Hans Abrahamsen, a Danish composer whose early work reflected the “New Simplicity” reaction to avant-garde complexity, will be in residence at the Eastman School of Music in April as this year’s Howard Hanson Visiting Professor of Composition.
Abrahamsen’s work will be performed by Eastman’s Musica Nova at 8 p.m. Monday, April 8, in Kilbourn Hall, and by visiting guest artists JACK Quartet at 8 p.m. Wednesday, April 10, in Hatch Recital Hall. During his residency, Abrahamsen will attend rehearsals and the concerts, give a presentation on his string quartets, and conduct a composition symposium and master class.
A key figure in the Danish New Simplicity movement, Abrahamsen’s early work exhibited the minimalist style and the objectivity and clarity of expression that were characteristic of the movement. As his style developed, his compositions exhibited an almost romantic character and grew more personal, original, and distinctive.
Many of Abrahamsen’s pieces are short and small-scale, with light textures and lack of harsh dissonance. Other works exhibit a more complex and dramatic style. His music has been described as imaginative, lyrical, lucid, clean, intelligent, spiritual, and magical. Among other honors, he has received the Carl Nielsen and Anne Marie Carl-Nielsens Hæderspris and the Wilhelm Hansen Prize.
Musica Nova’s concert on April 8 will include Abrahamsen’s works Winternacht, which has been called the defining work of his mid-twenties; Märchenbilder, translated as “Fairy Tale Pictures;” and his Piano Concerto. JACK Quartet’s concert on April 9 will feature his String Quartet No. 1 and String Quartet No. 4.
The Howard Hanson Visiting Professorship in Composition is funded by Eastman’s Hanson Institute for American Music.
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Monday, April 8
Musica Nova. Brad Lubman, conductor; Hans Abrahamsen, guest composer. Abrahamsen: Märchenbilder; Winternacht; Piano Concerto.
Kilbourn Hall, 26 Gibbs St.
Wednesday, April 10
Guest Recital: JACK Quartet. Christopher Otto, violin; Ari Stresifeld, violin; John Pickford Richards, viola; Kevin McFarland, cello. Abrahamsen: String Quartet No. 1 (Ten Preludes), String Quartet No. 4; Cage: String Quartet; Spears: Buttonwood.
Hatch Recital Hall, 433 East Main St.
Tickets: $10 to $20, discounts with UR ID, available at the Eastman Theatre Box Office, 433 East Main St., by phone 585-454-2100; and online at www.esm.rochester.edu/concerts .