Nicolai Worsaae (b. 1980)

Nicolai Worsaae is one of more notable young composers in Denmark. Some of his earlier works have been described as lyrical but his more recent works bear adjectives such as direct and expressive. Worsaae himself claims a fundamental identification with ‘classical music’s’ narrative form. Nevertheless, he has in recent years moved farther away from the lyrical and narrative and turned more sharply towards modernism. “Hardcore modernists will surely insist that my music remains strongly narrative, but I simply can’t refrain from (story)telling.”  

Worsaae works with circular forms of movement in which repetitions of small sections serve to freeze musical moments. In this way time, structure and space become clearly apparent in the work. The larger part of Worsaae’s works unfold through a play between developmental and static principles. Stylistically his music contains elements of what could be called “concrete instrumental music”. These are not direct imitations but musical suggestions of concrete sounds.  “It is liberating to work with something concrete when working with sound otherwise is so abstract.  When I move through the city I listen a lot to all kinds of sounds. Many people that listen to abstract music often have an experience similar to listening to concrete sounds, that the music sounds like something specific. If one can work with the suggestion of real sounds the music becomes richer.”

Worsaae has received both travel grants and prizes for his work as a composer; amongst others the Danish Composers’ Society’s Annual Prize, the Idella Foundation, the Danish Arts Foundation and the Sonning Foundation.

In 2009 Worsaae completed his education as composer at the Royal Danish Academy of Music, where he received tuition from Bent Sørensen, Hans Abrahamsen, Niels Rosing-Schow and Hans Peter Stubbe-Teglbjærg. In 2008-09 he continued with postgraduate studies at the  Hochschule für Musik und darstellende Kunst, Graz with Beat Furrer.

Selected works:

Kuro ton'neru (2013)

Zwischen den beiden Kammern (2013)

Eight and a Half Pint (2012)

Wesenheit ab Wesenheit (2011)

Gesang durch eine Mauer (2008)

Zugendlos (2007)



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