Have you ever heard of Nadia Boulanger, Svend Christian Felumb and Paul Sacher?
The second edition of V Coloris’ new chamber music festival, under the overarching title “Once Upon…,” will be held from October 7th to 9th, 2023, at Koncertkirken in Copenhagen. The festival will focus on three individuals whom one should be curious to get to know. All three played significant roles in the music and cultural life of the 20th century, yet they did so without attracting the greatest attention. It seems that over time, awareness of these individuals and their accomplishments has diminished. Therefore, driven by curiosity and in collaboration with our audience and followers for the occasion of “Once Upon… Curiosity,” we aim to delve deeper into their stories. So, who are we talking about?
Nadia Boulanger (1887-1979), who for decades taught and mentored numerous musicians and composers who would eventually shape the agenda of 20th-century music and cultural life.
Svend Christian Felumb (1898-1972), a Danish oboist who joined the Copenhagen Wind Quintet at an early age. He collaborated with Carl Nielsen and had Nielsen’s Wind Quintet Op. 43 written for the ensemble. Felumb demonstrated early networking skills, ambitious aspirations for art and music, and remarkable abilities in concert organization and other areas. At the age of 23, he established the music association Ny Musik, which became influential. Along the way, he acquired skills in conducting, arranging, composition, and teaching, benefiting many people with his creative mind.
Paul Sacher (1906-1999) provided invaluable support—financially, artistically, and business-wise—to numerous prominent composers and music personalities of the 20th century. One example among many is the composer György Ligeti, who would have turned 100 years old in 2023, and whom we will also celebrate at the festival.
During “Once Upon… Curiosity,” we will pay tribute to these three individuals for their unwavering love for music and their generous investment in others and their musical projects. A fulfilling life (with music) often results from being able to absorb and ride the waves set in motion by others in one’s youth, and later, with accumulated experience, to sow new seeds and pass the baton.
Building on the tradition of commemorating the anniversary of the first public performance of Carl Nielsen’s Wind Quintet Op. 43 on October 9th, 1922, we will explore new and different approaches with Nielsen’s quintet, contrasting it with the approach taken during “Once Upon… Infinity” from October 7th to 10th, 2022, where we aimed to recreate the concert of October 9th, 1922, as faithfully as possible. In 2023, Nielsen’s quintet will be analyzed and presented from fresh perspectives and challenged by the other works featured in the festival. Just as Nielsen composed his quintet inspired by Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante K.297b, we have asked composer Mette Nielsen to continue the series by writing a piece inspired by the aforementioned works of Nielsen and Mozart. This new composition will be premiered in the same concert where we perform Nielsen’s Wind Quintet.
Joining us artistically for “Once Upon… Curiosity” are pianist Marianna Shirinyan, violinists Anna Agafia and Adam Koch Christensen, violist Dana Zemtsov, cellist Andrei Ionita, bassist Matthias Petri and harpist Zach Hatcher. They will assist us in conveying the curious stories of the three music enthusiasts in focus. Similar to the 2022 festival, an important aspect of the 2023 festival will be a family concert, which, like last year, will take place at Folkehuset Absalon and be hosted by Christine Skou.
We’ll tell more stories in 2024 at Once Upon… Maturity, October 4-6. Save the dates!
1st edition: Once Upon… Infinity.
Yet another festival? All over the territory of little Denmark small and big festivals take over from each other constantly almost all year round, the peak of course being during the summer months. Whether you like heavy metal, knitting, apples or classical chamber music you can find the right festival, and what’s not to like about that? According to us that is some of the most beautiful about the Danish entrepreneur and community mentality.
So we thought that we should contribute a bit, not only by playing at different chamber music festivals every year, but also by organising a music festival on our own. If the story, the timing and the concept is special enough there is definitely space for one more festival.
It took off at some point half way through 2021 where we were talking about the upcoming anniversary of Carl Nielsen’s prominent Wind Quintet opus 43. We did some research and decided that we would like to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first public performance of the piece on the 9th of October 2022, since it is such a special and important piece of music, of course especially regarded so here in Denmark, but internationally it is highly acclaimed too, and we thought that the communication of the stories behind the creation of the piece and the stories of the time around it could get much reverb here in 2022.
We discovered that Paul Hindemith’s and Arnold Schönberg’s wind quintets shared a story with Nielsen’s, and from then we were thinking of making a celebration on a festival scale. But what we actually dreamt of from deep inside was to organise a chamber music festival that could return every year on the same dates, and even though we are wind players we are much more inspired by other musicians than our own race, so this festival of course shouldn’t be a nerdy wind instrument’s gathering, rather an intelligently pitched celebration of high quality chamber music.
We like to tell stories with our playing. That’s all what music making is about, and thus we chose the general title Once Upon… for our festival. This year we are gonna tell stories about infinity, and the next years the stories will be about other things.