Anders Koppel’s unconventional way of finding a young soloist for a new CD recording
Many classical composers spend several years writing a work that is only performed once or a few times. But Anders Koppel has succeeded in writing four concertos for marimba and orchestra that have been played in concerts over 300 times and in a multitude of countries all over the world. Obviously, the concertos also had to be recorded on CD, but it was something of a challenge for the composer to find the absolutely right soloist.
From amateur video to CD contract
After listening to hundreds of virtuoso performances of his first marimba concerto – one of the most frequently performed works of Danish contemporary music – Anders Koppel found his dream soloist for the first CD recording by chance. The then 15-year-old Polish percussion student Marianna Bednarska had played a movement from the concerto for a school concert, and her father had posted a video of the finale on YouTube. And as chance would have it one of those who saw the clip from her school concert was the 65-year-old Anders Koppel himself, who now and then checks the Internet from his home in Valby for new performances of his music.
“When I saw Marianna play my music, my hair simply stood on end – even though the actual video recording was very primitive,” says Anders Koppel. “Over the years, you see, I’ve heard lots of good soloists performing my marimba concertos. But when I experienced Marianna’s unique musicality I simply knew that she was the one to make the CD recording.”
Anders Koppel going through his marimba concertos with 17-year-old Marianna at the Conservatory in Warsaw (Photo: Barbara Bednarska)
From Valby via Warsaw to Aalborg
Anders Koppel searched further on the Net, found Marianna Bednarska’s Facebook profile and sent her a message. Koppel’s dream was to have her as soloist on the premiere recording of all four marimba concertos.
Only after the CD contract with Dacapo Records, Aalborg Symphony Orchestra and the conductor Henrik Vagn Christensen was in place did Anders Koppel travel from Valby to Warsaw to listen in more detail to his 17-year-old soloist. “Quite honestly I was nervous about whether my intuition had been right. But Marianna had already learned all four of my marimba concertos – a total of over an hour’s music that was technically extremely demanding. And she played the music in a way I’ve never heard better.”
Since the first meeting in 2010 Anders Koppel and Marianna Bednarska have worked towards the release of the new CD, which has been recorded in surround sound and is due for Danish release on Wednesday 22 October and internationally on Monday 3rd November.
Anders and Marianna after the recording sessions in Aalborg (foto: Barbara Bednarska)