Nicolai Worsaae’s 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.”
His works has been played by Ensemble Intercontemporain (FR), The Ensemble Recherche (DE), Arditti String quartet (UK), London Sinfonietta (UK), Oslo Sinfonietta (NO), The Athelas Sinfonietta (DK), Stockholm Curious Chamber Players (SE), Gothenburg Opera Orchestra (SE), Ensemble Figura (DK), Ars Nova Malmö (SE), Ensemble SCENATET (DK) among others.
Worsaae has received both grants and prizes for his work as composer such as The Danish Arts Council (2010, 2011, 2012) and The Sonning Foundation (2010), the annual prize of the Danish Composers Society (2008), The Idella fund (2008) as well as several smaller scholarships.
Nicolai Worsaae studied composition at the Royal Danish Conservatory with Bent Sørensen, Niels Rosing-Schow, Hans Abrahamsen and Hans-Peter Stubbe Teglbjærg as well as at Hochschule für Musik und darstellende Kunst, Graz with Beat Furrer.
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