Athelas Sinfonietta

Opening Concert

Den Sorte Diamant

9/6 2022, 20:00

Søren Kierkegaards Plads 1
1221 København K


True to tradition, the honor of opening this year's festival is bestowed upon KLANG's house ensemble, Athelas Sinfonietta. The ensemble is accompanied by their regular collaborator, the very experienced and acclaimed French conductor Pierre-André Valade, and is armed with a repertoire that – unsurprisingly for an ensemble that over time has interpreted everything from Ligeti to Lou Reed – is full of contrasts.

For instance, we are introduced to a rarly performed piece by the Danish composer Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen, who, like Athelas, has over time become an important and constitutive part of the festival's DNA. The piece, Variations for Aunt Rix (1968), is a loving greeting to the composer's mother's aunt, who was incredibly dear to him. Anecdotes tell that as a young man he often played records for her in her apartment on the Esplanade – despite several attempts she never came to enjoy Louis Armstrong – and that her considerable size caused the car to tilt to one side, when they went for drives in his little Citroën 2CV.

Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen's heartfelt family greeting is instantly contrasted by Sugarcoating (2017), written by Croatian composer Sara Glojnaric. The work, with its brutally abrupt shifts and its wild, shrill, and dissonant tonal language, emerges as the perfect antithesis to everything one would normally associate with the word "sugarcoating". Sugar-coated, is probably not the way one would describe Nicolai Worsaae's brand new piece either. Written specifically for the concert and to the two soloists Andreas Borregaard and Asbjørn Nørgaard, the piece bears the telling title Gekido (Japanese for anger). Thus, we move between the outer poles of love and anger on this June evening in The Black Diamond.

KLANG-Festival's composer prize, the Pelle Prize, is awarded during the concert.


Eivind Buene: Miniatures (2016)
Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen: Variations for Aunt Rix (1968)
Sara Glojnaric: Sugarcoating (2017)
Nicolai Worsaae: Gekido (World Premiere)
The piece by Nicolai Worsaae is supported by Dansk Komponistforening & KODA-Kultur and Statens Kunstfond.


Athelas Sinfonietta Copenhagen

Pierre-André Valade

Andreas Borregaard

Asbjørn Nørgaard