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BO GUNGE: Danish composer, b. 1964. Cand. Mag. in Musicology and Drama from Aarhus University in 1991. Diploma in composition from The Royal Academy of Music, Aarhus, in 1997. Among his teachers were Hans Abrahamsen, Per Nørgård and Bent Sørensen.

 

STUDY YEARS: A natural object to focus on in the early production, is the huge Moon Wedding Songs (1993) for 8-part choir and instruments, set to Gunges own lyrics. The music features saturated, dynamic sounds, and has its very own dreamlike atmosphere. This is achieved by the use of ritual form, suggestive melody and polyphonic minimalism. In a recorded version, this work became part of a multimedia installation for the planetarium room at Steno Museum, which had large artistic success at its premiere in the NUMUS festival in 1995.

    Up until the millennium, Bo Gunge was developing and liberating his instrumental technique and sense of form, especially in the trio- and quartet work series. After the year 2000 this work has proven to be fruitful. Of his newer works, several have acquired prizes in Denmark and abroad, and he has been able to write for and work with many leading musicians, ensembles and musical institutions.

 

CAREER: Star Concerto (2001) for trombone and ensemble was written for Niels-Ole Bo Johansen and Aarhus Sin-fonietta. His Concerto for Oboe and Orchestra (2002) has been performed by Aarhus as well as South Jutland Symphony Orchestras, with two different world class soloists; Gordon Hunt, blew the solo part in Aarhus, march 2007, while Helen Jahren, to whom the concerto is written and dedicated, premiered the piece in 2002. A recording is being planned.

    In 2004, having finished a large Requiem, Gunge wrote the family opera Orfeus loves Eurydike (2005) for The Jutland Opera. It  was overwhelmingly well received by critics as well as audience, and it has now had more than 30 performances.

    In 2004-05 Bo Gunge was appointed Composer in residence at South Jutland Symphony Orchestra. As a result hereof, a Symphony, was premiered in january 2006. Its come into being, rehearsal and premiere, conducted by Graham Bond, was filmed for a TV documentary. Reviewers were very positive indeed and the audience’s reaction was exuberant.

    Also in 2005, the piece (without title) -for ten instruments, a prizewinner at its premiere in 2001, was a critics favorite, when it was presented at the Breganz Festival as part of an official cultural support event for danish music. Gunges latest premiere was a his 2. Symphony, Concerto for Orchestra (2010) wtitten for South Jutland Symphony Orchestra and commissined bt the Langgaard Festival. The piece is dedicated to the unique acoustics of Ribe Cathedral unikke akustik, which in fact is incorporated in the work, becomes part of its soul, so to speak. Not only is this the case in the matter of the arrangement of the musicians within the concert space, it is also part of the technique, timing and spirit of the music. It is a whole organic experience for surround-symphony orchestra.

 

CHARACTERISTICS: In Bo Gunges works from recent years, a richly facetted and powerful music meets the ear. It owes its eloquence to Gunges will to search for musical and artistic freedom, as well as his highly conscious aesthetics in relation to musical history and craftsmanship.

    An outstanding fact is that Bo Gunge does not oblige to the usual demand for “Truth”, that has been resounding through a 100 years of art music. "We have 3 world religions and natural science arguing about Truth. At the same time each an every one of us possess enormous intensity in our being, that is not moved by truth at all!” -says Gunge. Instead he thinks, art should prepare us for the intensity of our own lives. To bring “being” into music.

    This choice gives him the possibility to embrace music of all genres and periods in his work. From a seductive classical eloquence, through modernistic soundscapes to the catchy melodiousness of popular music. This, however, is not based on irony; while irony and humor often finds its way into the music, the fundamental atmosphere is a straightforward and forceful, non-pretending narrative style.

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