Early history and education
Frederik Magle began composing on the piano at the age of five and took lessons of piano and music theory from the age of six. He has studied with - amongst others - professor Leif Thybo (composition, musical theory and
solfiege), Ib Bindel (organ), and professor Yngve Jan Trede (music theory, while attending the Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen).
Besides classical music, he also compose music for film and theatre and works with fusion between contemporary classical music
and other genre (so called »crossover music« or »fusion«), such as jazz, rock, electronica, world music, hip-hop, and more.
Frederik Magle is the son of actress and writer Mimi Heinrich and organist, painter and sculptor Christian Reesen Magle (1925-96). He is the great-nephew to the composer Emil Reesen (his grandmother's brother). Frederik Magle has two children, Katharina (born 2012) and Christian Michael (born 2014).
A selection of music performances, releases, and other events in the life of Frederik Magle:
The first public performance of Frederik Magle's music took place at the easter morning
service in Stubbekøbing church on April 7th, 1985 - The children's
choir performed an easter hymn composed by Frederik.
On march 22nd, six hymns composed by Frederik Magle with text by Mimi Heinrich were performed at a concert in Lyngby church by the Danish singer and actress Annie Birgit Garde, attracting the attention of the press. From then on Frederik Magle was commonly referred to as a child prodigy (Danish: "Vidunderbarn") in the media, to Frederik's regret as he disliked being called that.
March 27th, Frederik Magle appeared on Danish national television for the first time, performing a new composition in the TV-program "I dag nyt".
Grundtvig's Church, Copenhagen, November 27th: The mini-musical »A Christmas
child« and the cantata »We are afraid« were performed by 100
singers and musicians before an audience of more than 2,000. The concert received significant media coverage, including newspaper articles and reviews as well as interviews in radio and television.
In May, 1990, Frederik Magle gave the first in a row of concerts together with the violinist Nikolaj Znaider, whom he had met the year before in connection with a TV-program where they were both interviewed, and in which Znaider performed a violin-solo composed by Magle. Znaider and Magle gave the first performance of Magle's Sonata for violin and organ »Vox Humana« at the concert which was held in Grundtvig's church on May 23rd.
New Years Eve: At the New Years Concert 1991 on Danish television channel TV2, the
Sonata »Vox Humana« was again performed by the violinist Nikolaj Znaider.
The Cathedral in Riga, Latvia - Symphony for organ no.2 »Let
there be light« was given its first performance at a televised concert with Frederik
Magle as soloist before an audience of more than 1,500.
Frederik Magle won the the Danish part (a qualification round, a semi-final, and a televised final with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra) of the Eurovision competition for
young soloists in 1994 (a.k.a. Eurovision Young Musicians), and made it to the European finals in Warsaw, Poland. He is the only organist, and one of two Danes, to have reached the finals in the history of the competition.
Frederik Magle wrote the music for "The song is a fairytale" (Danish: "Sangen er et eventyr") a song cycle consisting of 20 songs with lyrics by Mimi Heinrich based on fairytales by Hans Christian Andersen. The songs, some of which were composed when Frederik was 8 years old, was released on CD in 1994 with Thomas Eje, The Danish Boys’ Choir, Trio Rococo, Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen, Niels Lan Doky and Alex Riel (BMG 74321-24537-2).
Frederik Magle composed the music for the modern avantgarde opera performance »Der Die Das« by the theatre company »Hotel Pro Forma«. The opera was premiered in Münich, Germany, in 1995.
»The March of Joy« was commissioned and performed
by the »Tivoli Boys Guard « in Copenhagen at the guard's birthday concert.
The ballet »Handle with care - Life inside«, with music by Frederik Magle, was performed in Dallas, Texas
The CD, »The Infinite Second«, which includes the Concerto for organ and orchestra »The infinite second« and the symphony for organ No. 2 »Let there be light«, was recorded live in Riga Cathedral, Latvia, on October 5th, 1994 with the Riga Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Dzintars Josts, and released in 1996 by EMI (EMI Classics 5555972).
Christmas 1996, Frederik Magle’s Christmas cantata "A newborn child, before eternity, God!" was given its first performance by two large choirs, children's choir, four soloists, percussion, full 32-piece brass-band and organ - a total of 225 singers and musicians. The work is dedicated to Frederik's father Christian Magle who died in December 1996, two days before the first performance of the cantata.
The Christmas cantata was performed again in 1997 in the Church of Messiah,
Copenhagen with 250 participants (An extra children's choir was added for
this performance). The Cantata is available on CD (EMI 5565942) with soloists
from the royal opera Ingibjörg Gudjondottir, soprano, Elisabeth Halling,
alto, Gert Henning Jensen, Tenor and Christian Christiansen, bass.
Frederik Magle gave the first performance of his "Symphonic LEGO fantasia" for piano and orchestra in august 1997 with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by David Parry in St.George Chapel, Windsor Castle. Frederik Magle was the soloist at the grand piano.
Frederik Magle, as concert organist, was soloist with the Danish Radio Symphony orchestra twice in November 1997, where he played Francis Poulenc’s Concerto for organ and orchestra conducted by Dimitri Kitajenko.
The LEGO fantasy was performed again twice with South Jutlands Symphony
Orchestra in January 1998. And later with the Zürcher Kammerorchester
in Luzern Concert Hall
Frederik Magle played Poulenc's concerto for organ and orchestra twice with Odense Symphony Orchestra in November 1998.
"Cantata to Saint Cecilia" (choir, children's choir, soloists and chamber Orchestra) was given it's first performance November 22, 1998 in "Glyptoteket", Copenhagen. The Cantata was released on the CD »Music for Saint Cecilia« in October 1999 (Danacord DACOCD 520).
Frederik Magle’s Decet "Days and nights" was commissioned
by Randers Chamber Orchestra and given its first performance in February
Frederik Magle gave the first performance of his piece "Light on your path" (Lys på din vej), dedicated to His Highness Prince Nikolai, at the royal ceremony, November 6th 1999 in Fredensborg Castle. Read more about the christening here.
"Light on your path" ("Lys på din vej") is also the title of the album (EMI Classics
5571152), released on October 6, 2000, which, besides the original version
of "Light on your path", also includes an orchestral version
of the piece and many other works by Frederik Magle for symphony orchestra,
brass ensemble, choir, piano and organ.
Click here for more information
about the CD.
On October 3rd, 2000, Frederik Magle was awarded the Grant of H.R.H. Henrik, the Prince consort of Denmark, and gave a solo concert in the church of Fredensborg castle - the »Music at Fredensborg Castle« concert of the year 2000. (A banquet dinner was held at the royal castle after the concert where Frederik Magle sat next to H.M. Queen Margrethe II as the guest of honor).
The violinist Nikolaj Znaider and pianist Daniel Gortler gave the first performance of Frederik Magle's Variations for violin and piano »Journey in time« at concerts in Concertgebouw (Amsterdam, Holland) and "Værket" (Randers, Denmark). More information and mp3 download here.
"The Hope" for brass band, chorus, organ and percussion was premiered by The Royal Danish Naval Band, The Concert Choir of the Reformed Church of Copenhagen, and Frederik Magle, conducted by Mikael Garnæs and Ib Myrner, on April 1st, 2001. The concert was repeated on April 2nd. "The Hope" was commissioned by The Admiral Danish Fleet to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Copenhagen.
Frederik Magle was invited by Chief Vatican Organist James Goettsche to perform his own music at the High Mass on October 14th on the pipe organ in Saint Peter's Basilica, Rome. More than 10,000 people attended the Mass.
At the christening of His Highness Prince Felix on October 4th, 2002 in Møgeltønder Church,
Frederik Magle once again played the organ.
This time he gave the first performance of his work "Pact of the Baptism"
together with "Modern Brass Quintet"
»Phoenix« for mixed choir and organ (or piano four hands ad lib.) was given
its first perfromance by the Cecilia Choir. Later that year it was recorded for the
CD »Kosmos« which was released on the label
»Classico Records« (CLASSCD 478) in 2004.
On June 10th, the first movement - »Souffle le vent« (»Cry of the winds«) -
of the symphonic poem »Cantabile« was given its first performance by the
Danish National Symphony Orchestra & Chorus, Sine Bundgaard (soprano), and Bo Anker-Hansen (Bass/Baritone)
conducted by Thomas Dausgaard. The premiere took place in Tivoli's Concert Hall (Copenhagen) at
the royal gala concert in celebration of His Royal Highness Prince Henrik's (The Prince Consort) 70th birthday.
An MP3 audio excerpt of the live recording of the concert can be downloaded here.
Frederik Magle played five improvisations together with John Tchicai (saxophone) and Peter Ole Jørgensen (percussion) on John Tchicai's avantgarde jazz and classical crossover album "Hymn to Sophia", released on Calibrated Records. More info.
"The Hope" for brass band, choir, organ and percussion was released in December 2005 by the Royal Danish Navy on the album "The Royal Danish Navy Wishes Godspeed". Download "The Hope" here.
Frederik Magle took ownership of the international music forum Talk Classical. By 2009 the 3rd largest classical music forum in the world.
Concert with Nordic Music Academy and Nikolaj Znaider in Tivoli's Concert Hall, Copenhagen, July 16th.
August 30th; Frederik Magle performed a half-hour piano programme as guest soloist at a concert in the ruins of Glastonbury Abbey, England. The concert was arranged by the tenor Tim Pitman.
On May 12th, 2009, Frederik Magle gave the first performance of his organ-piece "Viva Voce" in Aarhus Cathedral. The work was commissioned by organ builders Frobenius in celebration of the company's centennial anniversary.
After more than five years of work, the 2nd and 3rd movements of the symphonic suite "Cantabile" were premiered at a sold-out and televised gala-concert in the Copenhagen Concert Hall on June 10th, celebrating the 75th birthday of H.R.H. Henrik, The Prince Consort of Denmark.
The 2nd and 3rd movements were performed by the Danish National Symphony Orchestra and Choir, conducted by Thomas Dausgaard. With the soloists Ina Kringlebotn (soprano), Erlend Tyrmi (baritone), and Frederik Magle (piano). Listen to excerpts from "Cortège & Danse Macabre" and "Carillon" here.
On October 25th, the new pipe organ in Jørlunde church, Denmark, was inaugurated. The specifications for the organ are created by Frederik Magle, and he worked closely together with the voicer Ole Høyer on the voicing of each stop. Read an essay about the pipe organ written by Frederik Magle.
Frederik Magle gave the first inauguration concert on the organ on November 8th, 2009.
The double album "Like a Flame" was released in December 2010 on the Swedish label Proprius Music. It consists of free improvisations for organ by Frederik Magle recorded on the pipe organ in Jørlunde church. "Like a Flame" was well received by the critics, including a review by MusicWeb International calling it »...a double CD that no fan of original organ music should be without...«.
Frederik Magle composed classical music for symphony orchestra and pipe organ which was featured on on the album "Elektra" by the Danish hip-hop group Suspekt. The music was recorded by the Czech Film Orchestra in the Rudolfinium Concert Hall in Prague in May 2011 and the album was released in September. It was certified Gold in November 2011.
The Elektra release concert took place in Koncerthuset (The Copenhagen Concert Hall) on September 10th, where Frederik Magle conducted a symphony orchestra (comprised of musicians from the DR Youth Orchestra) and played live on the pipe organ. The concert was reviewed by the music magazine "Gaffa" who gave it 6 out of 6 stars.
On All Hallows' Sunday, November 6th, 2011, Frederik Magle's All Hallows Mass (for soprano, choir, cello and organ) was given its first performance at services and concerts in several Danish churches. The All Hallows Mass has text by the writer and hymnist Iben Krogsdal and liturgy by the vicar Morten Skovsted. The texts and scores can be downloaded for free at Allehelgenmesse.dk.
Frederik Magle’s composition “Alive – Anthem for the pregnant woman” was commissioned by the International Society of Ultrasound in Gynecology and Obstetrics (ISUOG) and premiered with the singer Julie Lindell and Frederik Magle (on piano) at ISUOG’s World Congress, which was held on September 9th in Bella Center, Copenhagen.
Frederik Magle is a member of the jury of the International Competition of Composers 2013 held at the University of Nis, Serbia.
“Lys på din vej” (Light on your path) is performed on May 18th at the confirmation ceremony of H.H. Prince Nikolai at Fredensborg castle.
A brass quintet version of “Lys på din vej” is included on the album “Nordisk Musik” (Nordic Music), released in November, by the Brass Ensemble of the Royal Guards (Exlibris Musik EXLCD30158).
“Polyphony” - a fusion of contemporary classical and rock music by Frederik Magle is included in the 2014 edition of “In Tune With Music”, the most popular music text for high school students in Australasia.
Magle’s symphonic work “Seahorse Aria” is recorded by Orkestar Fakulteta umetnosti, Niš, Serbia with the soprano soloist Matilde Wallevik, conducted by Milena Injac. The music is subsequently used as the soundtrack for the art film “Woman in Red - Seahorse Aria”, directed by Maria Dubin.
“The Hope” for brass band, choir, organ and percussion (which was premiered in 2001) is published by Edition Wilhelm Hansen. The first performance of the published score takes place in Lenzburg, Switzerland on October 19th, 2014.
Frederik Magle makes a guest appearance as a “featured artist” together with Nightingale String Quartet - for whom he has written compositions and string quartet arrangements - at Suspekt’s concert, closing the Roskilde Festival 2015 on “Orange Stage” (Orange Scene) before an audience of more than 75,000 people.
Grants and Awards
Frederik Magle has received many scholarships and grants, among others,
Countess Erna Hamiltons scholarship, Børge Schrøder and Herta
Finnerups foundation, Elli and Peter Ove Christensens foundation, Lili Zingels
foundation, Carlsbergs Prize of ideas, Unibank's Arts Prize and grants
of Her Majesty The Queen of Denmark and His Royal Highness The Prince Consort.
On October 2nd, 2000, Frederik Magle received the Countess Erna Hamilton's scholarship, for the second time, in support of his new CD »Light on your path«. The following day (October 3rd) Frederik Magle received the Grant of His Royal Highness The Prince Consort.
April 29th, 2001, Frederik Magle was awarded the Arts Prize of the Freemasons at a concert in the Main Masonic Hall (Stamhuset) in Copenhagen (home to the Grand Lodge of Denmark).
Frederik Magle received a grant from the Danish Arts Foundation in 2014.
Note: This page is updated infrequently and may not include recent activities. For the latest news, as well as in-depth information, please see the Frederik Magle News Blog.