Line Tjørnhøj turns 60 years old
Composer Line Tjørnhøj started writing music at a relatively late age, and today she attracts attention with works that are praised for originality and personal expression. On 24 May, she celebrates her 60th birthday. Dacapo wishes her a happy birthday.
Line Tjørnhøj (b. 1960) qualified from The Royal Academy of Music in Aarhus, where she studied under Simon Steen-Andersen, Niels Rønsholdt and Lasse Laursen. To become a composer was not always an obvious choice for Line Tjørnhøj, who has careers both as a sailor and a terminal nurse behind her. She wrote her first music when she was 35, and at the age of 50 began her studies in musical composition.
The human voice centre stage
The human voice has always had a key significance in Line Tjørnhøj’s compositions. To her, the voice is basic for the human sound universe, with its capacity to communicate text, and reach our ears and full range of emotions. In her works she therefore often works with extended vocal techniques, exploring the beauty and soothing qualities of the voice.
The opera genre and music-dramatic mode of expression has played a major role in Tjørnhøj’s work, often in inter-aesthetic, conceptual and audience-including formats. All elements in a performance – the score, choreography and light – are inseparable and a part of the musical composition, often developed in a close cooperation with the performers.
Pain, evil and reconciliation
Line Tjørnhøj is well-known for dealing with timeless issues and universal themes via accounts from the present age and for presenting painful narratives about human evil and abuse of power.
This is also the case in the work Vox Reportage, which is an abstract text collage of serious, existential themes in our time. In the work, Tjørnhøj confronts human pain, insoluble dilemmas and hopeless life-situations, and transforms this energy in a reconciliatory form of musical expression via the human voice. Vox Reportage has been released on the album Crossing Borders, in which Ars Nova Copenhagen and Paul Hillier explore Danish vocal music. Stream the album here.
In Dacapo’s catalogue you will also find music by Line Tjørnhøj on the release Electronic Music Produced at DIEM 1987-2012, in the work of the work Lauria, which is based on the composer’s own voice and explores the possibilities for digital manipulation of the voice. Stream the album here.
In addition, Line Tjørnhøj has composed violin and piano works for the sheet music series Educate·S, with newly written compositional music aimed at children and young people. The works have been recorded and released on dacapo, together with the guitar edition of the music series. Stream Pieces for Piano and Pieces for Violin.
Line Tjørnhøj’s works have been performed by various recognised ensembles and orchestras, such as the Danish National Girls' Choir, Ars Nova Copenhagen, Theatre of Voices, Aarhus Symphony Orchestra, Göteborg Operan and Esbjerg Ensemble.
She has won such prizes as the prestigious Carl Nielsen and Anne Marie Carl-Nielsen Foundation's Prize (2017), the three year working grant from the Danish Arts Foundation (2010) and the Danish Composers’ Society Grant (2013). In 2009, her opera Anorexia Sacra won the competition for the best chamber opera at the American Opera Vista Festival.