Hans-Henrik Nordstrøm 75 years

Hans-Henrik Nordstrøm started composing at the age of 12. His 75th Birthday is celebrated on 25 June with a concert in Copenhagen presenting no less than 3 world premieres. His oeuvre comprises pieces for orchestra, sinfonietta, ensembles and soloists as well as a selection of vocal works. We asked the composer a few questions about his life in music.

You've been writing music since you were very young, how did your interest in music arise and what drove you to start composing?

From my 12th year, I became very interested in jazz. And I wanted to play music myself. I started as a trombone player (inspired by Kid Ory) and shortly thereafter I saved together for an upright piano. There I could find "all the music" and started composing without further ado. The youth works culminated in me writing the stage music for Dürrenmatt's "Romulus the Great", which "the big kids" performed as a school comedy. It caused quite a stir among the conservative bourgeoisie of a small provincial town. When I finished school, I applied to go to the Royal Danish Academy of Music with the trombone as my major.

Where does your inspiration for new works come from?

The sources of inspiration are many and diverse. I live in the middle of one of them - a forest - and nature, in general, is a perpetual source for new musical ideas. For many years I have also travelled abroad, first and foremost to the islands and countries in the northwest. Not least Iceland, the Scottish islands, etc. For me, these sources of inspiration are expressed quite directly in the music. What others may hear is of course a slightly more difficult matter, on which the composer should be the last to comment.

For the concert on 25 June, your string quartet no. 8 will be premiered, among other things. How would you describe that work?

The 8th String Quartet ("Alfama") is directly inspired by several visits to Lisbon, where I always settle in the Alfama district, which is a former working and fishing district with narrow, crooked streets, linked together in a tangle that can be difficult to find your way around. There is a very special atmosphere there unlike any other place.

What do you hope the audience takes away from experiencing your music?

The short answer must be: As much as possible of the composer's intentions; And as much as possible of the listener's own affinity.

Can you point to a few things in your "life in music" that you are especially proud to have created or been a part of?

I'm very happy every time I managed to "grab" the audience's interest, but I never go into other people's terms, only my own! Secondly, I am also a little proud to have been one of the artistic leaders of Suså Festival, which presented new music for 26 years in a row (1993-2018). It was a lot of work, but the turnout was great.

Hans-Henrik Nordstrøm's Birthday Concert takes place Saturday 25 June, 14:00 in KoncertKirken, Copenhagen.Programme: String Quartet no. 8 (Alfama) (2020), A.L.P. Tree (For viola and bass clarinet) (2022), String Quartet no. 9 (From Galicia) (2021)

The works are premiered by Athelas String Quartet, Mina Fred and Fritz Bertelsen