If one were to describe Jesper Koch's music in one line, it could be: "Modernism with atmospheric images". To elaborate, Professor Jan Maegaard has said the following about Jesper Koch's compositions: "With its deep fundamental tone and its vocal and instrumental articulation, the work extends beyond the concept of Danish music, and has a wide international horizon". He is known for his talent when it comes to imaginative storytelling and humorous elements combining these with rigorous aesthetics and a careful, thought-through structure.
'Mysterious Gondola' is performed for the first time on July 10th at HICSUM festival. The piece refers to the opera 'Death in Venice' by Benjamin Britten - one of Jesper Koch's idols. In the opera, the main character (Aeshenbach) sings: "Mysterious Gondola ..." as the gondola unexpectedly deviates from the usual sailing route down unknown and mystical canals. One could ask oneself if this could be seen as a warning of the tragic events ahead. Anyway, this part of the opera underlies the idea behind the piece as a Benjamin Britten in memoriam.
The piece is written for clarinet and string quartet. Symbolizing the narrative, the music moves slowly, fluently, idyllic, scherzo-like, detouring, erratic ways until it finally calms down to resolve in the soaring sky. The piece is dedicated to clarinettist John Kruse.
Jesper Koch's collaboration with Hanzhi Wang has turned out fruitful, one example of which is Koch's 'Pieces for Accordion' for Educate·S, the series tailored for music school students. Dedicating his new piece to Wang, the collaboration continues in 'Parts-Apart', world premiering at the Bravo! Vail Music Festival July 11th, 2019.
A short description by the composer himself: '"Parts-Apart' is a modern take on the classical Partita, but instead of separate character pieces I've written one continuous movement (9 min) where the different characters (sarabande, gigue, scherzo etc) are shuffled around resulting in a constantly surprising turn of events but still maintaining a sense of organic development!"
In recent years, the Chinese accordionist Hanzhi Wang has made her mark as an intermediator of Danish contemporary music. Wang says: "I have had the pleasure of working with Danish composers during my stay in Denmark the last 5 years ... During this work, I have presented Danish contemporary music all over the world, and especially in America". It is not the first time, Hanzhi is performing at Bravo! Vail Musci Festival. In fact, last years performance makes her come back with more contemporary Danish music. Hanzhi Wang says:
"Last year at the Bravo! Vail Festival I also performed Danish music and they were very happy about how the instrument is used in classical music - something you do not see very often in the US. The artistic director Anne-Marie MacDermott, is herself a fan of Danish contemporary music ... With all this in mind, I'd like to present something brand new at the festival in 2019. I have been invited to give a number of concerts, and in one of them, I want to present a premiere of a solo work for accordion by Jesper Koch. Jesper has agreed to write this work for me and I am very much looking forward to presenting it!"
Hanzhi Wang expects to use the piece in upcoming concerts in the US, Europe and China during the 2019/2020-season.
To read more about Jesper Koch and his music, click here.