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Poul Ruders   (Born 1949)

composer

Poul Ruders trained as an organist and has also studied orchestration with the composer Karl Aage Rasmussen. Since Poul Ruders began composing in the mid-sixties he has created choral works, chamber works, works for solo instruments and not least orchestral works and operas. Today he is the most frequently played living Danish composer both in Denmark and abroad.

Poul Ruders wrote his first opera, Tycho, with a libretto by Henrik Bjelke, in 1986, and in 2000 the Royal Danish Theatre premiered his second opera, The Handmaid’s Tale, based on Margaret Atwood’s novel and with a libretto by Paul Bentley. The opera was a resounding success and has since celebrated triumphs in London, Minnesota and Toronto. Poul Ruders was named “Composer of the Year” at MIDEM (Marché International du Disque et de l'Edition Musicale), and the recording of the opera was nominated for two Grammys.

The success was followed up by Kafka’s Trial in 2005, written for the newly opened opera house in Copenhagen – and by commissions from the Berlin Philharmonic, the New York Philharmonic and the BBC Symphony Orchestra.

Poul Ruders’ most recent works include Kafkapriccio, four paraphrases of Kafka’s Trial for 14 instruments, Symphony no. 3, which had its world premiere in the DR Concert Hall conducted by Michael Schønwandt in 2009, and Händel Variations, written for the Aarhus Symphony Orchestra’s 75th anniversary in January 2010. Poul Ruders Fourth Symphony, which is an organ symphony, was given its first performance by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra in September 2010, and the next month the Russian piano virtuoso Vassily Primakov premiered his Second Piano Concerto in Oslo with the Norwegian Radio Orchestra conducted by Thomas Søndergaard. The work was subsequently recorded for the American label Bridge Records.

In 2005 Poul Ruders was awarded the Wilhelm Hansen Composer’s Prize.

Live Dates

19/08/2011   Selma on the blog
When Poul Ruders' opera "Selma Jezková" conquered New York's Lincoln Center in July, the tragic plot made a strong impression on the American audience.
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31/05/2011   New video: Selma Jezková trailer
Poul Ruders introduces his opera "Selma Jezková" (Dancer in the Dark) in this video trailer for Dacapo Records' new DVD release
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02/02/2011   Two Danish nominees for BBC Awards
Two Dacapo recordings with music by Rued Langgaard and Poul Ruders respectively have been nominated for the perstiguous BBC Music Magazine Awards 2011. You can vote too!
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10/03/2010   Gramophone's Tune Surfing praises Dacapo
"Quite a variety of treats" - Gramophone's Editor-in-Chief James Jolly praises Dacapo's new Music Store
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04/03/2010   New musical director recommends CDs
Henrik Engelbrecht, new musical director at Copenhagen's Tivoli Gardens recommends his three favourite Dacapo CDs
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21/05/2014   Gramophone

ALPHA: Through the Looking Glass
“Everything here is engaging and exciting”
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06/05/2014   Gramophone

ALPHA: Through the Looking Glass
“Alpha’s playing is as secure in soloistic as in ensemble terms”
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12/01/2014   The Classical reviewer

ALPHA: Through the Looking Glass
"Lovingly crafted arrangements and performances ... brilliantly played ... intoxicating and enchanting"
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22/12/2013   Jyllands-Posten

ALPHA: Through the Looking Glass
5/6 Stars

"Med håndbremsen sluppet lykkes det til fulde Alpha at forføre ørerne med en eminent opvisning i vedkommende samtidsmusik."
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17/05/2012   American Record Guide

Ruders, P.: Concerto in Pieces / Violin Concerto No. 1 / Monodrama
"[...] should delight just about anyone interested in the best of contemporary Scandinavian music."
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03/01/2012   Opera

Poul Ruders: Selma Jekozà
"...an outstanding record of a quite extraordinary work. I can't recommend it too highly"
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21/11/2011   American Record Guide

Distant Still - Trios for violin, horn and piano
"These Danish composers from three generations seem intent on forging their own paths ... this is a fascinating and powerful piece."
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01/10/2011   Gramophone

Ruders, Gudmundsen-Holmgreen, Eichberg: Distant Still - Trios for violin, horn and piano
"Taken together, they offer a fascinating cross-section of the diversity of temperament among Danish composers ... a disc that is as finely recorded as it is played."
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01/10/2011   Klassisk

Poul Ruders: Selma Jezková
4/5 Stars

"Det cirkulære handlingsforløb og den enkle scenografi virker stærkt og klart på skærmen"
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30/08/2011   Classica

Poul Ruders: Selma Jezková (Dancer in the Dark)
3/5 Stars

"Équipe de la creation danoise parfaite"
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16/08/2011   TimeOut Chicago Review

Poul Ruders: Selma Jezková (Dancer in the Dark)
4/5 Stars

"Lead Ylva Kihlberg’s unwavering soprano stands as the vocal highlight of the performance"
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30/06/2011   International Record Review

Poul Ruders: Selma Jezková
"The whole production is a triumph of dramatic focus and concentration ... If a UK staging of Selma Jezková is not already scheduled, it certainly ought to be."
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21/06/2011   Fyens Stiftstidende

Distant Still - Trioer for violin, horn og klaver
4/6 Stars

"De tre musikere har spillet sammen siden slut-90' erne, og viser til fulde, at instrumentsammensætningen er udfordrende og lytteværdig."
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08/06/2011   Kristeligt Dagblad

Distant Still - Trios for violin, horn and piano
4/6 Stars

"De tre musikere spiller hele vejen igennem med en omhyggelig sans for detaljerne."
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01/06/2011   David's Review Corner

Poul Ruders: Selma Jezková
"One act operas have been singularly unsuccessful in the history of opera, but this compelling story may prove the exception".
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05/05/2011   Diapason

Holmboe, Bruun, Norgard, Holten, Koppel, Jersild, Ruders Hymn to the Sun - Works for a cappella choir
"Les chemins parcourus tracent la carte d'une modenité subtilement tempérée à l'image des faisceaux de lumière qui traversent une belle matière chantée et parfois parlée dans la pièce de Vagn Holmboe."
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01/05/2011   Ritmo

Holmboe, Bruun, Norgard, Holten, Koppel, Jersild, Ruders: Solhymne - Værker for a cappella kor
4/4 Stars

"Mirado con distancia, este disco es fruto de la tradición coral danesa, una de las más potentes de toda Europa."
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16/12/2010   Fyens Stiftstidende

Hymn to the Sun - Works for a cappella choir
4/6 Stars

"Et homogent og velsammensunget ensemble, med en forbilledlig tekstudtale."
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17/06/2010   American Record Guide

Poul Ruders: Four Dances
"I have been listening to this constantly for over a month...The playing is spectacular"
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01/04/2010   Ballet Review

Poul Ruders: Kafka's Trial and Four Dances
"Knussen and his Birminghamforces give their all throughout."
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01/04/2010   BBC Music Magazine

Poul Ruders: Four Dances
5 Stars

CHAMBER CHOICE MAY 2010 “Performances are as accurate and committed as you would expect from the BCMG and Knussen, with recorded sound that gives the textures clarity and depth”
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01/04/2010   www.allmusic.com

Poul Ruders: Four Dances
"Fans of Ruders or challenging contemporary music in general, are encouraged to snap this one up."
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09/03/2010   The Guardian

Poul Ruders: Four Dances
"This is a bracing, sensuous ear-opener."
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25/02/2010   Klassik.com

Poul Ruders: Four Dances
4 Stars

"Die exzellent und sehr direkt aufgenommene Einspielung kann mit drei farbigen und stimmungsvollen Werken für Kammerensemble aufwarten"
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22/02/2010   Musicweb International

Conversations for violin and piano
"The performances, excellently recorded, are outstandingly good, and evince powerful commitment for the repertoire."
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01/02/2010   Magasinet Klassisk

Poul Ruders: Four Dances
5/5 Stars

"Hele udgivelsen er båret af høj kvalitet: fra musikere, dirigent, lydteknikere og helt frem til de fine værknoter."
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04/01/2010   Classics Today

Poul Ruders: Concertos
"I can think of no better introduction to Ruders' music than this appealing new disc."
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24/11/2009   Politiken

Conversations for violin og klaver
4/6 Hjerter

"Dynamisk og inderligt fortolket af violinisten Elisabeth Zeuthen Schneider og pianisten Ulrich Stærk."
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12/10/2009   Classical Music Sentinel

Poul Ruders: Koncerter
"This composer has always been a great orchestrator and manipulates the orchestra brilliantly in and around these 10 variations to create new and intriguing soundscapes at each and every turn."
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14/09/2009   The New York Times

Poul Ruders: Koncerter
"Apocalyptic might be a better description of the manner in which the percussionist, accompanied by dark orchestral rumblings, pounds his way through to a stark conclusion."
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17/08/2009   The Philadelphia Inquirer

Poul Ruders: Koncerter
4/5 Stars

"Percussion virtuoso Matthias Reumert acts as a frame for a troubled landscape of aggressive, atonal adventures in all sections of the orchestra with an apocalyptic climax. Performances of these often crowded musical collages will never be easy, but there’s no hint of struggle and many flashes of comprehension on this disc."
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15/06/2009   David's Review Corner

Poul Ruders: Koncerter
"The Aarhus Symphony give highly committed performances directed by Thomas Sondergard, and the engineering delivers clarity in thick textures."
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03/11/2005   Politiken

L'Homme Armé - Works for Solo Cello
5/6 Hjerter

"Her modelleres og modificeres meningsfuldt og sammenhængsskabende, ofte med et skarpt blik for det dramatiske potentiale. Og så er der i øvrigt tale om rigtig smukt cellospil med stort teknisk overskud”
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15/07/1992   BBC Radio

Hans Abrahamsen and Poul Ruders: String Quartets
"The Kontra Quartet capture both the brusque quirkiness and the delicate pathos of these works."
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Discography

Through the Looking Glass
Through the Looking Glass
Alpha

CD 8.226579 (2013)

Superior deployment of artistic freedom from the trio Alpha, who reinterpret modern works by among others Per Nørgård and Bent Sørensen

Selma Jezková (Dancer in the Dark)
Selma Jezková (Dancer in the Dark)
Poul Ruders

DVD 2.110410 (2011)

Poul Ruders' heart-rending opera from 2010 based on Lars von Trier's film "Dancer in the Dark"

Distant Still - Trios for violin, horn and piano
Distant Still - Trios for violin, horn and piano
Ruders, Gudmundsen-Holmgreen, Eichberg

CD 8.226549 (2011)

Contemporary works written for The Danish Horn Trio by Poul Ruders, Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen and Søren Nils Eichberg

Hymn to the Sun - Works for a cappella choir
Hymn to the Sun - Works for a cappella choir
Holmboe, Bruun, Nørgård, Holten, Koppel, Jersild, Ruders

CD 8.226051 (2010)

The Danish National Vocal Ensemble in newer works by some of Denmark’s internationally renowned composers

Conversations for violin and piano
Conversations for violin and piano
Koppel, Nørgård, Ruders, Rosing-Schow, Nordentoft

CD 8.226519 (2009)

One hour of short youthful and charming pieces by five important post-war composers

Four Dances
Four Dances
Poul Ruders

CD 8.226028 (2009)

Orchestral magician Poul Ruders is just as unique when he writes for chamber ensemble

Concertos
Concertos
Poul Ruders

CD 8.226034 (2009)

Ruders’ international success Concerto in Pieces and virtuoso concertos for violin and percussion

Works for guitar
Works for guitar
Poul Ruders

CD 8.226542 (2008)

Værker gennem 25 år med guitaren som solist og i ensemble

Kafka's Trial
Kafka's Trial
Poul Ruders

CD 8.226042-43 (2006)

The vibrant successor to Ruders’ world success The Handmaid’s Tale

L'Homme Armé - Works for Solo Cello
L'Homme Armé - Works for Solo Cello

CD 8.226007 (2005)

Monumental collection of new works for solo cello – virtuosic and powerful!

Works for Piano
Works for Piano
Hans Abrahamsen, Tage Nielsen, Steen Pade, Poul Ruders

CD 8.224019 (2004)

Piano Works
Piano Works
Poul Ruders

CD 8.224148 (2001)

Music with a huge expressive range, played with great insight by the English pianist Rolf Hind

The Handmaid's Tale
The Handmaid's Tale
Poul Ruders

CD 8.224165-66 (2001)

Vor tids stærkeste opera – et genialt og rystende værk

A Drummer's Tale, episode two
A Drummer's Tale, episode two
Poul Ruders

CD 8.224085 (1999)

Seven works written for – and with – the percussion virtuoso Gert Sørensen

Symphony No. 2
Symphony No. 2
Poul Ruders

CD 8.224125 (1999)

Ruders’ Piano Concerto and his explosive Symphony no. 2 – a tremendous listening experience!

Solar Trilogy
Solar Trilogy
Poul Ruders

CD 8.224054 (1997)

The great big orchestral trip – a unique trilogy in European music

Concertos
Concertos
Poul Ruders

DCCD 9308 (1993)

String Quartets
String Quartets
Hans Abrahamsen and Poul Ruders

DCCD 9006 (1992)


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