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Anders Brødsgaard

Born: 1955

Nationality: Danish

Publisher: Edition Wilhelm Hansen

Photo © Lars Skaaning


The Danish composer Anders Brødsgaard convincingly combines the roles of com­poser and performer.

Anders Brødsgaard started his artistic career by playing electric guitar and making taped-music compositions. Soon, however, he replaced the guitar with the piano, and in 1974 he was admitted to the Carl Nielsen Academy of Music in Odense with piano as his major subject, with the pianist Rosalind Bevan as his teacher. Brødsgaard was greatly preoccupied with contemporary music and from 1979 he studied with Elisabeth Klein and Anker Blyme at the Royal Danish Aca­demy of Music in Copenhagen. As a musician Anders Brødsgaard has participated in the legendary Darmstadt summer courses in 1978 and 1982.

As a composer Anders Brødsgaard studied with Per Nørgård, Karl Aage Ras­mus­sen and Hans Abrahamsen, as well as with Sven-David Sandström and Edison Denisov. In principle Anders Brødsgaard is inspired by the serially and structurally oriented avant-garde of the 1950s – especially Karlheinz Stockhausen. The wind quintet Oram (1987) is an obvious example of this. After an in-depth reconsideration of artistic aims and methods in the 1980s, the piano piece Joker from 1990 heralded a number of works typified by energy and open-minded curiosity towards new paths and new expression. The music is still structurally oriented – with a point of origin in basic musical phenomena such as tonality and pulse – but the expression is now more spontaneous and energetic. The bearing inspiration is a post-Pythagorean idea of a musical continuum between the various parameters of music.

After a number of grand-scale, expansive works from the 1990s – the piano cycle In Girum imus nocte et consumimur igni, the orchestral work Galaxy (1999) and the two-hour oratorio Rejse (Journey) (2000) – Brødsgaard turned his interest towards expanding the potential of the classical instruments through electronic amplification combined with pure electronic sound.

After 2000 the palette of sources of inspiration was widened further.Striking works from the new millennium are the cabaret-like song cycle Galgenlieder (Gallows Songs) (2006), the jazz-inspired orchestral work with the indicative title Monk’s Mixtures (2009) and a String Quartet (2013) written for the American ensemble the Jack Quartet.

Anders Brødsgaard is always uncompromising in his search for new stable rela­tionships among rhythm, timbre and tonality. This artistic refusal to compromise has on the one hand generated an exclusive succession of profoundly original works, and on the other hand has often threatened to silence Brødsgaard’s unique musical voice.

Hjarne Fessel 2014
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