Lars Hegaard studied guitar with Ingolf Olsen (diploma 1973, music teaching degree 1977), and composition with Ib Nørholm (diploma 1980). He has also taken a music degree at the University of Copenhagen. In 1983 he was awarded a three-year working grant by the National Arts Foundation, and in 1992 the Sylvia and Poul Schierbeck Grant. In addition to that, he has since 1986 received annually working grants from the National Arts Foundation.
His compositions, around 65 so far, cover all genres. His music can be viewed as following two main tracks, which are however often present in the same work: constructive clarity and expressiveness, often in several layers at the same time or in mosaics; and a very rhythmic, gesticulatory line, often with a decided rhythmic pulse and drive (sometimes with inspiration from ethnic music or medieval music).
LARS HEGAARD RECEIVED THE CARL NIELSEN AWARD IN 2007
The fruitful coexistence of objects
By Ivar Frounberg
In the mid-1970s modernism and the avant-garde were accomplished projects within contemporary art music. The great collectivity oriented towards the creation of a universal language on the basis of objectivity of construction had long since made its impact on the boundary-shattering experiments of the avant-garde. Each of the avant-garde works was supposed to formulate the composer's new, personal cognitive leap through experiment: new playing techniques, open form etc. The Danish compositions students knew about minimalism and the distinctively Danish anti-modernist currents with "attitudinal relativism", "Concretism" and "New Simplicity" as their cue words. They knew György Ligeti and Iannis Xenakis, and they gradually made the acquaintance of spectral music. As yet there had been no recognition of a postmodern reality within innovative art music. To a great extent the composers believed that they had to inscribe themselves in a collective, still unspecified orientation towards the great common project that could be called the music of the future.
Lars Hegaard became a composer in this vacuum. The preconditions for his engagement with music were scattered and culturally diverse, and included dance music (heard on his parents' radio) and rock music (the collective youth culture of the 1960s called it beat music). Through his high school education Hegaard became familiar with classical music (a string quartet by Shostakovich, Handel's Messiah and Verdi's Requiem were works that were to be crucial to his choice of music as a profession). At first, though, it was the guitar (the 1960s instrument par excellence) that he chose to study. But the lifestyle experiments of the 1960s also brought the hippie movement, openness to alternative religions and religious expression as well as ethnic music into the sphere of experience that became the basis of Hegaard's artistic idiom when he began his composition studies with Ib Nørholm at the Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen.
Superficially incommensurable phenomena such as the author Samuel Beckett's absurd situations and Carlos Castaneda's anthropological accounts of experiments with mescaline stand side by side when we look through Lars Hegaard's worklist.
When one hears the music on this CD one sees that a similar kind of eclecticism is a sine qua non of Lars Hegaard's music: one hears abstract sound-objects, intellectual confrontations which suddenly transcend their abstraction and even begin to refer very directly to the gestural expression of a different kind of music.
I nearly always operate with several levels and set them up against one another, almost like a sound-sculpture. In reality they don't need to be changed that much, their actual identity is maintained, but they are displaced in relation to one another, just as when a prism is turned (LH).
When the abstract objects are sensed through constantly new prismatic reorientations, a familiarity arises out of nothingness. But this familiarity - and the consequent sensuality - never stand alone. The form is created in the confrontations between the individual sound-objects and their greater or lesser degree of variation. Thus Hegaard inscribes himself in the tradition of Edgar Varèse, whose works also translate time into space. It is music with a physical presence:
I can sometimes experience music very physically, almost like something I can touch, a long note that I can almost hang from like a rope. You can walk on the notes, they're physically present. (LH).
What we hear is not a "short story" in musical form. Everything in the narrative of the music is constantly present. We listen through the music's temporal extension to the expression of the latent formal space and create the story ourselves.