John  Frandsen
Photo: Marie Louise Munkegaard

John Frandsen

(1956-)

John Frandsen was born in 1956 in Aalborg, Denmark. He graduated from the Institute of Musicology at the University of Aarhus in 1982 and from the Jutland Academy of Music, Aarhus with diplomas in church music in 1983 and in composition in 1985. Frandsen worked as a teacher at the music academies in Odense and Aarhus whilst at the same time attending to a number of posts as organist. As well as this he has held many esteemed positions, such as chairman of the Music Committee branch of the Danish Arts Foundation between 1993 and 96 and since 1999 chairman of the Danish Composers Society and also a member of the council of the Danish Performing Right Society.

Vocal music features strongly in Frandsen's output, both solo as well as choral works. Within this genre his most notable compositions are the William Blake cycles Songs of Innocence (1984) and Songs of Experience (1991) for voice and guitar, Stabat Mater (1986) for tenor and organ, Seven Silly Songs for mezzo soprano and guitar, Winternächte (1989) for mezzo soprano and viola, Magnificat for double choir, Songs from the Realms of Anxiety (1992) for mezzo soprano and organ, and Fons Amoris for mixed choir.

His instrumental works are predominantly characterized by their melodic element. This certainly applies to such early works as String Song (1980) for string quartet, the wind quintet Avers/Revers (1985), and Nature Morte (1986) for guitar solo. In later works his harmonic gestures have become more broken and fragmented - not least in the symphony The Dance of the Demons and his String Quartet No. 2: Danse Macabre (1991).

Very often in John Frandsen's music is unravelled a play with old traditions and stylistic marks that convey an ambigious and equivocal characteristic to the musical expression. This particularly applies to a work such as Variations on a Falling Star, which is based on the Disney tune When you wish upon a star.

He has also asserted himself significantly as a music dramatist. In May 1995 the music theatre 'Undergrunden' (The Underground) performed his opera Amalie (based on the writings of Amalie Skram) for the first time; an opera which was then restaged in the spring of 1998 in a co-operation between Den Anden Opera (The Other Opera) and the Royal Theatre. Much of the music from this opera forms part of the Amalie Suite for chamber orchestra. In 1997 the monodrama Dronning Boudicca (Queen Boudicca) with words by Michael Hall also recieved its premiere. Moreover, from 1998 he embarked on an opera trilogy based on Danish author Svend Åge Madsen's Tugt og Utugt i Mellemtiden (Vice and Virtue in the Middletime) in a collaboration with Aarhus Summer Opera and the director Kasper Holten. Frandsen is also interested in so-called 'abstract' instrumental theatre; this is clear in his Wind Quintet No. 2 De/cadences (1987) and Askefuglen (The Ash Bird) (1992) for choir and tape.

Available Works

All categories Solo 2-6 Instruments 7+ Instruments Choir Orchestra Music Drama and Stage Music Educational Music

  1. weather4casts

    Theatre of Voices Edition 

    2012 • John Frandsen, Simon Grotrian

    Choir

    12 minutes

    Twelve part chorus (amplified)

  2. Beauty and the Beast

    2011 • John Frandsen

    Orchestra

    18 minutes

    2.2.2.2./2.2.2.0/perc/timp/harp/archi

  3. Penelopeia

    2015 • John Frandsen

    2-6 Instruments

    12 minutes

    String quartet

  4. Aiolos

    2015 • John Frandsen

    2-6 Instruments

    13 minutes

    String quartet and flute

  5. Tinge-linge-later!

    2017 • John Frandsen

    Educational Music

    3 minutes

    Percussion solo

  6. Cantilena

    2017 • John Frandsen

    Educational Music

    3:30 minutes

    Guitar solo

  7. Lystens liturgi

    1993 • John Frandsen

    2-6 Instruments

    7 minutes

    voice & piano

  8. Divorce

    2004 • John Frandsen

    7+ Instruments

    10 minutes

    Narrator + childrens choir, perc, pno

  9. Skyggen

    2004 • John Frandsen

    Orchestra

    35 minutes

    Narrator + tenor&baritone soli + mixed choir, girls' choir, boys' choir, 3.3.3.3/4.3.3.1/timp/3 perc/arpa/archi

  10. At the Yellow Emperor's Time

    2002 • John Frandsen

    Orchestra

    8 minutes

    Soprano solo + 3.3.3.3/4.3.3.1/timp/perc/arpa/archi

  11. I-K-O-N™

    2002 • John Frandsen

    Music Drama and Stage Music

    165 minutes

    2 sopranos, mezzo-soprano, 2 tenors, 2 barytons, 2 basses soli + mixed choir, 3.3.3.3/4.3.3.1/timp/3 perc/arpa/archi

  12. The Painter's Palette

    1989 • John Frandsen

    Solo

    12 minutes

    Guitar solo

  13. Variations an a Falling Star

    1996 • John Frandsen

    2-6 Instruments

    12 minutes

    fl, cl, perc, cemb, gui, vl, vlc

  14. Tivoli

    1993 • John Frandsen

    2-6 Instruments

    8 minutes

    fl dol, cemb, vl, vlc

  15. Danse macabre

    1991 • John Frandsen

    2-6 Instruments

    10 minutes

    String Quartet

  16. Songs of Experience

    1991 • John Frandsen

    7+ Instruments

    12 minutes

    Soprano or tenor solo + guitar

  17. Rite of Passage

    1999 • John Frandsen

    Solo

    12 minutes

    Percussion solo

  18. Fons amoris

    1999 • John Frandsen

    Choir

    15 minutes

    chamber choir

  19. Fata morgana

    1983 • John Frandsen

    Solo

    10 minutes

    Organ solo

  20. Salme til Isdronningen

    1998 • John Frandsen

    Orchestra

    18 minutes

    Cello solo + 3.3.3.3/4.3.3.1/timp/2 perc/arpa/archi

  21. Songs of Innocence

    1984 • John Frandsen

    7+ Instruments

    20 minutes

    Soprano/Tenor solo + gui




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    Danish Composers' Society celebrations

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Calendar

  1. December 2022
  2. 17

    December

    G.F. Händel's Messias arranged by John Frandsen

    time12:00

    location Musikhuset Aarhus, Denmark

    performed by Aarhus Symphony Orchestra