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Interview with Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen

By Collin Rae

After listening to this spectacular release The Natural World of Pelle Gudmunsen-Holmgreen from Dacapo for over a week, I had to reach out to Pelle to see if a brief interview would be possible. Of course, as you can see below...it was!

Collin Rae: Paul Hillier is very well known worldwide and perhaps even somewhat legendary for his recordings, How did this recording of your works come about?
Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen: Paul Hillier visited Copenhagen in the 90s. On this occasion he heard my"Statements" for equal voices, we had a little conversation and from that on we have had an ever-growing professionel contact. Several of the works on the CD in question has been commissioned by ARS NOVA - the newest ones also by Paul Hillier. The CD is therefore the result of a lot of working together, also during the recording, which I have been following closely. Paul Hillier also commisioned a work for baritone and stringquartet together with the KRONOS QUARTET called "Moving Still" - recorded by dacapo with two other works for KRONOS: "Concerto Grosso" for stringquartet and orchestra and "Last Ground" for stringquartet and ocean (!).


CR: Are your works ever performed in North America? Any performances planned for 2011?
I have performed in U.S.A. "with a little help from" Kronos, Bang on a Can, Other Minds Org. etc. and Ars Nova; and Paul Hillier has performed "Three Stages" and "Four Madrigals" in the States 7-8 years ago approximately.
CR: What inspires you and your work?
PGH: Inspiration comes from music, music - and music. But also from the sounds of the sea (whispering or roaring), the sounds of birds and cows and sheeps and cats and lions and elephants and flies and motorbikes! And human beings! In principle all kinds of sound could find its place in my music. However each piece has its own little collection of sounds and ideas. This is a main point: Between a huge number of possibilities very few are chosen - possibly of a different kind or charachter not coming from the same place or time.

CR: Are there any forms or genres of music that you have not tackled yet that you would like to?
PGH: I could be called a minimalist. Kind of. An unsuccesful one - since the absurdism of the heterogeneous material is not normally connected with minimalism.
In  our world many kinds of music exist side by side (more or less), a lot of musical genres, many of which I would not be able to deal with - or would not want to deal with. They are as they are without my help. I do not think the very up-to-date and trendy mixing of genres is a necessity. It is a possibility - which I have been connected with rather often I must admit, coming from interest in Tibetan monastery music, african rythms and jazz.


CR: Can you tell us what you're working on now?
PGH: 16 Dec. 2010 a commission for orchestra "Incontri" was premiered by the Danish Radio Orchestra conducted by Thomas Dausgaard. At the present moment I am working on a piece for the German group KNM to be premiered on the SPOR festival in Aarhus in May, and then I shall make some new pieces for THEATRE OF VOICES and Paul Hillier as a follow-up of three reasant works "Song," "Play" and "Company" for THEATRE OF VOICES and LONDON SINFONIETTA, that were premiered in Krakow during the SACRUM/PROFANUM festival 2010.


Source: http://blog.naxosusa.com/2011/01/natural-world-of-pelle-gudmundsen.html

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