Throughout 2017, the Danish city of Aarhus and the 18 other municipalities in the Central Denmark Region will celebrate a year as European Capital of Culture. This is one of the most prestigious and prominent cultural events in Europe. Every year, two EU countries are appointed as host countries for the European Capital of Culture. Pafos in Cyprus is also a European Capital of Culture 2017.
In 1996, Copenhagen became the first Danish city to host the European Capital of Culture, and it will be many years before a Danish city can boast the title again. Aarhus 2017 is based on strong mutual cooperation across the entire region. The central theme of the year, "Let’s Rethink", explores the history of DNA throughout the year, asking important questions about what is kept and what is let go as we move into the future.
Many cultural partnerships and collaborations will evolve from the celebrations, which touch on every aspect of Danish culture, from contemporary architecture to pageants of the country’s Viking past. Danish and other European masterpieces will be reworked, new icons will be invented and prototypes and experiments can all be expected from this exciting, creative year of culture.
Focus on Music and Dance at Aarhus
Tree of Codes - 27th – 29th April + extra show 1st May
Inspired by the 2010 novel by American writer Jonathan Safran Foer, Tree of Codes is a ground-breaking contemporary ballet produced by Manchester International Festival, Paris Opera Ballet and Studio Wayne McGregor. Tree of Codes is a creative collaboration of Wayne McGregor’s choreography, artist Olafur Eliasson’s visual concept, and songwriter and composer Jamie xx’s electronic score in what The Daily Telegraph describes as a ‘kaleidoscopic confection.’ Now presented at Musikhuset Aarhus for the Aarhus 2017 European Capital of Culture, following the 2015 premiere in Manchester, Tree of Codes will be performed by soloists and dancers of the Paris Opera Ballet and Company Wayne McGregor.
Find out more about Tree of Codes at Aarhus 2017.
LightLens – 16th – 17th June
Following the performances of Tree of Codes in April, the summer of 2017 will see McGregor back again in Aarhus with Studio Wayne McGregor. This time, McGregor and his dancers will work with more than two hundred local participants of different ages, interests and cultures to create a commissioned work that celebrates the people and the city of Aarhus through dance, sound and costume. LightLens promises to be an exciting event for both the performers and audience with variations of this mass dance taking place in a number of municipalities across the region. Studio Wayne McGregor has a 20-year history of creating high quality, innovative participatory dance performances and LightLens promises to be an exciting event for both performers and audience. Commissioned by Aarhus 2017, Lightlens is presented by Studio Wayne McGregor in collaboration with Performing Arts Platform and Dansehallerne.
Discover LightLens at Aarhus 2017.
Choir of St John’s College Cambridge at Aarhus Capital of Culture
The Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge is one of the finest collegiate boys and men’s choirs in the world, with a varied repertoire spanning five centuries of music. It is known for its distinctive sound, expressive interpretations and an ability to sing in a variety of styles. Rehearsing twice a day to consistently produce high standards of singing over 200 services a year in Chapel, the distinctive ‘St John’s Sound’ is brought to listeners around the world each week via a weekly webcast. The Choir’s repertoire is extremely varied and renowned for championing contemporary music in its commissioning of new works. A recent innovation is the performance of a Bach Cantata each term at Evensong, with St John's Sinfonia, a period instrument orchestra.
For the last ten years the Choir has been directed by former Organ Scholar Andrew Nethsingha who oversees the delivering of concerts, tours and events across the globe, as well as special services held through the year, such as the Advent Carol service, Ash Wednesday Evensong and the Bach Cantata Evensongs.
The Creation by Haydn at Aarhus (6 April 2017 – 8 April 2017)
In April the Choir heads to Denmark for the fourth time in seven years, where they will perform Joseph Haydn’s Creation twice. The Oratorio, composed by Haydn in 1797-1798 and considered by many to be his masterpiece, depicts and celebrates the creation of the world as described in the Book of Genesis from the Bible and in Milton’s Paradise Lost.
The performance is a collaboration with the Aarhus Symphony Orchestra and the Herning Boys Choir. It stars the soloists the Swedish Soprano Malin Christenson, the British Tenor James Gilchrist and Bass Neal Davies. Nethsingha sees this glorious piece of music and chance to perform in Denmark as a perfectly pan-European opportunity, particularly at a time when cultural connections between the UK and Europe should be stronger than ever. The music was composed by an Austrian, influenced by London where Haydn experienced Handel’s music, brings together singers from across Europe and celebrates Britain’s lasting tradition of choral music.
The first venue is the Symphony Hall in Aarhus, Denmark’s second city, and the largest concert hall in Scandinavia. The second concert is at the Kongrescenter in the nearby city of Herning, home of the Herning Boys Choir. The Choir consists of 50 men and boys and is led by Mads Bille. It already has strong ties with St John’s after performing the Creation with the Cambridge-based choir in 2013.