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Danish String Quartet coming to N.L.'s Tuckamore Festival

Caroline Bittencourt / Submitted
Members of the Danish String Quartet (from left) Rune Tonsgaard Sorensen, Asbjorn Norgaard, Frederik Oland and Fredrik Schoyen Sjölin.
Members of the Danish String Quartet (from left) Rune Tonsgaard Sorensen, Asbjorn Norgaard, Frederik Oland and Fredrik Schoyen Sjölin. - Caroline Bittencourt/Contributed

Among the artists coming to perform and teach at this year’s Tuckamore Festival are The Danish String Quartet. Composed of the tree Danes and one Norwegian, the Scandinavian quartet plays a mix of classical and folk music.

The three Danes met at music summer camp when they were not quite teenagers. Being the youngest campers, they quickly became best friends and spent all of their time together playing chamber music and soccer.

In 2001, they were contacted by Tim Frederiksen, a professor from the Royal Danish Academy of Music, and became a serious string quartet. In 2008, they were joined by Norwegian cellist Fredrik.

“It seems like the whole process of them coming together is so organic,” says Nancy Dahn, co-Artistic Director of the Tuckamore Festival. She says the quartet have achieved somewhat of a super-star status in the chamber music scene.

One of the Tuckamore Festival board members developed and interest in the Danish String Quartet because of their integration of folk music into their repertoire, and suggested them as a possible guest at the festival.

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The quartet did not make a conscious decision to include folk music in the performances, but instead focused on playing music they enjoy and folk music was found to be among their collective preferences.

Norgaard explained, “A classical music group is essentially a cover band; we perform other people’s music. With the folk material, we have a higher degree of ‘ownership,’ and this can change the atmosphere on stage.”

“We can’t wait for them to come here,” says Timothy Steeves, co-Artistic Director of the Tuckamore Festival. He is hoping for a good turnout at the concerts the Danish String Quartet will be giving because they are so intrigued by Newfoundland.

“We already had a U.S. summer tour in our calendar when they (their U.S. agency) contacted us about the Tuckamore Festival,” Norgaard said. “We immediately decided to add a couple of extra days to the tour to get to travel to Newfoundland. Even if the Vikings found their way to Newfoundland 1,000 years ago, it is not so easy for Scandinavians to get there these days.”

While in Newfoundland, the Danish String Quartet will be giving a masterclass and evening concert on Tuesday, Aug. 14 and a children’s concert on Wednesday Aug. 15.

“We hope to get to see and enjoy the nature and landscape. As far as we know, the climate and look of the place feels a bit like Scandinavia and it is always amazing when you travel around the globe to end up in a place where you feel like home,” says Norgaard.

“I think we have a really good group of guest artists this year,” says Steeves about the festival.

Guest artists will include, Particia O’Callaghan with Tim Allen’s show “Bohemians in Brooklyn,” pianist David Jalbert, and Mark Fewer.

New to the festival this year will be an improvisation evening with Ellen Waterman who improvises chamber music to silent film. This addition to the Tuckamore Festival is part of broadening the definition of chamber music and its applications.

In addition to the guest artists, there will also be the Young Artists program for young musicians and composers coming from as far as New Zealand to participate.

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