Ahead of their appearance at Sounds New on Sunday 6 May, I put three questions to Marlene Dröge Nielsen and Matthew Jones of the Danish chamber ensemble, Ensemble MidtVest. The ensemble is renowned for its creative programming, pushing the boundaries of the traditional classical concert form through creativity and excellence. I asked them about the group and what lies ahead next week.
Tell us about yourself / your ensemble
We’re a chamber music group, founded in 2002, consisting of eleven outstanding musicians from all over the world, including former participants in the BBC Radio 3 Young Generation Artists and major prize-winners in international chamber music competitions such as the ARD Competition and the Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition. We’re especially renowned for our performances of chamber music repertoire, mainly from the classical and romantic period. Earlier this year, back in February, we made our debut at Carnegie Hall, New York.
We perform more than eighty concerts every year in Denmark and abroad, with more than 15 different programmes and productions, regularly incorporating other musical styles and art forms. In addition to classical chamber music, we also frequently work with improvisation, creating a sound and musical language, breaking down barriers between musical styles and genres. The world-renowned Danish jazz pianist Carsten Dahl was appointed our first Artistic Advisor in 2007.
In 2006, our recording of piano quartets by Mozart and Brahms was a prize-winning disc, the ‘Best chamber music CD of the year’ as voted for by the listeners of Danish Broadcasting Company!
What excites you about contemporary music?
The extraordinary variety within contemporary music and the limitless possibilities of the genre. The chance to introduce listeners to a work which is not known to them, and to present it in the most favourable light, is a wonderful challenge! To improvise to an audience takes it a step further…
What can we look forward to in your concert for Sounds New next month?
A mixture of the above! Three contrasting and seldom performed contemporary chamber works, along with a free improv performance. All performed with passion, exuberance and commitment.
Ensemble MidtVest’s concert on 6 May at 8pm includes Per Nørgård’s Virvelverden for wind quintet, as well as an improvisation session with the full complement of eleven players: details online here.
With thanks to Marlene and Matthew.