The Carl Nielsen Festival will take place for the first time on the picturesque island of Funen from August 26 to 30, 2022 – and will immediately come up with an impressive list of top international orchestras. The artistic director is the renowned violinist and conductor Nikolaj Szeps-Znaider.

The Danish island of Funen is best known as a holiday paradise with endless natural beaches, but it also has a lot to offer culturally. Both the author Hans-Christian Andersen and the composer Carl Nielsen came from Funen. A special musical monument will be set for the latter with the newly founded Carl Nielsen Festival from summer 2022: Denmark’s first international orchestra festival will henceforth invite renowned orchestras from all over the world to the port city of Odense once a year and will complement symphonic concerts with an original chamber music and supporting program.

In its very first year, the Carl Nielsen Festival brings together an impressive group of top-class international performers. Starting on August 26, Klaus Mäkelä, Oslo Philharmonic and Isabelle Faust; other highlights of the festival weekend include concerts with the WDR Symphony Orchestra, Cristian Măcelaru, Gautier Capuçon, Daniil Trifonov, the Danish String Quartet and others. To crown it all, Tugan Sokhiev will be guesting with the Philharmonia Orchestra in Odense on August 30.

Festival director Nikolaj Szeps-Znaider comments that it is high time that Carl Nielsen’s music was appropriately acknowledged for its cultural and historical significance: “Carl Nielsen is the most important composer Denmark has ever produced – a real figurehead for Danish music culture. To dedicate an event to him and to highlight his extraordinary achievements in this way seemed to me and the H.C. Andersen Festivals as logical as they are overdue.”

The umbrella event of the Carl Nielsen Festival is one of Denmark’s largest cultural festivals: the H.C. Andersen Festival, which pays tribute to Funen’s other great cultural pioneer, Hans-Christian Andersen, and fills the picturesque streets of Odense with colour and life. The H.C. Andersen Festival offers the Odense Flower Festival, the HCA Comedy Festival and the Spoken Word Festival, among others, which attract large audiences year after year.

The homage to the namesake can be experienced in many different ways at the Carl Nielsen Festival. All symphonic concerts begin with an overture penned by Nielsen. The fact that the composer was also very fond of folk music in addition to classical music does not go unnoticed: evening after evening, musicians and festival guests come together in the Anarchist Pub to listen to the trio Dreamers’ Circus in a relaxed atmosphere. They play both traditional Danish music and arranged works by Nielsen. The focus on Nielsen is also particularly evident in the repertoire of the chamber music program. The intimate concerts are presented in a small cast in the atmospheric ambience of historic manor houses around Odense.

Nikolaj Szeps-Znaider is looking forward to welcoming guests from all over the world to Odense, enriching Funen’s cultural landscape with new concert formats and enabling international orchestras to meet on Danish soil: “We want to celebrate Carl Nielsen’s legacy as well as the unique attitude to life on Funen. I look forward to this with great anticipation.”

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