identity


Lore Lixenberg sings songs by the Communist Hanns Eisler and the Modernist Gerhard Stäbler – with inspiration from great poets, press cuttings, and the internet!

Romantic songs by Schubert and Schumann must give place to their modern and unsentimental descendants for this concert. But an awareness of tradition and a sense of yearning do after all surface in the music of Eisler and Stäbler.

The life of Hanns Eisler reflects the turbulent world history of the 20th century. After fighting in the First World War, he studied twelve-tone technique with Arnold Schoenberg, but he then became enthraled by Communism and started writing political songs inspired by jazz and cabaret with his lifelong friend Bertolt Brecht. As a Jew and a Communist, Eisler fleed from Nazism in 1933. He went to Hollywood where he composed film music for Fritz Lang. But the advent of McCarthy's Communist huntog meant that Eisler was expelled from the USA in 1948 and ended his days in East Germany, where he even wrote the national anthem.

“Zeitungsausschnitte” (“Press Cuttings”) is a satirical take on the tradition of Romantic Lieder as well as the contemporary newspapers, in that the lyrics have literally been cut from newpapers and magazines. But beyond satire, the songs give a moving insight into the the plight of the common man in the depressed Weimar Republic.

In “Hollywood Liederbuch” lyrics by Brecht are juxtaposed to Romantic poems by the likes of Eduard Mörike – just as the political critique of the times are juxtaposed to the refugee's yearning for the pre-Nazi culture and traditions of the native land. The “Hollywood Songbook” has been called the ”Winterreise” of the 20th century, with a reference to Schubert's famous song cycle.

For Gerhard Stäbler, it is important to stimulate the senses and thoughts of audiences with unexpected impulses. Therefore improvisation, gesture and elements of theatre are central to his art, as is the case with his colleagues Heiner Goebbels and Mauricio Kagel.

“The Belfast Breakfast Songs” were composed in Northern Ireland and employs an invented, nonsensical language. Stäbler says of his work: “The choice of tempi and the way the voice is used should be extreme. Any hint of mediocrity is inappropiate in connection with the interpretation of the songs. The singer's attire must be extreme, whether he or she is dressed as a drag queen or a bag lady or as a grey bureaucrat in contrast with the eccentricity of the songs.”

For this concert, Stäbler has composed a piano work inspired by today's new mass medium: “Internet 1.9” – together with a new song cycle which picks up the thread from Eisler's “Zeitungsausschnitte”, reflecting our times as Eisler's work reflected his, and even bearing the same title.

Lore Lixenberg – mezzo soprano
Mark Knoop – piano


HANNS EISLER (1898-1962): “Zeitungsausschnitte” (1929)

HANNS EISLER with texts by BERTOLT BRECHT (1898-1956): Songs from “Hollywooder Liederbuch” (1938-1943): “Winterspruch”, “An den kleinen Radioapparat”, “Maske des Bösens”, “Hollywood Elegie”, “Die Heimkehr”, “Landschaft des Exils”, “In der Frühe” (text by Eduard Mörike (1804-1875)), “Über den Selbstmord”, “Im Blumengarten”.

“Wiegenlied für Arbeitermütter”

GERHARD STÄBLER (b. 1949): “Die bange Nacht”, “Winterblumen”, “The Belfast Breakfast Songs”, “Internet 1.9” – world premiere, "Zeitungsausschnitte" – world premiere

Tuesday 31st May, 7:00pm, Festivalscene

PapIrklip på tysk

Hans Josef Winkler in search of H.C. Andersen

BILLETTER: 90 kr. (Student and under 25 discount: 60 kr.)   > See ticket and discount info

The paper cuttings of Hans Christian Andersen scored for chamber ensemble and animation with inserted fairy tales read by Lars Bom. A German composer reminds us of Andersen's versatile genius.

It is easy, especially in Denmark to take Hans Christian Andersen for granted – forgetting how brilliant he is, even in the overlooked corners of his life's work. His virtuoso paper cuttings and collages inspired the German artist Max Ernst, and in this way Andersen paved the way for Surrealism and the use of found objects in 20th century pictorial art. For this concert it is once again a German artist who makes us look at Andersen with fresh eyes.

The composer Hans Josef Winkler has previously delved into the work of Andersen for his opera based on “The Ugly Duckling” (2004). “Paper Cuttings Music” has been written especially for Storstrøms Chamber Ensemble and combines the music with the fairy tales of Andersen and the visual experience of his paper cuttings.

The seven pieces for chamber ensemble has the following long subtitle: “seven films without visual motion – or how static pictures begin to move with music”.

Each of the seven movements is named after one of Andersen's paper cuttings which is projected onto a screen while the music plays. The animation artist Troelz Schmidt has animated the paper cuttings so that they appear to be set in motion by the music.

Finally Winkler has chosen six of the short stories from Andersen's “Picture Book without Pictures” (1840) which are read by the actor Lars Bom inbetween movements. “Picture Book without Pictures” is a frame story where the moon relates what it sees in the course of 33 evenings as it watches the ways of mankind on Earth.


Lars Bom – recitation
Troelz Schmidt – animations

Svend Melbyeflute
Eva Åberg – clarinet
Gunnar Eckhoff – bassoon
Mette Franck– harp
Jakob Westh – piano
Stéphane Tran Ngoc – violin
Piotr Zelazny – viola
Miranda Harding – cello


HANS JOSEF WINKLER (b. 1965): Paper Cuttings Music
Seven pieces for chamber ensemble (2011) – world premiere

I. theatre scene
- fourth evening

II. female and male figure
- seventh evening
III. jumping figure
- second evening
IV. hencoop with a thatched roof
- twenty-fifth evening

V. plasterer
- twenty-second evening     
VI. tightrope walkers
- thirty-third evening

VII. head with big ears

Tuesday 31st May, 9:00pm, Festivalscene

Mod afgrunden

Undiluted apocalyptic rhapsodies from ruders

TICKETS: 90 kr. (Students and under 25 discount: 60 kr.)   > See ticket and discount info

Two exciting chamber works by the world-renowned Poul Ruders with the Athelas Woodwind Quintet and featuring two virtuoso soloists.

“Songs and Rhapsodies” is dedicated to Frode Andersen and written especially for him and the five woodwind players of the Athelas Woodwind Quintet. Poul Ruders writes about his work:
“It would seem close at hand to regard “Songs and Rhapsodies” as the natural successor to “Serenade on the Shores of the Cosmic Ocean” which also has a solo accordion part at its centre. In the present work it is not, however, a string quartet but the classical wind quintet – flute, oboe, clarinet, horn and bassoon – which accompanies and responds to the virtuoso accordion part. The title “Songs and Rhapsodies” clearly signals that this is a work which is by turns rhapsodic, or ‘impulsive’, and more melodic. There are four rhapsodies, simply called ‘First Rhapsody’ – ‘Second Rhapsody’, etc.

The melodic movements have more poetic titles which describe the character of the said movements: “Gateway to Dreaming”, “Shadow Play”, “Swan Song”, etc. One specific title – that of the fifth movement – does need a bit of explanation: “The Desert of Time Revisited”. This is a reference to my first symphony from 1990: “The Desert of Time” – a quote from Milan Kundera – is the motto of the second movement of the symphony – static music in trance-like motion between two chords.
 “Songs and Rhapsodies” explores the fascinating and unexpected harmonic possibilities which emerges in the interplay between the accordion and the more traditional instruments.”

In the second half of the concert, percussion soloist Mathias Reumert takes centre stage to perform Ruders’ “Towards the Precipice”. The composer says: “The (export-friendly) English title of the work “Towards the Precipice” hints at the outer limit which should be the aim and ultimate habitat of all creative work – the edge where there is danger that you might fall down and hurt yourself. It is of course the precipice which the soloist dances towards and where he ends up balancing in the course of the extremely virtuosic work. But in composing the work I have also taken myself as far towards that edge as it is possible within the premises that I set for myself when I started the piece: the archetypical ascendance from nothingness to a maximum of movement, a kind of compositional Dervish dance.”



Frode Andersen – accordion
Mathias Reumert – solo percussion

Karen Skriver Zarganis –  flute
Andreas Fosdal
–  oboe
Anna Klett
–  clarinet
Signe Haugland
Thomas Ekman
French horn



POUL RUDERS (b. 1949):

“Songs and Rhapsodies – a suite for accordion and wind quintet” (2010-11)

“Towards the Precipice” for solo percussion (1990)

Tuesday 31st May, 10:15pm, Festivalcafé

Hendrix møder Händel

High baroque rock with rococo electronic score


Handel and Hendrix were next-door neighbours in London – albeit with an interval of 210 years! In an irresistible musical show the London ensemble squib-box has imagined what the meeting between the master of the Baroque and the rock legend would be like.

The Handel Museum in London is situated at Brook Street Nos. 23-25. Georg Friedrich Handel lived in number 25 from 1523 to 1759. And Jimi Hendrix lived in number nr 23 in 1968-69. At first glance they do not have much in common, the German creator of the "Messiah" and ”Water Music”, and the American guitar virtuoso known for setting fire to his guitars – except from the facts that they were both virtuoso musicians and that they both came to live in London. But this co-incidence fascinated the members of squib-box so much that they created the show “Too Hot To Handel” where they let the neighbours Handel and Hendrix meet and play a jam session together.

The mezzo soprano Lore Lixenberg appears as Handel complete with a wig and full costume  – in accordance with the opera tradition of letting women sing certain male parts. And Adam de la Cour plays Hendrix with guitar and vocal – in a flower power outfit and with a very different sort of wig. They are accompanied by a band featuring both harpsichord and laptop in their fantastic arrangements of Hendrix's songs and Handel's arias 

The humorous and highly musical tribute to the two geniusses was first performed – yes, that's right – at the Handel Museum in Brook Street – and now for the first time, we have a chance to hear it in Copenhagen.



Lore Lixenberg – mezzo soprano
Mark Knoop – piano & harpsichord
Federico Reuben – live electronics
Adam de la Cour – guitar & vocal
Thomas Sandberg – drums
Andreas Bennetzen – bass


“Too Hot to Handel” – a show featuring music by

& JIMI HENDRIX (1942-1970)

– as we've never heard it before!
– Danish premiere

Wednesday 1st June, 7:00pm, Festivalscene

Tick, tack, tock

Staged Music – Staged Time

TICKETS: 90 kr. (Students and under 25 discount: 60 kr.)  > See ticket and discount info

Republique and Athelas New Music Festival have given set designer and stage director Jacob F. Schokking the challenge of making a stage show on the basis of music which is being performed live. What will happen when the music is combined with Schokking's visually striking scenic imagery?

Jacob F. Schokking has been given the task by Republique of uniting art music and theatre. In the fascinating theatrical laboratory of Schokking, we examine how the experience of sound, time and space transforms when these elements are combined in a new way. Among the spectacles we will witness are a race between a bicycle and a grand piano, and the internationally famed conductor Pierre-André Valade in front of an orchestra consisting of 100 metronomes. The music is interpreted by a star-studded team of musicians and linked by the electronic interventions of Christian Winther Christensen.

A word about the music::

Time is the pivotal point of “Tick, Tack, Tock”. The five pieces of music selected for the show have the theme of time or the experience of time in common. A word about the music:

György Ligeti created a sensation in 1962 with his “Poème Symphonique” for 100 metronomes, which are to be set in motion at different measures. Ligeti called the work “a critique of ideologies – all ideologies, in that they are all stubborn and intolerant towards others.”

Per Nørgård's piano work “Achilles and the Tortoise” is named after the Greek philosopher Zeno's famous paradox: that Achilles never will be able to catch up with the tortoise if the tortoise gets only the slightest head start. Per Nørgård calls the piece a race between the different elements of the music “none of which can be proclaimed the winner.”

In Steve Reich's “Four Organs” the Farfisa organs jointly plays a chord which is then varied and broken, while at the same time the duration is gradually lengthened from an eighth note to to 200 beats in the end. Reich mentioned both Debussy, Thelonious Monk and the Medieval composer Perotin as his inspirations. In “Pendulum Music” by the same composer, microphones are swung back and forth like pendulums over a loudspeaker – and the resulting feedback noise becomes a music of chance.

In Morton Feldman's “Three Voices” the soprano sings very accurately in pitch and in sync with two recordings of her own voice – first the singing is wordless, in finely wrought vocalise patterns inspired by Oriental carpets, then it becomes a setting of Frank O’Hara's poem “Wind”.

“Tick, Tack, Tock” is produced by Republique and based on a concept by Rasmus Adrian and Anders Beyer. It is part of Republique's workshop series “Sounds of Senses”.


Jacob F. Schokking – stage director and set designer

Sofie Elkjær Jensen – soprano
Kristoffer Hyldig – piano, organ
Christian Winther Christensen – live electronics and organ
Alexander Ross McKenzie, Manuel Esperilla – organs
Mathias Reumert – maracas
Pierre-André Valade – metronomes

Peter Plesner – lighting design
Jakob Thorbek, Lotte Broe – video design
Gert Sørensen – sound design “3 Voices”
Nikolaj Trap – set builder
Jakob Alexander Bertelsen – cyclist
Frederik Heitmann – system technician
Mikkel Secher Kroner – sound engineer
Sara Beyer - producer assistant


MORTON FELDMAN (1926-1987): “3 Voices” (1982)

GYÖRGY LIGETI (1923-2006): “Poème Symphonique” for 100 metronomes (1962)

PER NØRGÅRD (b. 1932): “Achilles and the tortoise” for solo piano (1983)

STEVE REICH (b. 1936): “Four Organs” (1970) for 4 Farfisa organs and maracas

“Pendulum Music” (1968/1973) for microphones, amplifiers and loudspeakers

Transitions, interventions and remix by Christian Winther Christensen

Wednesday 1st June, 8:59pm, Festivalscene

Stockhausens Stimmung

Atmospheric Vocal Virtuosity

Bring a blanket or pillow

TICKETS: 90 kr. (Student and under 25-discount: 60 kr.)  > See ticket and discount info

Stockhausen's high brow classic is revealed as easy and enjoyable listening when it is performed by the world-class vocal ensemble Theatre of Voices.

“Dear Paul Hillier, I have now heard your record of “Stimmung”. I write immediately to recommend you with “Stimmung” for the opening of the Berlin Festwochen for my 80th birthday in 2008. The recording is exceptional.” These are the words Karlheinz Stockhausen wrote to Paul Hillier after hearing the CD recording by him and the Theatre of Voices of the composer's ground-breaking vocal work. Unfortunately Stockhausen did not live to see his 80th birthday, but his recommendation was heeded. Now we get the chance to hear what it was that so captivated the composer.

“Stimmung” was written in 1968, at the request of Collegium Vocale Köln. The work ushered in a whole new way of composing for voices, including among other things overtone singing and improvisation. As Paul Hillier points out, the German word “Stimmung” has several meanings: “Stimmung implies not only the outward tuning of voices or instruments, but also the inward tuning of one’s soul. When people feel in tune with one another they are said to be in a good Stimmung. And of course its root syllable suggests Stimme, voice.”

Another translation of the word “Stimmung” is mood. Among the moods that inspired Stockhausen were the experience of ancient ruins in Mexico and the view of a frozen and snow-covered fjord in Connecticut, where “Stimmung” was composed.

“Stimmung” is scored for six voices and six microphones, and it is the first composition in Western music to include overtone singing, known from the folk music of Tibet among other countries. The singers begin by singing a deep B flat and then add the overtones to this note. From this starting point, the overtone singing is gradually being expanded and transformed.

The work consists of 51 of what Stockhausen called “moments”. The singers take turns starting a new moment whenever it is estimated that they have reached a conclusion to the previous one. Spoken elements are part of the work – such as detached words, magic names of Gods from various cultures and Stockhausen's own passionately erotic love poems.

Performances of “Stimmung” can turn out very differently – Paul Hillier's and Theatre of Voices' version was approved by Stockhausen as the “Copenhagen version” from 2006 – but one thing is certain: It will be a magic experience.

Bring a blanket or pillow and make yourself comfortable sitting or lying down while you listen to the atmospheric chords.

This concert is made possible by the generous support of the Sonning Foundation.



Else Torp – soprano I
Louise Skovbæch – soprano II
Randi Pontoppidan – alto
Wolodymyr Smishkewych – tenor I
Chris Watson – tenor II
Jakob Bloch Jespersen – bass
Ian Dearden – lighting designer

Paul Hillier – artistic director


KARLHEINZ STOCKHAUSEN (1928-2007): “Stimmung” (1968)

Wednesday 1st June, 10:15pm, Festivalcafé

On the Loose

Thomas Sandberg in free fall


The multitalented Thomas Sandberg's “On the Loose” is a concert performance where anything can happen.

The musical and performative universe of Thomas Sandberg will unfold in a show where what is planned and what is improvised form a synthesis in the interaction with the venue and the audience. Specially designed software, interfaces, microphones and other technological devices contributes along with music and acting to create the special kind of dramatic experience for which Sandberg is well-known.           .

Thomas Sandberg is a conservatory-trained percussionist who is also an unprejudiced and autodidact artist working within numerous genres, environments and styles, not least as a singer and actor in several solo performances and in the world premieres of no less than 30 contemporary chamber operas

“On the Loose” is Thomas Sandberg on his home ground, doing a tour de force stimulating all senses.


Thomas Sandberg – performer



THOMAS SANDBERG – one man show

Thursday 2nd June, 5:30pm, Festivalcafé

Musik & teknologi

Fusion of electronics and art music


What is it that sound art can do? What is the future of electronic music? And how can digital technology be utilized together with the sound of acoustic instruments? Experience and explore the new possibilities of classical and electronic music.

The use of technology in the performance of contemporary music is developing fast. The fusion of electronics and acoustic instruments holds a challenge for both musicians, audiences, technicians and instrument makers. As one of only five ensembles, Athelas Sinfonietta Copenhagen has participated in the  EU project “Integra – Fusing music and technology”, in close collaboration with the other four ensembles and the research centres. Among the aims of the project are the training of musicians, the development of new software and the recycling of outdated technology.

Before the new methods of fusing electronic and acoustic music are demonstrated in practice in tonight's concert, here is the chance to meet some of the men behind the research that opens new possibilities for contemporary classical music. Get introduced to live electronics and a world where technology, composition and performance are fused. Peter Plessas, researcher and live electronics musician attached to IEM in Graz, demonstrates the soundscapes that the use of live electronics make possible. And Jamie Bullock, senior researcher and software development manager at the Birmingham Conservatoire, presents the software IntegraLive which is a concrete tool for musicians, designed to be user-friendly in a stage setting.

Athelas New Music Festival is proud to present the results of this research under the leadership of the Birmingham Conservatoire in collaboration with the following research centres: Cirmmt - Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Music, Media and Technology, Canada, Malmö Academy of Music, Sweden, IEM - Institute of Electronic Music and Acoustics, Austria, NOTAM - Norwegian Network for Technology, Acoustics and Music, Norway, and Muzyka Centrum Art Society, Poland.

This event is supported by the EU-programme of culture, Integra, Birmingham Conservatoire, KunstUni Graz and IEM - Institute of Electronic Music and Acoustics.

Experience the new technology put into practice at the concert at 10:15pm.

Peter Plessas, IEM Graz
Jamie Bullock, Integra

Thursday 2nd June, 7:00pm, Festivalscene


Love is a racing car!

TICKETS: 90 kr. (Student and U25-discount: 60 kr.)  > See ticket & discount info

Experience four aspects of the work of the artist duo Klejs and Rønsholdt in the borderland between installation, opera and concert.

“Racer” is an opportunity to have a look inside the laboratory of the artists at work – a preliminary study for the upcoming magnum opus “LoveRacer”, the most personal and autobiographical work of the artist duo so far. “Love is a racing car, and all through life we struggle to control the pumping horse power,” says Klejs & Rønsholdt, and on stage they work at high pressure in the engine room of love where the engine must be kept running at all costs. “Racer” is an aesthetic examination of the wish to have full access to the mind, thoughts and feelings of the beloved. Klejs & Rønsholdt have put themselves behind the wheel of the racing car of love and we're in for a high speed journey!

Niels Rønsholdt's “Unter den Lidern” with texts taken from the letters written in prison by Ulrike Meinhof was created specially for the concert room made out of glass at the Akademie der Künste in Berlin and first performed by the Kammerensemble Neue Musik Berlin. The work is now being performed for the first time in Denmark in a blackbox version with the Athelas players.

Klejs & Rønsholdt will also be live-remixing video and sound recordings from their opera “Inside Your Mouth, Sucking The Sun”, and the Athelas Chamber Players will be playing new versions of the music from the show “Archeopteryx X”.

Tune in for a concert where the distinguished strings of the Athelas Chamber Players interplay with the raw multi media performance of Klejs & Rønsholdt.

SIGNE KLEJS – concept and visual design
NIELS RØNSHOLDT – concept and music

Peter Sheppard Skærved – violin
Morgan Goff – viola
Tobias van der Pals – cello
Meherban Gillett – double bass


NIELS RØNSHOLDT: “Archeopteryx Dances” (2010), 4 movements from the performance piece "Archeopteryx X" – version for 3 strings and audio playback

NIELS RØNSHOLDT: “Unter den Lidern” (2007) – Montage for 4 offstage-strings, audio playback, video and lighting with texts by Ulrike Meinhof – Danish premiere

KLEJS & RØNSHOLDT: “Racer” – study for Klejs & Rønsholdts "LoveRacer"- for 4 strings, elektronics and video and more – world premiere

KLEJS & RØNSHOLDT: “Inside Your Mouth, Sucking the Sun” (2004) – DJ/VJ-set, Klejs & Rønsholdt are live-remixing material from their 2004-opera


Thursday 2nd June, 9:00pm, Festivalscene

Ode til sanseligheden

Love in art and art in love

TICKETS: 90 kr. (Student and U25-discount: 60 kr.)  > See ticket & discount info

It is a song which awakens piles of sound” – under this headline, FIGURA Ensemble and their much lauded singer Helene Gjerris take us to the realm of love and longing in three original works – from the Song of Solomon via Danish poetry to hypermodern German Romanticism.

Composers have sought to express love and longing in their music more often than any other emotions. In tonight's concert, the FIGURA Ensemble with special guests offer three very different ways of looking at these emotions.

“The Song of Solomon” from The Old Testament is one the most erotic texts in world literature. The rich description of  sensual love and yearning for the beloved in the “Song of Solomon” inspired the Danish-German composer Matthias Ronnefeld to write“Sieben Lieder nach dem Hohelied Salomos” – seven short, expressive tone paintings by the unusually talented young composer. Matthias Ronnefeld started composing at the age of 12 and as a young adult he was the pupil of Ligeti and Per Nørgård a.o. In 1986 he took his own life at the age of 27. In later years, Matthias Ronnefeld's music has experienced a renaissance – and lately one of the world's leading pianists, Leif Ove Andsnes, has included Ronnefeld's piano works in his repertoire.

The words “It is a song which awakens heaps of sound,” are from a poem by the masterful Århus poet Peter Laugesen from the collection “Frø og stængler” (“Seeds and stems”, 1988). Steingrimur Rohloff, a composer regularly affiliated with FIGURA, has set three of Laugesen's poems to music. “Still Not / Not Yet” is the name of his song cycle which expresses the longing for the unknown and the love of the poetry inherent in everything. In a simple way, the Danish-German-Icelandic Rohloff let the words refer to the music  – they do not tell a story separate from the music, but tell us what happens in the music at that very moment. Music and texts reflect each other and complement each other.

Longing as a feeling of isolation and loneliness are at work in Jörg Widmann's Octet. Jörg Widmann is one of the most outstanding German composers of his generation, his works being performed by the leading orchestras and ensembles of Germany. His Octet takes Schubert's Octet in F Major as its starting point and can be seen as a tribute to Schubert, but it also alludes to the work that was Schubert's source of inspiration, the Septet of Beethoven. Widmann plays with the relationship of each instrument to the others, and the work that inspired him is palbably present. But if the music at one instant sounds strangely familiar, the next instant it takes a sudden and unexpected turn.

This concert is supported by the Danish Conductors Association and Solistforeningen of 1921.


Casper Schreiber – conductor
Helene Gjerris – mezzo-soprano

Eva Østergaard – flute
Anna Klett – clarinet

Marie Bessesen – bass clarinet
Etienne Boudreault – bassoon
Einar Øhman – horn
Emily Fowler,
Kjell Tomter – violins
Asbjørn Nørgaard – viola
Carl-Oscar Østerlind – cello
Jesper Egelund – double bass
Frans Hansen – percussion


MATTHIAS RONNEFELD (1959-1986): “Sieben Lieder nach dem Hohelied Salomos” for mezzo-soprano and ensemble (1981)
1. Ich schlafe, aber mein Herz wacht
2. Erquicket mich mit Blumen
3. Sage mir an, du, den meine Seele liebet
4. Wie schon und wie lieblich bist du
5. Ich will aufsteh'n und in der Stadt umhergehen
6. Dein Schoss ist wie ein runder Becher
7. O dass du mir gleich einem Bruder warest

STEINGRIMUR ROHLOFF (b. 1971): “Still Not/Not Yet” for mezzo-soprano and ensemble (2010)

JÖRG WIDMANN (b. 1973): Octet (2004)

Thursday 2nd June, 10:15pm, Festivalcafé

Musik med strøm

the art of fusing music and technology


Hear the newest conquests within music technology being put into practice when Frode Andersen and Ejner Kanding utilize the musical software developed as part of the Integra project.

“Integra – Fusing music and technology” is the name of a project under the auspices of the EU, in which some of Europe's leading music ensembles and research centres are collaborating to develop new possibilities in the field of electronic music and provide an easily accessible user interface to electronics in music.

The use of electronics in the context of contemporary music is undergoing a rapid development, and Ejnar Kanding and Frode Andersen have taken an active part in this development. For this concert, they will give us an opportunity to experience the results of the research and software development of the Integra project in practice.

It is not least the combination of acoustic and electronic sounds which for many years has been central to Kanding and Andersen. For this concert they have created two brand new works with the new technology in mind.

They also perform a composition by the late Morten Skovgaard Danielsen (1967-2009), whose highly original CD ”Donalds09” was issued shortly after his tragically early death.

“Vent” (“Wait” ) is by the Taiwanese composer Li-Ying Wu who resides in Denmark and came here to study after hearing among others Per Nørgård and Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgren and becoming fascinated with the diversity and freedom of expression of contemporary Danish music.

This evening, Andersen and Kanding will be delving even deeper into the realm between the acoustic and the electronic, the intuitive and the planned. Where the human being stops and the machine starts is a question they will rather pose than answer.

The concert is supported by the EU Programme of Culture, Integra, Birmingham Conservatoire, KunstUni Graz and IEM- Institute for Electronics and Acoustic Music.

Software being used at this concert has been developed under the auspices of the EU-project Integra.

At 5:30pm, Peter Plessas of IEM Graz and Jamie Bullock of Integra will be presenting the new technological possibilities which are the results of the Integra project.

Frode Andersen – accordion & live electronics

Ejnar Kanding – live electronics

Anna Klett – clarinet


MORTEN S. DANIELSEN:New ways to wake up” – arranged by Frode Andersen

EJNAR KANDING: dark violet” – world premiere

LI-YING WU: “Vent” – world premiere

FRODE ANDERSEN & EJNAR KANDING: “In Tegra” – world premiere

Friday 3rd June, 7:00pm, Festivalscene

Forståelige konstruktioner

The new simplicity revisited

TICKETS: 90 kr. (Students' and U25-discount: 60 kr.) > See ticket & discount info

Århus Sinfonietta performs classics of the avant garde. August Engkilde and friends sample one of the classics and transforms it into a multi media show.

“Neue Einfachheit” – “New Simplicity” became a trend in the musical life of the 1960s as a reaction against the more and more complex and unapproachable avant-garde. The very title of Henning Christiansen's “Perceptive Constructions” signals that the music must be transparent and intelligible. As a composer, Henning Christiansen was inpired by the opposites of Danish national composer Carl Nielsen and the Darmstadt School – the home ground of the avant-garde. But he soon became involved with the rebellion of the Fluxus movement against the notion of art as something elevated above the rest of society. The new concepts of happening and performance were introduced, and music, pictorial art and performance were fused. The New Simplicity became the new avant-garde.

August Engkilde's project “GLOBAL PORTRAITS” explores the borderland between composed and improvised music and does so in a way in which music, video and texts all form part of the portrait of a person, a place or a thing. Taking the performance of “Perceptive Constructions” by Århus Sinfonietta as its starting point, August Engkilde and his ensemble perform “GLOBAL PORTRAITS 12 – Reflections of Perceptive Constructions – part 1” as a portrait of, and indeed a tribute to, Henning Christiansen.

As part of the concept, the concert will be streamed live on the internet and subsequently be available as a download on and as an app for iPhones, iPads and Androids.

The Sinfonietta returns with a performance of “Luftwurzeln” (Air Roots) by the German composer and media artist Carola Bauckholt for flute, clarinet, viola and cello. Carola Bauckholt was a student of Mauricio Kagel and often utilizes elements of performance and music theatre in her music. A general theme in her work is the reflection on our way of perceiving and understanding reality.

Finally, we return to Henning Christiansen and his piece for clarinet and string quartet “Und ein Engel ging vorbei” (“And an Angel Passed By”).

The programme for this concert has been prepared in collaboration with SNYK and with support from Danish Composers' Society's Production Pool and KODA's Fund for Social and Cultural purposes.


Niels-Ole Bo Johansen – conductor

Judith Wehrle – flute
Vibeke Kærsgaard Lembcke, Florian Navarro – clarinet
Carsten Adrian – french horn
Anders Larsen – trumpet
Eyvind Sommerfelt – trombone

Ronni Kot Wenzell, Henrik Svenning – percussion
Signe Madsen, Ina Tagmose – violin
Olga Goija – viola
Muriel Cellier – cello

August Engkilde – sampler, cello
Pernille Petersen – recorders
Ture Larsen – trombone
Casper Øbro – visuals


HENNING CHRISTIANSEN (1932-2008): “Perceptive constructions” (1964)

AUGUST ENGKILDE: “GLOBAL PORTRAITS 12 – Reflections of Perceptive Constructions  part 1” - world premiere

CAROLA BAUCKHOLT (b. 1959): “Luftwurzeln” (1993)

HENNING CHRISTIANSEN: “Und ein Engel ging vorbei” (1973)

Friday 3rd June, 9:00pm, Festivalscene

Arabesker med toms & sav

Nørgård – Poppe – Oliver

TICKETS: 90 kr. (Students and under 25 discount: 60 kr.)  > See ticket & discount info

A new work for percussion by Per Nørgård, written for the virtuoso Christian Martínez of the Esbjerg Ensemble – and exotic narratives for barytone by Poppe and Oliver, performed by special guest star Omar Ebrahim from England.

The prospect of a first performance by Per Nørgård is bound to raise expectations. On top of this, something special is going on whenever he composes for percussion – an ability to break the confines we normally associate with percussion and conjure up a an entire world in the mind. Per Nørgård wrote his first work for solo percussion, “Waves”, i 1969. The barrier-breaking “I Ching” from 1982 has been recorded several times, and since then many more works for percussion followed.

The new work “Arabesques I-III” is – apart from the tom-toms – mainly scored for the melodic percussion instruments vibraphone and marimba – but also for the old busker's instrument the musical saw, which Nørgård has used before to great effect. The work is written specially for the Esbjerg Ensemble's virtuoso percussionist Christian Martínez, and it is not the first time that Per Nørgård composes a work with him in mind. “Three Scenes” from 2010 received its first performance by Martínez and the Esbjerg Ensemble and was also performed to great acclaim at the Athelas New Music Festival 2010.

The British composer Stephen Oliver primarily wrote music for the stage – operas and incidental music for plays. “Cadenus Observ’d” was characterised by Oliver himself as a dramatic sketch. The work is written for barytone alone, and the words are from the satirist and poet Jonathan Swift (1667-1745), who is best known for his “Gulliver's travels”. Cadenus appears in the poem “Cadenus and Vanessa”.

On the list of works by German composer Enno Poppe, you can find titles like “Family Photos” (piano concerto), “Bones” (orchestral piece), “Potsherds” (for chamber ensemble) and “Theme and 840 Variations” (for piano). As a conductor, he has for many years been the leader of ensemble mosaik, an ensemble specializing in contemporary music.

The lyrics for “3 Arbeiten” (“3 Works”) for barytone and chamber ensemble are written by the author Marcel Beyer, who is known in his native Germany both as a poet focusing on language and meaning, and as a novelist whose novels are a continuous, uncompromising examination of the Nazi inheritance in the Germany of today.

In spite of their title, Poppe's “Gelöschte Lieder” are not Lieder or songs, but an instrumental work. But maybe it is not so strange after all that there are no Lieder to be sung, for the title can be translated as “Deleted Songs”!


Rei Munakata – conductor
Omar Ebrahim – barytone
Christian Martinez – percussion

Kerstin Thiele – flute
Ron Chen-Zion – clarinet
Joke Wijma – horn
Niels Christian Øllgaard – violin
ranz Ortner – cello
Ulrik Stærk – piano


PER NØRGÅRD (b. 1932): “Arabesques I, II, III” for vibraphone, marimba, tom-toms and saw – world premiere

STEPHEN OLIVER (1950-1992): “Cadenus Observ’d” – Dramatic sketch, with words collected from Jonathan Swift – for barytone (1974) – Danish premiere

ENNO POPPE (b. 1969): “3 Arbeiten” for barytone, horn, piano and percussion. Text: Marcel Beyer (2007) – Danish premiere

“Gelöschte Lieder” for flute, clarinet, violin, cello and piano (1996-99) – Danish premiere

Friday 3rd June, 10:30pm, Festivalscene

Fra anderledes til anderledes

Expect the unexpected

TICKETS: 90 kr. (Students and under 25-rabat: 60 kr.)  > See ticket & discount info

Einstein's dreams, the north wind set to music – and music, which is incarcerated: Canada's Aventa Ensemble instils a sense of wonder with an imaginative Canadian-German-Danish programme.

The Canadian composer Jordan Nobles’ music har been described as filled with “unearthly beauty”. His new work “Einstein’s Dreams – May 14, 1905” is inspired by a novel by Alan Lightman from 1992 which describes the dreams that haunt the young Einstein while he is at work with the relativity theory in 1905: “There is a place where time stands still. Raindrops hang motionless in the air. Pendulums of clocks float midswing. As a traveler approaches this place from any direction, he moves more and more slowly ...”

The title of Simon Steen-Andersen's “Chambered Music” is of course a play on words on “chamber music”,  but a rather ominous one, indicating music which has been incarcerated. This theme is made tangible in various ways: From under the closed lid of the grand piano a stifled voice is heard, the trombone is heard from afar through walls and doors, the percussionists drum on a closed suitcase and make vacuum sounds on empty jam jars, etc. In this way, “Chambered Music” becomes a piece of music theatre about many forms of incarceration.

Finally Aventa takes us north in a composition form the Argentinian-German Mauricio Kagel's series of compositions “Die Stücke der Windrose” (“Pieces of the Wind Rose, or Compass Rose”) where each piece is inspired by one of the points of the compass. The pieces are being played by “salon orchestra”, i.e. by a complement of players similar to the ones that played the salon music a hundred years ago, not least on ships which sailed in all directions of the compass.

This concert is supported by Canada Council of the Arts, British Columbia Arts Council and Government of British Colombia.


Bill Linwood – conductor
Simon Steen-Andersen – live electronics 

Muge Buyukcelen, Sharon Stanis – violins
Mieka Michaux – viola
Alasdair Money – cello
Darren Buhr – double bass
Mark McGregor – flute
Russell Bajer – oboe
Brent Besner, Caroline Gauthier – clarinets
Brent Besner – bass clarinet
Jennifer Gunter – bassoon
Darnell Linwood – horn
Louis Ranger – trumpet
Martin Ringuette – trombone
Miranda Wong – piano
Kristoffer Hyldig – harmonium
Corey Rae, Robert Slapcoff – percussion


JORDAN NOBLES (b. 1969): “Einstein’s Dreams – May 14, 1905” – world premiere

SIMON STEEN-ANDERSEN (b. 1976): “Chambered Music” (2007)

MAURICIO KAGEL (1931-2008): “Die Stücke Der Windrose – NORTH” for salon ochestra (1988-1994)

Saturday 4th June, 6:00pm, Festivalcafé

Tilnærmelser til Mahler

Karl Aage Rasmussen presents


As we celebrate the publication of Karl Aage Rasmussen's “Tilnærmelser til Gustav Mahler” (Approaching Gustav Mahler), come and hear Rasmussen talk about his new book and about his music.

When Karl Aage Rasmussen pays tribute to Gustav Mahler in the centenary of his death, he does so both as a writer and as a composer. Immediately preceding the first performance by Athelas Sinfonietta Copenhagen of Rasmussen's transcription of Mahler's fourth symphony, we mark the occasion of his book about the composer with this reception.

Karl Aage Rasmussen's music has been performed in 30 countries. As a composer he has always had an active relationship with musical tradition and interwoven elements of pre-existing music in his work. As a writer he has won great acclaim at home and abroad with his books about Robert Schumann and about the pianists Glenn Gould and Sviatoslav Richter. There is every reason to look forward to Karl Aage Rasmussen's double tribute to Gustav Mahler and hear him discuss the book with Henrik Marstal.

The reception is co-hosted by Gyldendal publishers.


Saturday 4th June, 7:29pm, Festivalscene

Hommage à Mahler

Karl Aage Rasmussen sees the present in the past

Concert will be recorded by DR and broadcast on the 5th June on DR P2

TICKETS: 120 kr. (Student andunder 25 discount: 90 kr.)  > Se ticket & discount info

Athelas New Music Festival 2011 closes with a Grand Finale: Under the baton of renowned Chief Conductor Pierre-André Valade, Athelas Sinfonietta Copenhagen gives the first performance of Gustav Mahler's 4th Symphony in a new transcription by Karl Aage Rasmussen, coupled with two original works by Rasmussen.

At the occassion of of the centenary of Gustav Mahler's death, Athelas Sinfonietta Copenhagen has asked Karl Aage Rasmussen to transcribe Mahler's 4th Symphony for chamber orchestra.

During the last four decades, Karl Aage Rasmussen has been a central figure on the musical scene in Denmark. His music has been performed in 30 countries, and besides being a composer, he has also gained a reputation as an author of books on musical subjects. Among his many achievements, he was the founder and for many years also the leader of the Numus Festival, and he has been artistic director of Athelas Sinfonietta and Professor of Composition at the Conservatory of Jutland. Karl Aage Rasmussen's deep knowledge of musical tradition and his sophisticated use of elements of pre-existing music in his own work renders him more than capable of solving the difficult task of re-creating Mahler's grand score in the form of a more intimate work – not as a replacement of Mahler's original work, of course, but in a rewarding dialogue which makes us experience the familiar anew.

Gustav Mahler wrote his symphony in the years 1899-1901, and as is often the case with Mahler, it is a work full of contradictions. On the one hand the symphony appears grandiose and extrovert with its large, Late Romantic orchestral forces and its striving for paradisiac redemption in the final soprano solo. On the other hand the symphony is a deeply personal and intimate work – the description of one man's attempt to become reconciled to life and death. This ambiguity is reflected in the music which is both tuneful in the most languorous way and full of sudden shifts. Mahler took Romanticism and tonality to the limit and ushered in the era of atonality and modernism. The words that are sung in the 4th movement stem from the collection of folk poetry “Des Knaben Wunderhorn” (The Youth's Magic Horn) – but on closer inspection the seemingly naive foklore celebration of the life of the blessed in Paradise turns out to be joyously blasphemous.

To set the stage for tonight's first performance, Athelas plays two early works by Karl Aage Rasmussen – “Berio Mask”, a salute to the Italian avant-garde composer Luciano Berio (1925-2003), and “Genklang” (Resonance), scored for an unusual combination of four keyboard instruments: Piano four hands, prepared piano, mistuned piano and celeste.

Before the concert, Karl Aage Rasmussen talks about his music and his new book “Approaching Gustav Mahler” in the festival auditorium at 6pm.


Pierre-André Valade – chief conductor

Gitta-Maria Sjöberg – soprano

Karen Skriver Zarganis – flute
Elizabeth Gibbs – oboe
Anna Klett, Viktor Wennesz – clarinet
Signe Haugland, Niels Anders Vedsted Larsen – bassoons
David M.A.P. Palmquist, Gunnar Rohlén – horns
Jeffrey Brothwell – trumpet
Jakob Lund Nielsen, Ana Feitosa – violins
Raluca Matei – viola
Adam Stadnicki – cello
Kalina Goudeva – double bass
Manuel Esperilla, Kristoffer Hyldig, Anne Marie Fjord Abildskov, Anne-Marie Lipsonen – pianos
Rikke Sandberg – celesta
Lovisa Wennesz – harp
Jesper Sivebæk – electric guitar
Mathias Friis-Hansen, Mathias Reumert – percussion


“Berio Mask” for chamber ensemble (1977)

“Genklang” for keyboard instruments (1972)

– intermission –

GUSTAV MAHLER (1860-1911):
Symphony nr. 4. (1901) – in a realisation for Athelas Sinfonietta Copenhagen and soprano by KARL AAGE RASMUSSEN – commissioned by Athelas Sinfonietta Copenhagen – world premiere

Saturday 4th June, 10:00pm, Festivalcafé

Festival er fest!

Dance Music auf Deutsch


On the last night of Denmark's largest festival for contemporary music, we will of course have a party to mark the occasion. Put on your dancing shoes and come celebrate Athelas New Music Festival 2011.

And who could be better suited to act as DJ at this party than a man who is equally at home playing a cello and operating a turntable? August Engkilde is a composer, arranger and producer, a musician playing various instruments, a sound designer and owner of the record company Brumtone. He appears on 32 music issues ranging from electronic to acoustic music.

August Engkilde also participates in the concert “Perceptive Constructions” on June 3 at 7pm.


August Engkilde – DJ


Closing party where Krautrock meets Henning Christiansen meets Obscure Beats and lots of German top hits ...