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Portrait of Kuno Kjærbye, the composer

Throughout his work as a composer, Kuno Kjærbye has created music which relates to traditions of narration and to a visual texture and shows Kuno as an artist who examines musical statements with curiosity and a playful attitude. His musical expression is kaleidoscopic, may be termed avantgarde romanticism, and is delivered in modern and very clear, direct images of sound.

Kuno has composed commissioned works for many and varied ensembles including choir, sinfonietta, chamber music and solo pieces.He has received grants and composers’ fees from The Danish Arts Foundation, Koda, Danish Composers Association, The Viking Ship Museum, The Jutland Ensemble, Hvidovre District, Tivoli’s Promenade Orchestra a.o. Moreover music schools have commissioned Kuno to compose works for children and youth ensembles.

Kuno was resident composer in Hvidovre District in 2005-06, supported by the Danish Arts Council. He was resident artist in Hjørring in 2011-12 with the project ”Hunting and Shapeshifting”, a multimedia work created together with and performed by professional musicians,  students and primary school choirs at Vendsyssel Art Museum and at the North Sea Oceanarium Hirtshals in 2012.

In 2006 Kuno composed music for Henrik Ibsen’s drama Fruen fra Havet/ La Dama del Mar which was first performed as a music theatre work in Mexico City. It was a Norwegian-Mexican co-production with the Mexican writer Juan Gutierrez-Maupomé as artistic leader and producer.

When the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde  in 2007-08 sent their biggest replica The Sea Stallion on a voyage to Ireland and back, the museum commissioned Kuno to compose The Sea Stallion- a visual concert. In 2009 when the viking ship had returned to Roskilde, photos from the journey were animated and together with Kuno’s music edited into a multimedia work. The Sea Stallion- a visual concert is published on DVD/CD in 2010.

In 2011 the vocal cycle Spilt vin (Wasted wine) was first performed in Roskilde Music Association. The text material for this music is poems by the Norwegian poet Cecilie Løveid, and the music is composed for soprano, baritone, violin and double bass.

Other recent events is the first performance of Eyes of the Wolf and Six Melodic Scenes from Witch Child in 2011. This work is built upon the novel Witch Child of the British author Celia Rees, and the story takes place in the settlers’ North America where religiousness and prosecution of witches were used as a tool for coherence in the then new society.

Kuno’s work The Butterfly and Grandma Spider (2009) has a strong music didactic touch. It is a music fairytale, and the audience is involved in that they draw their visualisation of the music. Towards the end of the performance some of the drawings are transformed to music, and so the audience actually influences the very composition. The Butterfly and Grandma Spider has been performed in DK with the Letmark Quartet, school choirs and student groups.

Other of Kuno Kjærbye’s  works are published on The Cauldron (with Letmark Quartet, CD 2009, own label) and on Kuno Kjærbye – Chamber works (CD 2001, Kontrapunkt).