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EICMF – 1999-2014

Experiences, senses and emotions

Ever since I established the Esbjerg International Chamber Music Festival in 1999, I have strived with increasing intensity to invite exclusive soloists and get them to play together in different combinations. All of them have broad experience from the world’s most prestigious concert halls and are known for their ability to communicate the music to the audience.
These foreign guests collaborate with Danish talents in a highly creative atmosphere, so that the combined experience together enables “great performances” of the well-known – and sometimes the lesser-known – chamber music repertoire. But what is a “great performance”? It is a performance where it feels as if the music is created on the spot, played for the first time despite the fact that we all know it, and where there seems to be no difference in the artistic creation whether you are a musician or a composer.
My role as planner, programmer, scheduler, coordinator and violist is to step forward when necessary; but also to step back to allow all the pieces to fall into place. And with such a formidable collection of artists performing to the limits of human ability, it’s often easier than I could have dreamed – as long as the sheet music arrives on time!

Together with you, dear audience, our goal is to present beautiful melodies with crystalline clarity and musical logic. But this cannot be experienced and understood without your sensitive listening and the atmosphere of receptivity we create together. Such is the nature of music; it is there not only to be thought about, but also to be sensed and felt.

Michel Camille, Administrative and Artistic Director

EICMF – 1999-2014

  • 2012 – “Dreamland”

    2012‘French chamber music at its most beautiful’ was presented by, among others, the young star soprano Helena Juntunen and concert pianist Henri Sigfridsson.
    Helena Juntunen could also be heard in the Danish premiere of the work ‘Dreamland’, written by Denmark’s most famous composer abroad, Poul Ruders, who was also a guest at the festival.
    The programme also included Brahms, and – as always – a number of rarely heard musical gems, including Brett Dean’s ‘Voices of Angels’ for strings and piano, and Peter Eötvös’ ‘Two poems to Polly’ – for a speaking cello player.
    For 37 years Niels Christian Øllgaard’s dedication to the Esbjerg Ensemble, and since 1999 also his central role in the Esbjerg International Chamber Music Festival, had been of immense importance. In 2012 we welcomed Finnish Sini Simonen.

  • 2011 – Mostly Mozart

    2011The title was far from meaning that ‘only’ Mozart was played. The programme was exotic in many ways: the colourful Brazilian Heitor Villa-Lobos was presented at several concerts and Danish Poul Ruders had written a Cha-cha-cha! There was also a virtuoso element as the great violinist-composers of the past, Fritz Kreisler and Eugène Ysaÿe, were given a new turn in the spotlight.

  • 2010 – Karneval

    2010“Carnaval”, inspired by and composed during the Leipzig Carnival of 1835, was part of the theme of this year’s festival, which focused on the composer Robert Schumann and his contemporaries – in eight concerts from Sunday 22 to Sunday 29 August.

  • 2009 – “Omkring Mendelssohn”

    2009The EICMF presented German and Austrian masterpieces. Chamber music directly or indirectly inspired by Felix Mendelssohn, or inspired by him. The programme was a gem of both well-known and rarely performed works.

  • 2008 “Sounds of Silence”

    2008The festival’s 10th anniversary season.  Mendelssohn, Dvorak, Ravel, Stockhausen, Schumann, Elgar and others in “Sounds of Silence”

  • 2007 – Stemmer i Eksil

    2007In particular, the politically turbulent period just before and after the two world wars forced many composers, artists and musicians to spend long periods of time in countries other than their country of birth. The uncertainty of life in exile and the longing for the motherland, combined with a fascination with the art and culture of the new homeland, perhaps made the music of these composers particularly powerful musical testimonies to the existential questions that people and artists have always faced.

  • 2006 – Gran Partita

    20062006 was in many ways marked by the 250th anniversary of the birth of Wolfgang A. Mozart. The young man, who was only 35 years old, managed to write enormous amounts of chamber music. The EICMF took its starting point in one of Mozart’s major works – the great Serenade no. 10, Gran Partita.

  • 2005 – Beethoven & Brahms

    2005The great figures of classical music, Beethoven and his self-proclaimed and natural successor, Brahms.
    Three of Beethoven’s monumental piano trios and Brahms’ beautiful clarinet quintet were on the programme, as well as a parallel theme of works by Norwegian composers.

  • 2004 – Schubert og Xenakis

    2004Special focus on works written in the last years of Schubert’s short life. These works, with their beautiful melodies, harmonic progressions and swarming character, have come to symbolise the Romantic period, not only in music but also in other art and literature. As a commentary and contrast to Schubert, music by the French/Greek composer Iannis Xenakis also played a central role.

  • 2003 – “En ko på taget, Dead Elvis o.a.”

    2003The festival was based on a series of works by Hungarian composer György Kurtág, who was awarded the Lèonie Sonning Music Fund Prize that same year.
    Another feature was German puppet theatre in a performance of Stravinsky’s The Soldier’s Tale.

  • 2002 – Per Nørgård /Tjekkiet

    2002In addition to important works by festival composer Per Nørgård, the EICMF 2002 also focussed on the Czech composers Smetana, Dvořák and Janáček.

  • 2001 – “SCHÖNBERG, NORDHEIM & SPANSKE RYTMER”

    2001Key works by Arnold Schoenberg and gems from the classical repertoire. Arne Nordheim’s 70th birthday was celebrated with a seminar and composer workshop. In addition, Prokofiev’s Quintet was performed with two dancers under choreographer Esa Alanne.

  • 2000 – “JOHANNES BRAHMS O.A.”

    2000In addition to a number of Brahms’ works alongside other chamber music classics, the EICMF 2000 featured choral music and also Hindemith’s “Acht Stücke”, to which Thomas Winding provided the story and voice.

  • 1999

    1999Internationally recognised chamber musicians in collaboration with Esbjerg Ensemble gave the name to the first chamber music festival.

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Historie(r)

Det er altid en stor fornøjelse at arbejde med Ernst Kovacic, en af de mest kreative og interessante violinister i verden. Mens vi er yderst taknemmelige for at spille med ham, har han for sin del udtalt hvordan han finder “programlægning, planlægning og de medvirkendes høje professionelle niveau udfordrende, og at det skønt hårdt arbejde absolut er det hele værd, selv om man knapt er landet i Billund før første prøve starter…”

Cellisten Marko Ylonen, en musiker som spiller med kraftfuld stil og skønhed – violinisten Steven Dann, som med sin smukke tone samtidig besider en imponerende indstilling til begrebet kammermusik – Juhani Lagerspetz, en af de mest alsidige og kreative af verdens pianister: Sådanne musikere har jeg sat på arbejde fra tidlig morgen til sen aften, for kun at se dem bidrage entusiatisk til prøve- og koncertarbejdet med uendelig indsigt.

I EICMFs historie har der lykkeligvis været meget lidt sygdom. Festivalen er meget udfordrende for de medvirkende, som ofte hver medvirker i op til syv store værker med skiftende besætninger på en uge. Hvis blot én mangler vælter korthuset. I 2008 måtte jeg selv i hast forlade prøverne, da min femårige søn Vincent havde brækket armen i børnehaven. Heldigvis var han ikke for forskækket, og bruddet helede da også fint.

En tidlig tirsdag morgen dukkede David Grimal op og sagde nærmest paralyseret: “Hvor en min violin?” Vi forsøgte at berolige ham, og fandt samtidig ud af hvor han havde været den foregående aften. Efter adskillige forgæves telefonopkald, gik jeg ned til Maremma, byens fremragende toscanske restaurant, for at vække ejeren. Han konstaterede grinende at han kunne have åbnet en kæde af restauranter havde han blot været hurtig nok ! Samtidig modtog jeg besked om at Tuva Semmingsens stemme nu også var forsvundet. Jeg slog to fluer med ét smæk: David kunne få sin uvurderlige Stradivarius tilbage, hvis han ville spille Debussys sonate samme aften med pianisten Juhani. De sagde begge ja.

Samme aften under koncerten knækkede D-strengen på min bratsch under den hurtige sats i Saint-Säens Klaverkvartet. Jeg åbnede bratschkassen og kom i det øjeblik i tanke om, at jeg havde skiftet den sidste jeg havde en uge tidligere. Steve Dann løb straks til sit hotel for at hente en D-streng. Publikum var noget forvirrede, og de næste tyve minutter forsikrede David Grimal, Marko Ylonen og Juhani Lagerspetz at han nok “var tilbage om et øjeblik”. Festivalens tema var “Sounds of Silence”, men det var nu ikke min intention at stilheden skulle være så markant !

Michel Camille, kunstnerisk leder
EICMF 2008

“Music without borders” EICMF 2015

The dance, the exhilaration, the joy, the fantasy, the popularity, the marvellous and the boundless have always been ingredients of music – whether it has been the music of the people, the music of the church, the music of the nobility, the music of the bourgeoisie and the music of art.

Music has always been created and played by these types who spend their whole lives mastering an instrument, filling their heads with melodies and rhythms, and music has been created by an endless succession of geniuses, eccentrics, loners and family men who have all had this strange urge to put notes together in patterns and forms and thus try to capture a sensation, a feeling, a mood or construct new contexts and hitherto unknown worlds – just with the help of a bit of music paper.

Music has evolved at all times – and in all directions – at times the different currents have merged for a time and then separated again, at times there has been a great distance between the music of the people and the music of the elite, and at times different genres have been so busy defining themselves that they have been unaware that their music too was only one possibility among an infinite number of musical forms of expression.

Nowadays, there seems to be a greater general realisation that many different kinds of music can contain great qualities – now we can enjoy or be enriched by Bach, Brahms and the Beatles – and no one looks down on jazz anymore?

Almost 100 years ago the guitar was not welcome in the classical concert hall, in our time the accordion has been condemned, but those times are over.

At this year’s Esbjerg Classical Festival EICMF, the accordion takes centre stage – not least because of its importance as a tango instrument – and here it is again! Has tango now become classical chamber music?
Yes, it is to a certain extent – Stravinsky wrote a tango already in the 30s; but when we say tango nowadays it is usually the Argentinian Nueva Tango, which Astor Piazolla is the godfather of, that we think of. Notwithstanding the fact that Finland is still as big a tango country as Argentina …

As if putting tango on the programme of a classical music festival wasn’t enough, the EICMF continues to live up to its reputation as one of our most progressive and wide-ranging chamber music festivals by presenting a fair amount of new music, a fair amount of ‘rare’ music by lesser-known but highly gifted composers, and this year the Festival is particularly topical and norm-breaking by presenting a series of works by British phenomenon Thomas Adés, who will receive the major Sonning Music Prize later this year.
Adés is unique as a pianist, conductor and composer, and he is no dietary contempt when it comes to purely musical matters: Two of the works we will hear from him at this year’s festival are his arrangements of English pop/rock hits from the 80s. Not so long ago, one would have written that we’ll also hear some of his more serious works; but that’s not really the case anymore – a piano piece with unusual time signatures like 2/6, 9/12 or 5/20 and a rather challenging harmony is no longer a more interesting thing than a clever arrangement of a Ska hit. We have to learn to live with it and enjoy the treats that still fall off along the way – and come to think of it, there are works by Beethoven, Haydn, Richard Stauss etc. that we don’t need to hear again – just as we do with a hit song from our youth.

One could have begun by saying that this year’s programme at the EICMF is one of the most courageous chamber music festival programmes in years, but we are not boasting in that way here, so it should simply be mentioned that there is Schubert, Beethoven and Brahms on the programme; but that what stands out most are the names we do not know so well – if at all: Madsen, Bliss, Veress, Lundquist and Benjamin.
Rest assured that there is something in store when these composers are on the programme of the simultaneously discerning and omnivorous Esbjerg International Chamber Music Festival!

We hope to see you there!

A Heartfelt Welcome to the Festival!

Esbjerg International Chamber Music Festival, an initiative in its 24th year has invited guest musicians from all over the world to this international community of artists, collaborating in new consternations and forming new relationships. As in every past year we are especially honored that the musicians of Esbjerg Ensemble also collaborate this year in 10 concerts from the 6th to the 28th August.

Concerts of classical music will be performed on the idyllic island of Fanø in Nordby and Sønderho’s beautiful country churches, which has many quaint sailing-ships hanging from the ceilings alluding to Fanø in the 17th century when it was a home port to 160 ships. The Church of Our Saviour, (Vor Frelsers Kirke in Danish,) Esbjerg’s central church in collaboration with Esbjerg City’s annual popular Festival Week. Hjerting Church, 10 kms north of Esbjerg, which is a modern architectural gem and finally several performances in the Danish National Academy of Music’s concert hall, a historic building and a mix of Jugend and Classicist styles found in Viennese architecture, and stunning architecture for a former power plant. What makes it one of the best halls in Europe to experience chamber music is because of its extraordinary acoustics. This year’s final concerts will be broadcasted by Denmark’s national radio.

Esbjerg International Chamber Music Festival, since its inception in 1999, has relied fully on donations for its survival. Despite the most challenging of circumstances in 2020, EICMF staged 15 performances in August, held in various venues encompassing Esbjerg, Fanø and Ribe demonstrating its tremendous value for the region. This has been evidenced through countless broadcasts on Danish National Radio, collaborations with German Radio and the popularity of The EICMF Youtube channel that has amassed many millions of hits.

Michel Camille, Artistic Director

Masterclasses for Advanced students

FOUR NEW Masterclasses “Kickstart to the New Academic Year”
SDMK – National Academy of Music, Esbjerg. 16th- 26th August 2016

1) Individual Solo and Chamber Music
led by
Steven Dann – Canada,  20th August 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. 2016
Benjamin Bowman – US, 20th August 1 – 3 p.m. 2016
Finghin Collins – Ireland, 26th August 10 – 12 a.m. 2016
Richard Lester – England 23rd August 12.30 – 2.30 p.m. 2016
 

 

Esbjerg International Chamber Music Festival, in its 17th year, recognised for its innovative programmes and renowned concerts in partnership with Syddansk Musikkonservatorium is offering masterclasses to young musicians, students and future professionals from the 17th – 22nd August.
The aim of the Masterclasses is to offer artistic inspiration and development in a supportive and informal setting, and not least of all help to kick start the new academic year! Participants will be encouraged to interact with the guest artists, regardless of instrument to maximise the experience.
Performance opportunities to those who wish will be offered in an informal setting.
Those musicians who participate along with their families will be given free access to all concerts in the Esbjerg International Chamber Music Festival week.

 

1) Chamber Music and Solo Sessions led by Steven Dann,
Benjamin Bowman, Richard Lester and Finghin Collins

The Solo and Chamber Music Session offers a unique opportunity of not only gaining inspiration but also working alongside international masters and young artists at the peak of their art. During the session participants will be encouraged to study a work and play with the guest professors and/or with their fellow students.

Participating students are encouraged to bring music with which they are comfortable.

Individual Solo Sessions
Individual tuition offered with artists with a wealth of experience as soloists, recitalists and dedicated teachers. The participants will be encouraged to receive tuition with guests regardless of instrument.


Performances
Performance opportunities for participants will be offered on the .(to be announced)… at SDMK, afternoon or evening.

In the masterclass week, repertoire offered to those who wish to play with the guest teachers will include popular masterworks such as:

 

Open discussions/talks
Discussing the session’s repertoire and performance practice.

GUESTS ARTISTS

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dannSteven Dann’s career has covered a wealth of violistic possibilities. As principal viola of some of the world’s leading orchestras, as a veteran of the string quartet and chamber music world, as soloist and recitalist and as a dedicated teacher.
Mr. Dann was born in Vancouver, Canada. Upon graduation from university he was named Principal Viola of the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa, Canada, a position he has subsequently held with the Tonhalle Orchestra in Zurich, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam, the Vancouver Symphony and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. He has also served as guest principal of the Luzern Festival Orchestra, the Boston Symphony Orchestra under Seiji
Ozawa, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra under Sir Simon Rattle and, in both performance and recordings, with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe under Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Paavo Berglund, Ivan Fischer and Pierre Boulez.
Steven Dann has collaborated as a soloist with such Maestri as Sir Andrew Davis, Rudolph Barshai, Jiri Belohlavek, Sir John Elliott Gardiner, Jukka-Pekka Saraste, Vladimir Ashkenazy, JoAnn Falletta and Oliver Knussen. Since 1990 Mr. Dann has been a member of the Smithsonian Chamber Players in Washington D.C. and was a founding member of the Axelrod String Quartet.
http://www.stevendann.org/bio.htm
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benjamin 2

American-Canadian violinist Benjamin Bowman performs to critical acclaim throughout North America, Europe and Asia. Benjamin is very active and engaged as a chamber musician and soloist; he is a member or frequent guest artist for leading chamber music ensembles internationally, including the twice Grammy-nominated ARC (Artists of the Royal Conservatory), Art Of Time, and Leondari Ensemble. Benjamin was featured on the 2013 Juno-winning album ‘Levant’ and the 2011 Juno-nominated disc ‘Armenian Chamber Music’ with the Amici Chamber Ensemble. Other collaborative work includes extensive immersion in contemporary/new music, improvisation and performance with singer/songwriters. Benjamin is concertmaster of the American Ballet Theatre
orchestra in New York.
Bowman’s performances have been recorded for radio broadcast in the USA, in Canada with the CBC, the UK, Poland, Hungary, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Denmark and Korea. His discography includes recent solo and chamber-music releases on the Sony Masterworks/RCA Red Seal, ATMA Classique, and Innova labels. Bowman received his Bachelor of Music degree from the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. http://benjaminbowman.ca/
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Finghin_2.jpg

One of the most significant musicians to emerge from Ireland in recent times, Finghin Collins was born in Dublin in 1977 and studied with John O’Conor at the Royal Irish Academy of Music and with Dominique Merlet at the Geneva Conservatoire. He established his international reputation by winning the 1999 Clara Haskil International Piano Competition. Since then he has performed with leading orchestras such as the Chicago, Houston, City of Birmingham and Bournemouth Symphony Orchestras, the Seoul, London, Rotterdam, BBC and Royal Philharmonic Orchestras, the Budapest Festival Orchestra, the Hong Kong Sinfonietta, Northern Sinfonia, the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande and the Gulbenkian Orchestra. He has collaborated with conductors such as Frans Brüggen, Myung-Whun Chung, Christoph Eschenbach, Emmanuel Krivine, Gianandrea Noseda, Sakari Oramo, Heinrich Schiff, Vassily Sinaisky and Leonard Slatkin. In 2013 he completed his three-year tenure as Associate Artist of the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, in which he performed the complete Mozart and Beethoven piano concertos. His double CD recording for the RTÉ lyric fm label of four Mozart piano concertos directed from the keyboard with the RTÉ NSO was also released in May 2013.

In the 2014/15 season he performed with the Phiharmonie Zuidnederland, the Orchestra of the 18th Century,  the RTÉ NSO and made a last-minute début with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic.  In 2015/16 he performs with the Irish Chamber Orchestra, RTÉ Concert Orchestra and Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra.

Finghin Collins has been Artistic Director of the New Ross Piano Festival since its inception in 2006, and has also been Artistic Director of Music for Galway since 2013. http://www.finghincollins.com/

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Richard

One of Britain’s foremost cellists, Richard Lester has earned distinction as a concerto and recital soloist and as an accomplished chamber musician. He is equally at home in period instrument performance and in ‘modern’ and is associated with some of the finest performers from both fields. Alongside his activities with the Florestan Trio, he is principal cello with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.

He has appeared as soloist with conductors such as Claudio Abbado, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Roger Norrington, Paavo Berglund, Myung Whun Chung and Sandor Vegh, and has performed frequently as director/soloist with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe in some of the world’s most prestigious venues. In the UK he has played concertos with, among others, the BBC Scottish SO, Scottish Chamber Orchestra and the Manchester Camerata, and is frequently called upon to be guest-leader of the cello sections of the major London orchestras.

Richard Lester was a founder member of the celebrated ensemble Domus, with whom he toured worldwide and recorded most of the repertoire for Piano Quartet. His interest in period performance led him to join Hausmusik, a flexible ensemble performing and recording classical and early romantic chamber music on period instruments. He is a frequent guest with the Nash Ensemble, especially in their series at the Wigmore Hall, and has been invited to take part in many chamber-music festivals around the world, most recently in the USA, Canada, Japan, Italy and Sweden.

Recent highlights include a televised performance of Schubert’s Trout Quintet with pianist Andras Schiff as part of the Wigmore Hall’s centenary celebrations, and a new, much acclaimed CD release of Boccherini Quintets with the Vanbrugh Quartet.

His recording with Susan Tomes of the complete music for cello and piano by Mendelssohn and a disc of Boccherini sonatas on period instruments, both available on the Hyperion label, have received enthusiastic critical acclaim.

EICMF
https://www.youtube.com/user/EICMF/about

 

 

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