A Heartfelt Welcome to the Festival!

Despite the difficulties and challenges we all face and live with in this pandemic, we as musicians have the strongest yearning to perform for you. It is impossible to switch off, even in the midst of a pandemic, because since we were young, that is what we have always done.

Since March, as a member of Esbjerg Ensemble and surrounded by such creative people, it is fortunate that the Ensemble performing since 1967, has maintained its routine and reached out to thousands of listeners through performances online and broadcasts on radio. 

As musicians we are drawn to the Festival and the opportunity to perform live. We will perform among others some of the greatest pieces of music written by John Sebastian Bach, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Johannes  Brahms, Gabriel Fauré, Antonin Dvorak, Ludwig van Beethoven and even theatrical and jazz works, including one by the greatest living jazz trumpeter of our time, Wynton Marsalis.

One of the highlights this year is being able to step back in time a 900 hundred years with a performance of music by the female composer Hildegard von Bingen. Hildegard was a remarkable woman. Pledged to the Church as a child by her parents, she spent much of her life in a cell-like enclosure with only a handful of other nuns. At age 40, she emerged as an outspoken woman who went on to counsel popes and emperors, fight for church reform and compose music she insisted was inspired by angels. She was a prolific writer, philosopher, Christian mystic, visionary, and considered by many to be the founder of scientific natural history in Germany. She is one of the best-known composers of sacred monophony, which is simply a pure musical tune with no accompanying chords. She has became one of the most well recorded in modern history. Her character was steely, determined and overbearing at times, but the nuns who flourished in her monastery she run and in which she lived 80 years were allowed extraordinary freedoms, such as wearing their hair long, uncovered and even crowned with flowers. Not only was she made a Saint but is hailed as one of the earliest feminists and as a New Age Guru.

It’s brings to light that music not only reflects its time but continues to challenge, stimulate, comfort and console timelessly.

Now that we have the opportunity to reach out and perform “live” one feels the musicians, in close dialogue and often in a fervor strive to communicate the music’s storytelling and the huge palette of emotions, that range from the most intimate to the extrovert. It is so inspiring to be surrounded by creative people, who challenge you to be as good. It’s something that should never be taken for granted and as a working musician and experiencing long days sometimes up to 10-12 hours does exhaust, but it is a day in which we do not just play in our room, it is a day we reach out.

Esbjerg International Chamber Music Festival, a private initiative in its 22nd 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 15 concerts from the 6th to the 23rd August, which include concerts in Ribe, Hjerting, Treenigheds and Vor Frelsers Church in Esbjerg, five concerts in Nordby and Sønderho on Fanø and finally the beautiful concert hall of the Academy of Music, which features for the first time in this festival, the famous Dutch Soprano Francine Vis and world renowned Norwegian pianist Christian Ihle Hadland.

Michel Camille, Artistic Director