Artists 2021

Gabriella Pace, sopran

Award-winning Brazilian soprano Gabriella Pace has established herself as one of the most sought after singers in South America. She has been awarded Carlos Gomes Award as Best Female Singer twice, and most recently in 2010 for her performance in Villa-Lobos / A MENINA DAS NUVENS. Gabriella has also performed with a number of distinguished conductors such as Lorin Maazel, Isaac Karabtchevsky, John Neschling, Rodolfo Fischer and Roberto Minczuk.
Among the many major roles she has appeared which include Ilia / IDEOMENEO, Pamina / DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE, Susanna / LE NOZZE DI FIGARO, Soer Constance / DIALOGUES DES CARMELITES, Giulietta / I CAPULETI EI MONTECCHI, Adina / L’ELISIR D’AMORE, Norina / DON PASQUALE and Adele / DIE FLEDERMAUS. She has also performed as soloist in Mahler’s 4th Symphony, Beethoven 9th Symphony, Carmina Burana, Mendelsohns Lobgesang, Mozart’s Requiem, Rossini’s Stabat Mater, Die Schöpfung, Mass in Tempori Belli and Haydns Die Jahreszeiten. In addition, she has sung Schoenberg’s String Quartet Opus 10 No. 2 with the Raga String Quartet

Elisabeth Westenholz, pianist

Elisabeth Westenholz started playing piano at a very young age. Already during high school, she studied abroad periodically, including in Cardiff, Wales, where she taught with the pianist P. Piggott, later with the then 90-year-old pianist Leonie Gombrich, who had personally known musical celebrities such as Brahms, G. Mahler and A. Bruckner. Her debut from the Conservatory was prepared in Vienna by B. Seidlhofer in Vienna. Alongside the piano, Elisabeth Westenholz was organist at Holmen’s Church for 19 years, where she also played at major events in the royal house, such as Princess ◊ Margaret’s funeral in 1977. But EW has felt first and foremost as a pianist, and it is at the piano, As a soloist and chamber musician, she has provided the exceptional. Her dissemination contains an in-depth analysis of the classic works from Bach to B. Bartók and is not hampered by any technical barriers. The piano technique is guided by a rock-solid tempo feel that allows for freedom of phrasing. As Politics music reviewer Jan Jacoby has put it, she has an “ability to give each moment of life and add it into one unified energy stream with subtle transitions”.

EW has been a frequent concert donor, both in Denmark and abroad. She is in great demand as a soloist and as a chamber musician, but the particular exchange of intuitive here-and-now interpretations found in chamber music has set her high. She has recorded a large number of records, including all of Beethoven’s piano concerts with Collegium Musicum, several of Mozart’s piano concerts, all of NiCarl Nielsen’s piano and organ works, and chamber music works by Haydn, rFederik Kuhlau, Brahms, Schumann and Fauré. From the list of grants and honors can be mentioned Carl Nielsen’s Rejselegat 1969, Gladsaxe Music Prize 1970, Music Reviewer Artist’s Award 1971, Tagea Brandts Rejselegat 1982 and Supreme Court Attorney C.L. David’s Birthday Legend 1992. In 1984, she was named honorary member of the Chamber Music Association.

Bjarke Mogensen, accordeon

Born on the Island of Bornholm, Bjarke Mogensen quickly made a name for himself as an internationally acclaimed accordion virtuoso and as a versatile musician with a keen ear for different styles. At a very early age he made his debut as a soloist with the Munich Symphony Orchestra in a German TV broadcast with millions of viewers. Since then an unusual curiosity and search for new sounds and expressions has taken him on musical paths where few other musicians have ventured before as a highly sought-after soloist in the classical music world.

Bjarke Mogensen received a long list of international awards such as The P2 Radio Chamber Music Competition and The Almere International Chamber Music Competition. He took 1st prize in the European Broadcast Unions “New Talent” competition in Bratislava and a few years later Mogensen received the Danish Music Critics Artist Prize – all firsts for the accordion.

Already during his student years, Bjarke Mogensen had his solo debut-recital at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, New York and performed in European venues such as the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and Barbican Hall, London. 

He has performed chamber music in duo with among others violinist Gidon Kremer, violist Tatjana Masurenko and cellist Andreas Brantelid. As a soloist he has worked with orchestras such as the Moscow Virtuosi, Kremerata Baltica, Slovak State Philharmonic Orchestra, The Tiroler Symphony Orchestra, the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, Prague Radio Orchestra and The Copenhagen Philharmonic.

Bjarke Mogensen’s repertoire is almost unlimited, with a span ranging from folk music and accordion classics over his own arrangements and transcriptions to brand new works for accordion as well as improvisation. 

A long succession of collaborations with prominent living composers has resulted in over 60 new compositions – concertos, chamber music and solo works – dedicated to Bjarke Mogensen.

A series of his award-winning recordings have been released by the British label Orchid Classics as well as the national Danish record label Dacapo-Records. 

Bjarke Mogensen plays the Mythos Accordion No.5 often described as the Stradivarius of the accordion. He is also among the very few accordionists in the world who plays the quarter tonal accordion, an instrument which was custom made in Italy. Bjarke Mogensen graduated from the soloist class at the Royal Danish Academy of Music, where he now is an associate professor of accordion and chamber music.

Future engagements include the Finnish and Russian premiere of Danish composer Poul Ruders’ accordion concerto Sound and Simplicity. Yet another grand new work for the accordion written for and dedicated to Bjarke Mogensen.

Elisabeth Holmegaard Nielsen, piano

Elisabeth Holmegaard Nielsen is one of the most promising young Danish pianists of her generation.

Her performances are characterized by musical intelligence and virtuoso technique.
She has been named “The Young Artistic Elite 2020” by the Danish National Art Foundation and has received Sonning Talent Prize and Queen Ingrid’s Roman Foundation.
Elisabeth is an award winner at many international piano competitions. She has performed as a soloist with orchestras in Denmark, Poland, Ukraine and Holland; and has toured with solo concerts in most of Europe and China.
Elisabeth has released two critically acclaimed CDs with works by Bach, Beethoven, Schumann, Carl Nielsen and Prokofiev.

Kim Bak Dinitzen, violoncello

Kim Bak Dinitzen (cello) studied in Copenhagen with Erling Bløndal Bengtsson and in London with Ralph Kirshbaum and master classes with Mstislav Rostropovich and William Pleeth. He debuted in 1986 and has won awards in numerous international cello competitions and played concerts as a soloist and chamber musician throughout most of Europe, the United States, South America and Japan. He is a member of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, solo cellist in the Royal Danish Orchestra and has also taught at the conservatories in Manchester, Glasgow and Copenhagen. Kim Bak has been a soloist with all Danish symphony orchestras and won awards at competitions in New York, Washington and Florence. Kim Bak has recorded all of Britain’s works for cello as well as sonata by Brahms, Strauss and Prokofiev.

Valentina Rebaudo, clarinet

Born in Bordighera (Italy), Valentina Rebaudo begins her studies at the Conservatory of Menton (France) under the guidance of the teacher Jean-Louis Dedieu. At 10 he held his first recital at the Palais de l’Europe in Menton and three years later she won the international competition “Le Royaume de la Musique” organized by Radio France.

In 2004 she was admitted to the National Conservatory of Nice Region (France), in the class of the master Michel Lethiec, where she finished her studies in 2007 with a Gold Medal unanimously. In 2009 he obtained the entrance exam at the Haute Ecole de Musique in Lausanne (Switzerland) in the class of the majestic Frédéric Rapin, where he will obtain his Master of Musical Pedagogy in 2013 with an award of excellence for the best recital and the best thesis of the conservatory: the latter, which deeply moves the jury, focuses on the intrinsic value of music as a form of non-violent resistance (Music, this beautiful resistance) and proposes a new vision of pedagogy that would highlight the responsibility that the pedagogue has in formation of the human dimension of an artist. In 2015, after a year of specialization with the master Jörg Widmann at the Musikhochschule of Freiburg im Breisgau (Germany), he obtained his second Concert Master with the compliments of the jury at the Haute Ecole de Musique in Lausanne.

 

Member of the Monte-Carlo Soloists since the age of 11, Valentina has already been invited as a soloist by numerous orchestras, including the Sanremo Symphony Orchestra and several chamber orchestras on the French Riviera; very active in chamber music, she had the opportunity to hold concerts alongside renowned musicians, such as the Portuguese double bass player Tiago Pinto Ribeiro, the Belgian pianist Philippe Raskin, the violinists Ernst Kovacic, Felix Froschhammer and Christian Danowicz, the French oboist Olivier Stankiewicz, the Lutoslawski Quartet of Warsaw, the Three Money Orchestra of Turin, the soloists of the Leopoldinum Orchestra of Wroclaw … in 2014, with the Iranian pianist Layla Ramezan, he is the interpreter of the world creation of Rhapsody for clarinet and piano of the Iranian composer Hooshyar Khayam.

Valentina collaborates regularly with the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra, the Munich Münchener Kammerorchester, the Monte-Carlo Soloists, and is a member of the Lausanne Symphony Orchestra. In 2013 he is part of the cast of L’Echappée Belle, a work for wire puppets, narrating voice and clarinet trio, produced and directed by the French actor Guy Jutard, which has a great success with 50 performances during spring 2013 in Geneva. Among the projects, we can mention Opera Viva !, a lyrical sextet that stages performances on Mozart’s music, the Duo Rusalka with the pianist Irene Puccia, who puts forward the concept of a fairy world in music, and which also provides participation of various actors and writers, and Les Amours de Clara, a project in collaboration with the pianist Irene Puccia and the soprano Laure Barras, which aims to retrace the life of Clara Schumann through her letters and compositions. She is also the artistic director of the Journées Musicales de Romanel, a pedagogical festival that aims to prepare for listening to a concert and more precisely to discover the repertoire of chamber music by children and teenagers.

Holder of the CAS (Certificate of Advanced Studies) in Willems Musical Initiation, Valentina has been a professor at the Lausanne Conservatory since 2015, and lectures on the importance of the human value of music teaching for the global development of the child: in 2013, he she was invited to the International Festival of the Rights of the Child of Pavia (Italy), where she held a concert-conference on the theme of music seen as a form of non-violent resistance, and in 2017 she was invited to the Festival Art Culture Territory of Ventimiglia (Italy ), where he held a meeting on the combination of music and integration. He collaborated with the University of Aix-Marseille, France, for a thesis in Political Science on the democratization of classical music, with the Center Professionnel du Nord vaudois, in Switzerland, for another thesis on the value of initiation to music for childhood, and with the Haute Ecole de Musique in Lausanne for an interview on active pedagogy. At the same time, he continues his work of promoting music as a form of non-violent resistance: he often travels to Palestine, where he teaches music to children in refugee camps, in collaboration with the Edward Said National Conservatory of Palestine; he also collaborates with the Mexican foundation Crescendo with the Música and the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay, convinced that young people, in Europe and throughout the world, need art to create a free society. Valentina is one of the artists who collaborate with Les Concerts du Coeur, an association from Valais that organizes concerts for hospices, hospitals and prisons.

Valentina currently lives in Vevey (Switzerland) with her husband, the Swiss clarinetist Sébastien Gex, and their daughter Mira, born in 2017. She speaks 4 languages ​​fluently.

Signe Asmussen, lyric dramatic soprano

Since graduating from the Royal Academy of Music in Copenhagen with reviews that named her “the voice of possibilities”, “a natural interpreter”, and “an intimate vocal-seducer”, Danish lyric/dramatic soprano Signe Asmussen

(b. 1970) has been a preferred soloist with all of the national orchestras, ensembles and choirs.

With an annual average of around 90-110 concerts and performances, she has long confirmed her reputation as one of the most sought-after, versatile singers of her generation, always promoting one of her favourite disciplines: The intimate recital, which brings her in close contact with her audience, and with focus on the extended lied-repertoire from all around the world, in close collaboration with Danish pianists such as Erik Kaltoft, Berit Johansen Tange, Ulrich Stærk, and Christen Stubbe-Teglbjærg.

For this effort, she was awarded the prestigious Aksel Schiøtz Prize (2009)

Her curiosity and sharp musicality, along with her passion for the contemporary repertoire, and chamber music, has made her a preferred collaborator with national ensembles such as Theatre of Voices (in close collaboration with Kronos Quartet and London Sinfonietta), Copenhagen Saxophone Quartet, Athelas Sinfonietta, Ensemble Figura, The Scenate, The Esbjerg Ensemble, and Danish Chamber Players, with whom she has premiered several new works and operas.

In 2014, she was awarded the Danish Composers’ Society’s Award for Musicians.

She has worked with internationally renowned conductors and pianists such as Thomas Dausgaard, Thomas Søndergaard, Franck Ollu, Jean Thorel, Lan Shui, Lars Ulrik Mortensen, Rodolfo Fischer, Michael Seal, Alexander and Howard Shelley, Peter Hill, and Rudolf Jansen, and international concert venues include Wigmore Hall and National Gallery in London, Symphony Hall in Birmingham, The National Galleries in Edinburgh, Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, along with all of the important concert halls in DK.

Furthermore, she’s performing frequently with her latin jazz ensemble, ”The Latin Clásico”, formed by some of the most prominent Cuban, Venezuelan & Colombian latin jazz musicians residing in Cph/Denmark.

Mathias Heise, chromatic harp

Mathias Heise is one of the world’s leading harmonica players. He was born in 1993 in Rødovre, just outside Copenhagen, Denmark. He started playing harmonica at the age of seven, and a few years later he also took up piano and keyboards.

He attended the Rhythmic Music Conservatory in Copenhagen for a year, being the first student with the harmonica as his main instrument.

Awards

At the age of 20, Mathias Heise won the 2013 Chromatic Harmonica World Championship.

In 2015, he was awarded ‘New Jazz Star of The Year’ in Denmark. The same year his band Mathias Heise Quadrillion was nominated ‘Best New Jazz Act’ at Danish Music Awards.

In 2016, he received The Danish Crown Prince Couple’s prestigious Stardust Award – an award that is given to honor and highlight young Danish artists about to make an international break-through.

In March 2017, he was awarded the Ben Webster Prize, as the youngest recipient ever.

In 2018, Mathias Heise received an award from the Danish Arts Foundation for his work on the album The Beast with DR Big Band (see below). The award is presented to artists “who have created a work of particularly high artistic quality”, and the Danish Arts Foundation wrote:

“Young Mathias Heise may be described as something of a comet in the Danish jazz sky. This collaboration with DR Big Band marks one of the musical highlights in his artistic career so far.
It is nothing short of impressive that a 25-year-old musician makes an album with a big band having written and arranged the music himself as well as performing as an outstanding soloist.
The title “The Beast” refers both to his own musical status and to the big band-format which for some may seem like an untamable beast. However, the big band is tamed in the utmost exquisite way resulting in a unique musical result that stands out as one of the most significant jazz albums of the year.”

The Beast was also nominated ‘Best Album’ at Danish Jazz Awards 2019.

And in April 2019 Mathias Heise received the Hartmann Diploma-Prize (of 20,000 Euros). The prize is awarded to younger persons who are “expected to contribute to a continuously positive development of the Danish society”.

Joel Gonzales, double bass

Joel Gonzales was 21 years old when he came to Denmark from Mexico in 2001 to study at the Royal Danish Academy of Music.
Already the following year, he competed for a solo bassist position in the DR Radio Symphony Orchestra. It was four years before Joel completed his solo training at the conservatory with a highly acclaimed debut concert.
In 2007, he received the Youth's Sonning Prize of DKK 200,000, which was used for studies in Berlin.
In 2014, he won the competition for the place as alternating concertmaster in the DR Radio Symphony Orchestra.

Johan Bridger, Vibraphone

“For his intense personal expression, brilliant technical mastery and overpowering stage presence.” Thus read the judges’ citation for the percussionist and marimba artist Johan Bridger as he received the 2004 Swedish Soloist’s Prize. In the same year he managed to win 1st prize in the Belgium International Marimba Duo Competition and make a grandiose debut at both the Wigmore Hall in London and PASIC in the US. Since then Bridger has given numerous critically praised performances, both nationwide and internationally; throughout Europe, in Russia, Japan and the US.

Bridger has performed at major venues, such as La Biennale di Venezia, Mariinsky Theatre and Carnegie Hall and collaborated with internationally acclaimed artists including Thomas Søndergård, Mats Rondin, Eva Ollikainen, Hans Pålsson, Per Tengstrand, Hugo Ticciati, Urban Agnas and Håkan Hardenberger. He has also made several appearances as a soloist on Swedish Radio’s classical music station and on Swedish Television.

Born in Sweden 1976, Johan Bridger received his education from Malmö Academy of Music and Northwestern University in Chicago. His principal teachers were Lennart Gruvstedt, Leigh Howard Stevens and Professor Michael Burritt. As a true percussion virtuoso, Bridger embraces – and masters – an extensive repertoire, from J.S. Bach to contemporary and new music and is privileged to premier works by leading composers, such as Alejandro Vinao, Pius Cheung, Marcin Blazewitz, Daniel Börtz, Staffan Storm and Tobias Broström.

In addition to his own ceaseless exploration of the marimba and the overall percussionist’s world, Bridger seeks to inspire others by giving both lectures and master classes, in Sweden and abroad. He also teaches at The Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen, The Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts in Odense, The Malmö Academy of Music and  Sundsgarden School of Music.

AND a great amateur operachoir performing chorus-highlights with professional soloists and pianist, directed by Torben H.S. Svendsen, on wednesday august 11, 2021, as a pre-concert for the festival.