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Birgitte Alsted turns 80

Birgitte Alsted © Torben Hilde Birk

Birgitte Alsted turns 80

Composer Birgitte Alsted has a unique voice in Danish music life: organic and surprising at the same time, dramatic and expressive, regardless of whether the sounds are produced by computer or acoustic. On Wednesday 15 June she turns 80.

People
15 June 2022

'Birgitte Alsted has a unique voice in Danish music life: organic and surprising at the same time, dramatic and expressive, regardless of whether the sounds are produced by computer or acoustic. Throughout her career, Alsted has fearlessly thrown herself into collective, interdisciplinary and improvisational collaborations, and she has been a pioneer in combining all of these ways of working.'

Those were the words when Birgitte Alsted in 2017 received the prestigious Carl Nielsen and Anne Marie Carl-Nielsen Scholarship. On Wednesday 15 June she turns 80.

Constant curiosity and creative urge 

Birgitte Alsted (b. 1942) made her debut in 1971 as a violinist from the Royal Danish Academy of Music and began composing during the same period. In 2006, she completed a master's degree in electronic music composition from DIEM in Aarhus. Throughout her career as a composer, Birgitte Alsted has maintained her curiosity and desire to experiment and her artistic project is therefore in perpetual change and transformation. Alsted never stands still or repeats herself, she constantly moves on and discovers new sides of her music. 

Her oeuvre comprises everything from vocal and instrumental solo pieces to choral and orchestral music and in Alsted's work with electroacoustic music she has been particularly attracted to computer music's possibilities for manipulating sound. She has also experimented with the creation of multifaceted sensory experiences and written, among other things music for dance performances, art installations, multimedia performances and visual arts. The solo accordion work Melencolia is an example of the influence of visual art in Alsted’s works, being based on a copper engraving by the Renaissance artist Albrecht Dürer entitled Melencolia I from 1514. 

Agnetes latter

The sounds that surround us are an eternal source of inspiration for Birgitte Alsted's art. She brings everyday sounds into her works, where she turns them into her own music. Often, she brings her music out where we did not expect to hear it and finds new spaces for music to unfold. This applies to one of Alsted's main works - the electroacoustic work Agnetes latter (Agnete’s Laughter) which was created for Suste Bonnén's sculpture group Agnete and the merman at the bottom of the Slotsholm Canal at Højbro in Copenhagen. Agnetes Latter is a sound work with recordings of vocal outbursts, calls and singing, harp and waves as its basic material.

Teaching and other activities

Besides her work as a composer, Birgitte Alsted has been a violin teacher and instructed children and adults in collective composition. She was a member of the Danish Music Council and a founding member of the society “Kvinder i Musik” (“Women in Music”). In addition to this, Alsted co-founded the “Group for Alternative Music”. In 1980 and 2006 she received a three-year scholarship from the Danish Arts Foundation, and in 1992 she was awarded the Hakon Børresen Prize and she has received the prestigious Carl Nielsen and Anne Marie Carl-Nielsen Foundation's Prize (2017).

Read more at the publisher Edition·S.

  • Birgitte Alsted

    Agnete's Laughter

  • Anders Koppel, Anders Nordentoft, John Frandsen, Peter Bruun, Eva Noer Kondrup, Anders Brødsgaard, Birgitte Alsted, Andy Pape, Karsten Fundal, Amir Mayhar Tafreshipour, Mogens Christensen, Erik Ørum von Spreckelsen

    Animal Universe

  • Birgitte Alsted

    Planetarium Music – Sorgsang II

  • Electronic Music Produced at DIEM 1987-2012

  • Birgitte Alsted, Simon Christensen, Fuzzy, Eva Noer Kondrup, Ib Nørholm, Morten Olsen, Kasper Rofelt, Martin Stauning, Line Tjørnhøj, Nicolai Worsaae

    Educate·S – Pieces for Piano

  • Birgitte Alsted, Simon Christensen, Fuzzy, Eva Noer Kondrup, Ib Nørholm, Morten Olsen, Kasper Rofelt, Martin Stauning, Line Tjørnhøj, Nicolai Worsaae

    EDUCATE·S – Pieces for Violin

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