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Anders Brødsgaard

composer
1955

Anders Brødsgaard (b. 1955) trained both as a pianist and composer. As a teenager his idols were The Beatles and his favourite instrument was the guitar, but when he was admitted to the Carl Nielsen Academy of Music in Odense in 1974 it was as a piano student. It was mainly modern music that attracted him, so he also took lessons from the Hungarian-born Elisabeth Klein (1911-2004), herself a pupil of Bartók, and a pioneer of modern piano music in Denmark. Brødsgaard also went to the famous avant-garde summer courses in Darmstadt, where he studied with the pianist Herbert Henck. In 1986, four years after taking his piano examination, Anders Brødsgaard began studying composition at the Royal Danish Academy of Music in Århus, where his teachers were Karl Aage Rasmussen, Per Nørgård and Hans Abrahamsen. He also took lessons with Sven David Sandstrøm and Edison Denissov. Today Anders Brødsgaard himself teaches music theory at the Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen and the Carl Nielsen Academy of Music in Odense. Anders Brødsgaard began composing as early as his first years of studying. He has always had a fondness for modernism, and his earliest works are among his most modernist. The serial music of the 1950s, especially the groundbreaking works of Stockhausen, inspired him to write a number of thoroughly structured pieces. From this phase comes the orchestral work Variations from 1979 (orchestrated in 1983), which was given its first performance by Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Oslo Philharmonic. In the mid-1980s he experienced a crisis as a composer. “I was stuck. It has always been a very secretive or private matter for me to compose. I went around thinking up giant works that took me years to write down – if it was at all possible... Karl Aage Rasmussen taught me to take life a little easier,” Brødsgaard said in an interview ten years later. The reorientation can be heard in the more direct and instrumentally oriented style that began with among other things the chamber work Poltergeist (1989) and the piano piece Joker (1990). In these the fundamental musical phenomena tonality and pulse are once more important, and Anders Brødsgaard has worked further with them in subsequent years.