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Biography - Contemporary Classical Music Composer

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Frederik Magle, born the 17th of April 1977, is a Danish composer of contemporary classical music, concert organist and pianist. Member of The Danish Composer's Society since 1998.

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).

Several genres…
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, ethnic music, hip-hop, and more.

Family
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).

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A Timeline…

A selection of music performances, releases, and other events in the life of Frederik Magle:


1985

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.

1987

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".

1988

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.

1990

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.

1991

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.

1993

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.

1994

Frederik Magle won the the Danish part (a qualification round, a semi-final, and a televised final with the Danish National Sympony 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).

1995

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.

1996

»The March of Joy« was commisioned 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.

1997

The Christmas cantata was performed again in 1997 in the Church of Messiah, Copenhagen with 250 participants (An extra childrens 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 nobember 1997, where he played Francis Poulenc’s Concerto for organ and orchestra conducted by Dimitri Kitajenko.

1998

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, childrens 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).

1999

Frederik Magle’s Decet "Days and nights" was commissioned by Randers Chamber Orchestra and given its first performance in February 1999.

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.

2000

"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.

2001

"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 commisioned 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.

2002

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"

2003

»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.

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.

2005

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.

2006

Frederik Magle took ownership of the international music forum Talk Classical. By 2009 the 3rd largest classical music forum in the world.

2007

Concert with Nordic Music Academy and Nikolaj Znaider in Tivoli's Concert Hall, Copenhagen, July 16th.

2008

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.

2009

On May 12th, 2009, Frederik Magle gave the first performance of his organ-piece "Viva Voce" in Aarhus Cathedral. The work was commisioned 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.

2010

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...«.

2011

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.

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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 recieved the Countess Erna Hamilton's scolarship, 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).

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