Danish composer Bent Sørensen


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The term ‘classical music’ feels like a misnomer when it comes to contemporary composers writing new work for orchestras. Regular orchestra patrons accustomed to Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven are only rarely introduced to such fresh compositions, but the annual University of Louisville New Music Festival (Nov. 5 ‒ 9) is an event devoted to the promotion of the diverse music of our times. The festival began over 10 years ago and demonstrates the University of Louisville School of Music’s commitment to the study, performance and celebration of contemporary music. Works of the late 20th and 21st century are featured in free, open to the public concerts presented by various ensemble combinations. This year’s guest artist will be Bent Sørensen, who won the prestigious Nordic Prize in 1996 and is thought by many to be the leading Danish composer of his generation.

The festival features many world and American premieres as well as performances of exciting new music presented by University of Louisville faculty, students and guest artists. Each year the festival features a distinguished guest composer who shares her/his work, knowledge and experience with audiences, faculty and students. In recent years guests have included Sebastian Currier (2008), Per Norgard (2009), Augusta Read Thomas (2010), Chen Yi (2011), Sydney Hodkinson (2012) and Brett Dean (2013).

Danish pianist Katrine Gislinge will perform Sørensen’s Pantomime – Papillons together with the University Symphony Orchestra and will premiere Nocturns for piano and wind ensemble during the festival week. The choirs will perform a large selection of Sørensen’s music on Sunday, Nov 9.

Polish composers and performers Agata Zubel, Cezary Duchnowski and Pawel Hendrich will also be festival guests. They will perform at the Chamber Music concert and Computer Music concert. Besides taking part in nightly concerts, the festival guests will present master classes and lectures throughout the week.

Public Performances:

Unless otherwise noted, concerts start at 8 p.m. and are in Comstock Concert Hall at the School of Music. Admission is free and events are open to the public.

  • Nov. 5: Faculty Chamber Music including Sørensen’s wind ensemble piece Trotto and Agata Zubel’s Cascando performed by the composer herself.
  • Nov. 6: Electronic and Improvised Music – Zubel, Duchnowski and Hendrich will perform various composed and improvised works for voice, piano, electric guitar and electronics. This concert will be held at Rauch Planetarium.
  • Nov. 7: The University New Music Ensemble and Symphony Orchestra will feature works by Sørensen and Lutoslawski.
  • Nov. 8: The University Wind Ensemble with pianist Katrine Gislinge will premiere Sørensen’s Nocturnes.
  • Nov. 9: University Choirs will perform Sørensen’s Fragments of Requiem, among other pieces. Concert begins at 7:30 p.m.
  • Nov. 14: New Music Festival Postlude – a special event featuring the Illinois Modern Ensemble, conducted by Stephen Andrew Taylor, performing works by Agata Zubel, Cezary Duchnowski, Pawel Hendrich, Ewa Trebacz and festival director Krzysztof Wolek.

Other New Music Festival events and presentations:

Wednesday, November 5

9:00-10:20 am
Cezary Duchnowski will present a lecture
at the Computer Music Class (LL26)
2:00-3:20 pm
Pawel Hendrich will present a lecture
at the Computer Music Class (LL26)
3:00-4:00 pm
Piano masterclass with Katrine Gisligne (TBA)
4:00-5:30 pm
Composition Seminar with Bent Sørensen (MB125)

Thursday, November 6

Bent Sørensen, Convocation Lecture (Comstock Hall)

Friday, November 7

9:00-10:00 am
Composition Seminar with Pawel Hendrich (MB125)
10:00-11:00 am
Composition Seminar with Agata Zubel (MB125)
Contemporary Vocal Techniques with Agata Zubel

Friday, November 14

10:00-11:00 am
Composition Seminar with Cezary Duchnowski