Jexper Holmen & Allan Gravgaard Madsen receive Danish Arts Foundation awards

Jexper Holmen's opera ‘De mørkeblå lillakvinder i villakvartererne’ and Allan Gravgaard Madsen’s orchestral piece ‘Nachtmusik’ have been awarded prestigious grants of 80.000 DKK each by the Danish Arts Foundation.

Each year, the Danish Arts Foundation awards prizes to a handful of works that have special meaning for Danish music. The Foundation chooses freely among new music works each year, meaning that the award is not open for applications. 

This year, Jexper Holmen's opera De mørkeblå lillakvinder i villakvartererne and Allan Gravgaard Madsen’s orchestral piece Nachtmusik were each awarded the prestigious grant, consisting of 80.000 DKK, by the Danish Art Foundation.  


Jexper Holmen’s opera premiered May 30th in KoncertKirken, Copenhagen. The libretto was written by Jesper Lützhøft, the opera directed by Freja Friberg Lyme, and the Athelas Ensemble conducted by Eirik Haukaas Ødegård.

World premiere of 'De mørkeblå lillakvinder i villakvartererne' / photo: Alexander Banck-Petersen

In the motivation, the Danish Arts Foundation wrote:

“An unyielding opera piece by Jexper Holmen. With typical consequence, Holmen has created a soundscape where heavy cluster-like chords from the orchestra follow the singers as a deadweight of ‘the unconscious’ throughout the 90-minute opera performance. Holmen has resisted every temptation to draw psychological profiles of the characters or Wagnerian quotations on the occasion of the lyrics and its many references to German Romanticism. The heavy breathing music rather creates a shadow image of what the singers try to express in the action-packed libretto. A clash between rituals and storytelling. It is a strong and challenging work from a composer who pursues his visions all the way.”

Read the motivation in Danish here. Read Edition·S' interview with Jexper Holmen about the piece here.

Allan Gravgaard Madsen for værket ’Nachtmusik. Dobbeltkoncert for violin og klaver’

Allan Gravgaard Madsen's orchestral piece Nachtmusik was premiered 5 September in DR Koncerthuset, Copenhagen, by Duo Åstrand/Salo and the Danish Symphony Orchestra.

Duo Åstrand/Salo and Allan Gravgaard Madsen after the world premiere of 'Nachtmusik' / photo: Søren Johan Krabbe

In their motivation, the Danish Arts Foundation wrote:

“Exploration of the open, high string on the violin. Music, which only consists of one note, but explores timbre and pulsations around this one note in incredibly imaginative ways. Hypnotic. Gradually, the spectrum evolves, although everything is still held tight. The whole piece expands as a 24-minute long crescendo, ending suddenly on the top. Allan Gravgaard Madsen has created a deeply fascinating work, which unfolds with a compositional control and an unrestrained tonal beauty that can only evoke enthusiasm.”

Read the motivation in Danish here. Read more about Allan Gravgaard Madsen and Nachtmusik here.

The reason behind the substantiations of the Danish Art Foundation, the headmaster of the music department, Kristina Holgersen says: 

“The music aught to want to do something with us as people. It is the big justification of music and art to reflect and show new paths in our time. When music is at its best, it’s personal, innovative, and contains the highest level of craftsmanship. But music is first truuly relevant and important in the meeting with its audience. We have chosen nine, very different, musical pieces and publications which each, in the most beautiful way, connect with, and want something from, the audiences and the time they are in."