The Copenhagen-based association HUMAN CHAIN MUSIC builds bridges through performances of new classical music - not least between nations and cultures.
The classical concert ”The Little Mermaid” invites Chinese audiences into the universe of Danish fairy tales and the Nordic tone.
WORLD PREMIERE - Den lille havfrue by Hans-Erik Philip on the original texts by H.C. Andersen and a poem by Shu Zhi Guan - for female vocal ensemble, soprano, baritone, piano and cello
Danish choral music
Virtuoso chamber music from Denmark and Scandinavia
Four popular Chinese songs
25 April 2019, 5 pm, The Royal Danish Library, The Queen’s Concert Hall, Copenhagen - 4.15 pm Introductory lecture by Einar Stig Askgaard, H.C. Andersen Museum Odense (in English) - free admission with concert ticket
27 April 2019, 7.30 pm, Tianjin Grand Theatre, Concert Hall, Tianjin
28 April 2019, 7.30 pm Beijing Forbidden City Concert Hall, Beijing
29 April 2019, 8 pm, Changsha Concert Hall, Hunan
Hans-Erik Philip – composer
Member of the Danish Composers’ Association. In Denmark, Philip’s music is best known from the TV-series “The Fishermen” and “The White Viking”. He has written solo concerts, symphonic music, chamber music and choral works.
Hans-Erik Philip has written music for Michala Petri, Dizzy Gillespie, Palle Mikkelborg, Morten Zeuthen, Dino Saluzzi (Argentinian bandoneo virtuoso), Zealand’s Synphony Orchestra, The Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Budapest Radio Symphony Orchestra and Choir, amongst many others. He has written music for more than 80 film and TV productions. His stage works include “Truth’s Revenge” (Karen Blixen), “Words and Music” (Samuel Beckett) and “Blood Wedding” (Frederico García Lorca). “Bloodwedding” CD with the German soprano Simone Kermes.
In 2014, Hans-Erik Philip received a Gold Remi Award for Original Music for the Canadian film "Once were Enemies" at the Houston International Film Festival. Philip’s dramatic setting of Irish Nobel Prize winner Seamus Heaney’s most famous poem, Requiem for the Croppies, was premiered in 2012 in Ireland with support from the Danish Arts Foundation. In 2016, his song cycle Human Chain on selected poems by Heaney was premiered in Roskilde Cathedral with over 60 participants and with Nina Bols Lundgren, Dorthe Zielke and Henrik Dam Thomsen as soloists.
Nina Bols Lundgren – soprano
Trained at the Royal Danish Music Academy’s soloist class with Susanna Eken, Nina Bols Lundgren has participated in masterclasses with Lars-Ulrik Mortensen, Kirsten Buhl Møller, Ulrich Stærk, Inga Nielsen, Bo Boje Skovhus, Helmut Deutsch, Rudolf Jansen, Edith Mathis and Roger Vignoles. Nina Bols Lundgren has performed with the Danish National Chamber Orchestra, Copenhagen Phil, the Chamber Orchestras of Aalborg, Southern Jutland and Randers, members of the Danish Radio’s Symphony Orchestra and The Royal Danish Chapel as well as Norrland’s Opera, Sweden.
Nina Bols Lundgren was a finalist and prizewinner in The Mozart Singing Competition at the Royal Academy of Music in London and a semifinalist in Internationaler Wettbewerb für Liedkunst, Stuttgart and has accepted a long series of grants, amongst others for studies with Barbara Bonney in Salzburg. Nina Bols Lundgren had her opera debut at The Funen Opera as Norina and sang Rosa in the newly-written opera Rosa and Eternity at Aarhus Sommeropera, Pamina with Opera Fresca and Euridice at Copenhagen Opera Festival. She had her debut at Malmö Opera as Barbarina in front of a sold-out house.
As an oratorio singer, Nina Bols Lundgren has performed extensively all over Denmark, amongst others at The Royal Danish Theatre, in the Danish Radio’s Concert House, Holmen’s Church, Fredensborg Castle’s Church, Sorø International Music Festival, The Danish State Museum for Art and The Queen’s Hall at The Royal Danish Library (”The Diamond”). In 2010, she performed a series of highly-acclaimed concerts with New Dutch Baroque in The Hague. In 2015, 17 and 2018 she sang Woglinde and Waldvogel at Århus Symphony Orchestra’s production of Wagner’s The Ring of the Nibelung.
Tóra Vestergaard – soprano
Having grown up on the Faroe Islands with their rich musical culture, Tóra Vestergaard received her formal training as a musician at the Royal Danish Academy of Music and The Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts, Southern Denmark. She also trained as a singer at the Anne Rosing Institute, Copenhagen.
Pursuing a combined career as a classical and ethnical singer, Tóra Vestergaard has performed all over Scandinavia, at the Faroese Music Awards and together with Faroese superstars such as Eivør and Teitur, Nordic bands like Afenginn and Valravn as well as the classical ensembles Via Artist Konsort and FIGURA Ensemble. Tóra Vestergaard has performed Faroese repertoire in front of 3000 audience at the Hamburg Sankt Michaelis Church and has sung for Her Majesty the Danish Queen Margrethe at The Danish Embassy in Beijing.
Alongside her singing career, Tóra Vestergaard is a sought-after choral conductor both in Denmark and on the Faroese Islands, where she was the first female conductor ever to receive an invitation to work with the Faroese National Chorus.
Jakob Bloch Jespersen – bass-baritone
Bass-Baritone Jakob Bloch Jespersen acquired his initial musical education and interest in singing as a member of the Copenhagen Boy’s Choir. This led to his earning a diploma from the Royal Danish Academy of Music and to further studies at the Opera Academy of the Royal Danish Theatre from where he made his debut in 2006.
In 2013 Jakob Bloch Jespersen received the Danish Music Critic’s Choice award. Jakob Bloch Jespersen is in demand as a concert singer throughout Europe, with a repertoire stretching from the 17 th until the 21 st century. He has a particular affinity for German Baroque music, especially composers such as Buxtehude, Bach, and Händel of who he has performed numerous cantatas and large-scale works with groups such as Concerto Copenhagen, Lautten Compagney, Barokksolistene, Leipziger Kammerorchester, Arte Dei Suonatori, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Nieuwe Philharmonie Utrecht, The Australian Brandeburg Orchestra.
In the contemporary repertoire, Jakob Bloch Jespersen has premiered works by composers such as David Lang, Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreeen, Simon Steen Andersen, Juliana Hudkinson, François Sarhan and Manos Tsangaris, etc. in collaboration with esteemed ensembles such as Kammerensemble Neue Musik Berlin, Theatre of Voices, London Sinfonietta, Figura Ensemble, and Scenatet.
On the opera stage Jakob Bloch Jespersen has, among others, sung roles of Angelotti in Puccini’s Tosca, The Magister in Carl Nielsen’s Masquerade, and The Drunken Poet in Purcell’s The Fairy Queen at The Royal Danish Theatre in Copenhagen, Leporello in Mozart’s Don Giovannia at The Norwegian National Opera, as well as appearances with regional Danish opera companies in roles such as Basilio in Rossini’s The Barber in Seville, Marquis d’Orbigny i Verdis La Traviata, Benoit og Alcindoro i Puccinis La Boheme, and - not least - in numerous contemporary opera productions.
Toke Møldrup - cello
The Danish cellist Toke Møldrup, 37, received Queen Ingrid’s Honorary Award for his achievements on the Danish music scene in 2014. In the 20 years of his career so far, he has performed both across Europe and in the United States, South America, Japan and the Middle East at venues such as the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, the Wigmore Hall, Vienna’s Musikverein and the Berlin Konzerthaus. A frequent guest at Danish music societies, Toke Møldrup has performed as a soloist with Danish and international symphony orchestras under conductors such as Aldo Ceccato, Sanntu Rouvali, Lan Shui and Joshua Weilerstein, and at festivals such as Bergen International Festival, Lincoln International Chamber Music Festival, Monte-Carlo Spring Arts Festival and Oberstdorf Music Summer. With a keen interest in developing the repertoire of the cello, he has premiered many works by contemporary composers, among them the European premiere of John Williams' cello concerto, Geoffrey Gordon's cello concerto and Christian Winther Christensen's concerto for cello and accordion. In 2017, he released the 6 suites for cello by Johann Sebastian Bach.
Toke Møldrup is principal cellist of the Copenhagen Philharmonic and since 2005 a teacher at the Royal Danish Academy of Music. A graduate of the Hochschule für Musik, Karlsruhe, with professor Martin Ostertag, he has studied privately and at master classes with capacities such as Valter Despálj, Hans Jensen, Ralph Kirschbaum and Yo-Yo Ma. Another important influence on his musical development is The Alban Berg Quartet with whom he learned from as a part of the Paizo Quartet, winner of the Grand Prize at The Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition in 2003. Toke Møldrup plays a David Tecchler cello (Rome, 1697) courtesy of the Augustinus Foundation.
Marie-Luise Bodendorff – piano
Born in Augsburg (Germany), Marie-Luise Bodendorff had her first piano lessons at the age of five, started giving concerts at the age of six and was admitted to the Hochschule für Musik in Karlsruhe at the age of 10 to become a student of Prof. Olga Rissin-Morenova. She performed with Kurpfälzisches Kammerorchester Mannheim, New Philharmonic Westphalia, Folkwang Kammerorchester Essen, The Bacau Philharmonic and The Kharkov Philharmonic. She has played numerous solo and chamber music recitals throughout Germany and abroad, and also made recordings for German TV. As a young adult, Marie-Luise Bodendorff studied with Russian piano authority Vladimir Krainev, with French pianist Brigitte Engerer at the Paris Conservatoire, with Prof. Christopher Oakden and for her soloist diploma with Prof. Niklas Sivelöv at the Royal Danish Academy of Music, from which she graduated with a recital in Tivoli Concert Hall., where she had also given a virtuoso solo recital with Rachmaninoff´s Third Piano Concerto, with the RDAM Orchestra.
In 2013, Marie-Luise Bodendorff was invited to play for the Danish Royal Family at Chateau de Caix. Here she started a collaboration with the “Nordic String Quartet” that later became known all over Denmark as the “Nordic Piano Quintet”. Concerts at Copenhagen Summer Festival, Bornholm Chamber Music Festival, Ofelia Live and other events followed. Since September 2016 Marie-Luise Bodendorff has been a part time teacher in piano at the Royal Danish Academy of Music.
Marie-Luise Bodendorff’s Recent prizes and awards include: Puigcerda Competition, Spain, 2001, International Piano Competition ” Stiftung Karic ”, 2001, GEDOK Competition, Detmold, 2002, International Seiler Competition, 2005, International Piano Competiton, Rhodos, Greece 2006, Scholarship from the “Deutscher Musikwettbewerb”, 2011, The Van Hauen Prize, 2013, Second Prize at the XI Concorso Pianistico Internazionale “Lia Tortora”, Italy 2015, First Prize “Assoluto” at the Concorso Internationale “Musica Insieme”, Italy 2017, Second Prize at the Concorso Internationale “Premio Vittoria Caffa Righetti”, Italy 2017.
Copenhagen Voices - female vocal ensemble
Human Chain Music’s Female Vocal Ensemble at currently nine singers features the very best of female ensemble singers in Copenhagen. Having received their musical training at The Royal Danish Music Academy, The State Academy of Music, Norway, The State Academy of Opera, Norway, Conservatorio Giuseppe Verdi, Milano, as well as privately, they are spanning the whole range from soloist work as concert and opera singers in Denmark and abroad to ensemble work e.g. for the Danish Radio’s Concert Choir, The Royal Danish Opera’s Choir, Mogens Dahl Chamber Choir as well as Copenhagen’s main church (Our Lady’s Church).
Shu Zhi Guan – soprano and producer
Shu Zhi Guan started her singing career at age 16. Her debut was with the song, Rays of the Sun”, which was broadcast by Heilongyang Radio Station to all of China.
Due to her impressive performances in music, Shu Zhi Guan was accepted at age 17 into the prestigious Shengyangs military choral ensemble, as a permanent member.
Later she entered into one of Shengyangs most respected Music Academies where her mentor was the respected Professor Chén Hào who had specialized in the soprano voice. Due to her many years of experience in music, Shu Zhi Guan received the prize “Harbin’s Best Singing Voice” in 1988.
Shu Zhi Guan’s musical work in Denmark began in 1994 when she arrived in the country and culminated in her participation in a cultural event at Kulturbys Projekt in 1996. In 1998, Shu Zhi performed alongside the known singer Marie Carmen Koppel in a duet for the project “Brændstof ‘98” with Tom McEvan as a host. Shu Zhi Guan is also a frequent performer at the Chinese New Year’s Celebrations in Copenhagen.
Beate Willma – choral conductor and producer
Beate Willma is trained in classical choral conducting at the The Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts, Southern Denmark (with Alice Granum), at the Stuttgart State Music Academy (Dieter Kurz), in masterclasses with Timo Nourannen, Morten Schuldt-Jensen and Peter Hanke as well as with the Hilliard Ensemble for ensemble singing.
She has conducted choirs and led vocal ensembles all her life and has herself sung under conductors such as Frieder Bernius (Kammerchor Stuttgart), Trevor Pinnock and James Wood.
Beate Willma’s collaboration with the composer Hans-Erik Philip has just rounded 10 years, in which she has premiered many of his choral works in Denmark and abroad, in 2016 his new song cycle "Human Chain" at Roskilde Domkirke with more than 60 participants and Nina Bols Lundgren, Dorthe Zielke and Henrik Dam Thomsen as soloists.
Amongst the larger repertory works that Beate Willma has conducted are Brahms’ ”Ein Deutsches Requiem” in a chamber version and Britten’s “A ceremony of Carols”. Other highlights include being the Chorus Master for Gladsaxe Ny Teater’s Choir at a music drama production of García Lorca’s theatre play “Blood Wedding” as well as concert tours to Festival Jean Langlais, Bretagne, Ireland and Bornholm with various ensembles.
Beate Willma holds a PhD in historical musicology from King’s College London, where she has also taught. She has worked as a dramaturge for the Stuttgart State Opera and as a production dramaturge for The Royal Danish Opera.
Thank you to all individuals in Denmark and China alike who made this production possible, to Himmelev Kirke, Hellig Kors Kirke and Davids Kirke as well as all our collaboration partners and sponsors.
World premiere of
Song cycle by Hans-Erik Philip of poems by Seamus Heaney
for soprano, trumpet, cello, female vocal ensemble and large mixed choir
Nina Bols Lundgren - soprano
Dorthe Zielke - trumpet
Henrik Dam Thomsen - cello
Nymphaea Vocal Ensemble
Ydunkoret with guest singers
Beate Willma - conductor
Thursday, 26 May 2016, 7.30 PM - Roskilde Cathedral - WORLD PREMIERE
Sunday, 29 May 2016, 4 PM - Marmorkirken, Copenhagen
Thursday, 2 June 2016, 8 PM - Sct. Mariæ Kirke, Helsingør
• Human Chain is a newly-composed song cycle by Hans-Erik Philip of poems by Nobel Prize Winner, Seamus Heaney.
• Human Chain is a new compositional form that unites elements of chamber music and oratory.
• Human Chain is both in its form and content a celebration of human togetherness, in its beauty, drama and potential.
• Human Chain will activate your inner movie theater. Your mind will produce an experience so beautiful and intense that it will be hard to forget. Philip's music calls suppressed feelings to the fore, and redeems them in the Irish landscapes that unfold before your inner eye.
Philip’s music is “beautiful, so beautiful that it is almost hard to bear. Philip … creates melodies and sounds that are seductive. You can hardly get enough of this." - Mogens Wenzel Andreasen for High Fidelity
The project HUMAN CHAIN is designed as a unique meeting space for choristers and professional musicians from different generations and cultural backgrounds. The resulting concerts are aimed at a broad audience, through a musical style that speaks directly to the heart.
The image of a human chain is an archetypal image of community between human beings – of people working together, creating synergy and sharing their experiences in mutual respect – across ages, cultures, and levels of musical professionalism.
Our longing for this community is not only the driving force behind the words and the music that we want to interpret together but also behind the entire project: Through our work together, we wish to develop together as a “human chain”.
Hans-Erik Philip’s new song cycle HUMAN CHAIN is based on selected poems from Seamus Heaney’s oeuvre. The haunting beauty of Philip's musical language will transfer you to your inner Irish landscapes, with their strong emotions and their messages of beauty, conflict, and humanity.
It is our hope that this interlaced co-operation between musicians ranging from experienced choristers to some of Denmark’s most accomplished soloists will affirm all participants’ mutual commitment – both as musicians and as members of humankind. It is our sincere hope that HUMAN CHAIN will be a living, sounding manifestation of the necessity, the beauty and the immense potential of human community.
President - Beate Willma
Vice President - Margrethe Holm Andersen
Cashier - Niels Ahrends
Board member and Chinese spokesperson - Guan Shu Zhi
Board member - Kyle Copas