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2019 Denmark Recap!

Updated: Oct 8, 2019

We are back from a whirlwind trip to Denmark that included two concerts, a chamber music masterclass, and a composers workshop. Denmark is a beautiful country that has become a regular destination for us over the past three years. We first performed in Denmark as ensemble-in-residence at the New Music for Strings Festival in Aarhus, and it was during this time that we became friends with Mogens Killian of Aarhus Musikforening and Henrik Brendstrup of Hørsholm Musikforening and Royal Academy of Music Aarhus. We are so grateful for their generous hearts and the great hospitality they provided us.

Lucia, Otis, and Kevin, sitting down for lunch at the museum.

The table spread at the reception following their first concert in Aarhus.

Within two days of landing in Denmark, we were on the stage of Symfonisk Sal at Aarhus Academy to perform for an enthusiastic audience. On the program were quartets by Haydn and Beethoven, as well as Satellites by Garth Knox, a piece that Kronos Quartet commissioned as part of their Fifty for the Future project with Carnegie Hall. The bow whips at the end of Satellites were a big hit! We delighted in the synchronized clapping that is common among European audiences. Mogens and his family provided a beautiful reception after the concert.

We thoroughly enjoyed giving a chamber music masterclass to students from Royal Academy of Music Aarhus. It’s always fascinating to share our own rehearsal techniques with other groups and to see how they respond. Here you can see Otis trying (and failing) to recreate a pedal fluttering technique he saw Gilbert Kalish utilize.

Otis under a piano trying to demonstrate a fluttering technique.

We had some amazing microtonal adventures during our reading session with composition students from Royal Academy of Music Aarhus and Norwegian Academy of Music. Our friend, Eivind Buene, whom we worked with at the last New Music for Strings Festival, was able to send two of his students to Aarhus for the reading session. It’s always fun to play music by composers from other parts of the world. It’s often completely different than anything we’ve played in the United States.

Friction Quartet at the Academy in Denmark.

Lucia Kobza set up to play a midi keyboard with her feet.

One of the Oslo based composers wrote a gorgeous piece inspired by a Norwegian fairytale about boots that would carry you seven kilometers through the snow using tiny foot steps.

We opted for the car ferry on our return to Copenhagen which was amazing! We were able to save money on gas, enjoy views of small islands along the coast and a have nice meal. The morning of our final concert, we drove to Copenhagen for some delicious food and souvenir shopping. Copenhagen is both stunningly beautiful and an engineering marvel. Bike, pedestrian, and automobile traffic seamlessly intertwine on well maintained streets and paths.

Kevin of Friction Quartet holding a bag of groceries next to the river in Denmark.

Our final concert was at the Hørsholm Church, thirty minutes north of Copenhagen. Built in 1832 on the small island where the Hørsholm Palace once stood, the church provided a lovely setting for our concert. The audience was amazing and gave their own rendition of the synchronized clap as they demanded an encore. We learned that there is one infamous audience member who often stands up and walks out defiantly whenever contemporary music is played. We are happy to report that he did not walk out during our performance!

The beautiful church in Hørsholm.

Our dear friend, Tony traveled by train from two and a half hours away in Sweden just to see our concert. Tony played guitar on the same cruise ship that we performed on two years ago. He attended so many of our performances on the ship – he was especially fond of our Stairway to Heaven arrangement. During our last trip to Denmark, he spent several days in Aarhus attending our performances. He is a true super fan and we are touched that he was able to make it.

Friction Quartet with their friend Tony.

Henrik Brendstrup is an amazing cellist that we have become great friends with during our past trips to Denmark. He invited us to perform in Hørsholm and took great care of us. We wish him luck on his upcoming project – he has commissioned six young composers to write works for solo cello based on the solo cello suites by Bach!

Friction Quartet poses with Henrik Brendstrup.

We hope to see you at a concert soon! Thanks for reading.

Plane landing in Denmark with a rainbow visible over the city.

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