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Karsten Fundal


After completing his composition studies in Denmark with Hans Abrahamsen, Karl Aage Rasmussen, Per Nørgård and Ib Nørholm, Karsten Fundal (b. 1966) took lessons abroad with the Dutch Louis Andriessen. Encounters with music by and composers like Morton Feldman, Iannis Xenakis and György Ligeti left crucial marks on Fundal’s development as a composer. Through the nineties and 2000s Fundal received a number of major commissions for orchestral works and concertos and while he was still a young composer his music was played by a succession of ensembles and orchestras. Among the major works from that period one can mention his piano concerto, the violin concerto Floating Lines – Broken Mirrors, and the orchestral works Entropy and Hush.

Throughout his career Karsten Fundal has been interested in the intellectual and analytical side of the composer’s craft, and his works come to fruition with the aid of systems he develops himself. Fundal also uses the philosophical aspects of music and the natural sciences as inspiration. In parallel with this philosophical and systematizing side of the composer Karsten Fundal there is also a socializing, sensing and searching composer who has never rested on his laurels and who seeks a rare degree of continuity between life and music. Karsten Fundal is in his way a fastidious composer who makes a thorough search for the notes he wants to emerge, and puts them meticulously to the test before they appear on paper. In the orchestral work Liquid Rooms, first performed in 2014, Fundal activates the orchestra in the most literal sense, since the musicians, as part of a concert installation with images, lighting and motion in space, play music in which the audience can move around.

Another side of Karsten Fundal is the composer who, with empathy given pride of place, composes film music and makes orchestral arrangements that reach a far wider public than modern concert music. He has also won prizes, for example, for his music for the film Kunsten at græde i kor (The Art of Crying). Karsten Fundal is one of the few living composers who ranges over the whole spectrum of newly-composed orchestral music; from film music through orchestral arrangements to experimental concert forms and decided concert hall music. In addition Fundal has engaged in fruitful collaborations over the years with a number of musicians and small ensembles, which has also resulted in many works that are played in among other contexts festivals and chamber concerts.