KOMPONISTEN / THE COMPOSER
Hans-Henrik Nordstrøm was born in 1947. He was educated at the Royal Danish Academy of Music. Nordstrøm has composed music since he was 13 years old, but it was first in 1988 that he stepped forward as a composer at a workshop with the Esbjerg Ensemble. In 1990 he had his official debut at a DUT concert in Copenhagen.
Since then he has made his mark as a composer and has received numerous commissions and his works have been performed by leading orchestras, ensembles and soloists home and abroad. He has received working bursaries and travel grants from the State Foundation for the Arts every year since 1990, Hans Peter Nielsen’s Grant 1991, Danish Composer’s Society’s Grant 2001 and Wilhelm Hansen Foundation’s Grant 2003 & 2004. Composer of the Year 2003 at Bornholms Music Festival. Composer’s Portrait of the Year 2004 in Birkeroed, North of Copenhagen. Composer’s Portrait 2010 at the Play Danish Day, Copenhagen. Received Hakon Børresen’s Honorary Grant 2007. Speciel Reward by Danish State Foundation for the Art 2011. Participated in Nordic Music Days 2021.
Since 1991 he has worked exclusively as a composer. He has been one of the artistic leaders of the Contemporary Music in Suså festivals 1993-2018. Nordstrøm’s works have been performed at numerous festivals, concerts and in radio broadcasts both at home in Denmark and abroad.
Most of the time he is working in his house in the woods in Middle Seeland ind Denmark but every summer he is making working spent stays in the North Atlantic area, in the Faroe Islands, in Iceland, In Lofoten, Norway, on the Hebredies, on the Shetland Isles, including Fair Isle, the Orkney Isles, in Ireland and in Brittany and the Balkans aswell. In wintertime he is working in southern Europe – Italy, Spain, France, Malta, the Azores, Mexico, Egypt and the Canarian Isles.
Nordstrøm´s works comprise primarily instrumental music: pieces for orchestra, sinfonietta, ensembles and soloists. There are also some vocal pieces. The music often takes its inspiration impressions from nature, both at a local and a cosmic level, and – in a growing degree – from the literary world, from Lorca, Tranströmer and from Joyce. In other instances the pieces arise from “pure” musical ideas and structures. It is often very emotive music, sometimes of a contemplative character, which speaks not only the listener’s intellect but also to his or her emotions. In Nordstrøm´s successive works, in recent years with an increasing number of vocal works, a development can be perceived from a relatively simple but expressive structure to more equivocal, multi-layered and refined expressive forms. These are, however, still firmly rooted in emotional aspects, where the music develops in more complex and plastic directions. The music becomes more pulsating and variable in its gestures while at the same time developing further a preference for delicate work with timbre and the special characteristics of the individual instruments. In recent years larger works for orchestra has been in focus.
Hans-Henrik Nordstrøm´s music has often been described as being markedly Nordic in its tonal quality and the music in some ways does owe much to Nordic music and Nordic nature. But the music is developing and the sources of inspiration are much broader and more comprehensive which can be observed by viewing the increasing number of works inspired from litterature.
Among his most important works from recent years the following can be mentioned: Riverrun (chamber ensemble), Nuages d’automne (trombone & sinfonietta), Finnegan’s (sinfonietta), Nocturno del hueco (mezzo & guitar), Six Fragments from Macedonia (string quartet), The bereaved (octet) Från havets bibliotek (mezzo, fl & acc.), Nine Moments For Two Guitars, The New Fire. A Symphonic Dream (orchestra), Secrets (wind quintet), Lyric Sketches (trio), String Quartet No 6, Four Poems (mezzo, fl & perc.), Orion (fl, vl, vla, vc & pno), Sphinx (sinfonietta), Out of the Darkness (8 double basses), Cycle III (sinf.), String Quartet no. ((7)), Five solo pieces (recorder, guitar, flute & Double Bass), R. – a poem by Morten Nielsen (soprano & trio), String Quartet no. 8 (Alfama), Nocturnos de la ventana (mezzo) and Neowise (Organ).
Untill now some 60 works has been published on CD, mainly in Classico’s portrait-CD’s “Hans-Henrik Nordstrøm 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5”, the double-cd “starting points”, “Hans-Henrik Nordstrøm – Live” and “Hans-Henrik Nordstrøm – On stage) CDKlassisk, “Hans-Henrik Nordstrøm – In Concert“, “Sphinx”, CDKlassisk and the prize portrait-cd, “Finnegan’s” with works for sinfonietta on the dacapo label.