A group of performers from the Lightlens performance by Studio Wayne McGregor
Lightlens celebrates the people and the city of Aarhus through dance, sound and costume. Photo (C) Per Bille 

Focus on Music and Dance at Aarhus 

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.

Tree of Codes

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.

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.

200 local people of different ages, interests and cultures are taking part in the Lightlens performance. Photo (C) Per Bille.
Choreographer Wayne McGregor brings ground-breaking contemporary ballet to Aarhus 2017. Photograph by Nick Mead
Choreographer Wayne McGregor brings ground-breaking contemporary ballet to Aarhus 2017. Photograph by Nick Mead.
The Choir of St John's College, Cambridge
The Choir of St John's College, Cambridge 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, is considered by many to be his masterpiece.

About Aarhus European Capital of Culture 2017

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.

Featured British artists at Aarhus

Below you will find profiles of a selection of featured British artists who form part of the year-long European Capital of Culture events and activities.


Wayne McGregor was born in Stockport in 1970 and studied dance at the University of Leeds and the José Limón School in New York. In 1992 he founded Random Dance (now Company Wayne McGregor) and in 2006 he became Resident Choreographer of The Royal Ballet. His works for the The Royal Ballet include Multiverse, Woolf Works, Raven Girl, Carbon Life, Infra and Chroma.

McGregor’s interest in cross-discipline collaboration has produced critically acclaimed work that brings together dance, film, music, visual art, technology and science. McGregor is regularly commissioned by and has works in the repertories of the most important ballet companies around the world, including Paris Opera Ballet, New York City Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet, Royal Danish Ballet and San Francisco Ballet. He has directed movement for theatre, film and music videos, including Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and the Grammy-nominated Lotus Flower for Radiohead.

Wayne McGregor has won numerous prizes for his work, including two Olivier Awards, and was awarded a CBE for Services to Dance in 2011. Speaking to The Stage about his creative process, he referred to his creations not as a series of individual works, but as a continuous process, stating that each piece was a ‘key frame’ in something larger.



Nathan Coley is one of Scotland’s best-known artists. For the duration of 2017 Coley has devised ten temporary illuminated text works known as ‘fairy light attractions’ that will be shown at a number of key locations across Jutland. The artworks will be mounted on scaffolding and consist of the kind of small, flashing crystal lights we know from the theme parks. The title, THE SAME FOR EVERYONE, brings attention to one of the most treasured of Danish values, namely 'equality for all'.

Find out more about Nathan Coley's work on the Aarhus 2017 website.


I wanted to visit places that in one way or another identified themselves with communities. The works need a response from their audience. (Nathan Coley)


Nathan Coley, born in 1967 in Glasgow, Scotland, is a contemporary artist, who in 2007 was nominated for the prestigious Turner Prize. He studied art at the Glasgow School of Art between 1985 and 1989 and works and lives in Glasgow. His works have been exhibited at numerous prestigious international exhibitions and museums: The 19th Sydney Biennale 2014; The Theatre of the World, Museo Tamayo, Mexico; The 13th Istanbul Biennale 2013; Bergen Kunsthal, Bergen, Norway; Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh; GENERATION, Royal Academy of Art, Edinburgh and Westfälischer Kunstverein, Munster, Germany.

Nathan Coley official website


Anohni is the Aarhus 2017 Artist-in-Residence. During her residency, Anohni will record with the Aarhus Symphony Orchestra, develop new work in mixed media, present several exhibitions as a visual artist and collaborator in venues across the city, and perform for one night only in a unique live concert at the Musikhuset Aarhus on the 18th November 2017. 

I deeply hope that Scandinavian countries will continue to uphold their models of socialism as prototypes for the rest of the world. We can’t afford for anxiety to erode Denmark’s noble conviction that socialist values are core human values. (Anohni)

Find out more information about Anohni's work on the official Aarhus 2017 website.


Born in England and living in NYC, Anohni first gained international prominence upon winning the UK’s Mercury prize in 2005 for her album 'I Am a Bird Now' with her band Antony and the Johnsons. Anohni's unique voice led to performances with symphonies around the world, collaborations with artists including Lou Reed, Charles Atlas, Marina Abramovic and Bjork, and exhibitions in select museums and at Sikkema Jenkins gallery in NYC. In 216 Anohni was nominated for an Oscar for her contribution to the song 'Manta Ray', an address to the world’s dying coral reefs. Her latest album HOPELESSNESS is a collaboration with Hudson Mohawke and OPN, and uses dance music to explore themes of ecocide, drone warfare and global virulence.

Anohni official website


Presented by Blast Theory,  2097: We Made Ourselves Over is an Aarhus 2017 commission in collaboration with Hull, UK City of Culture 2017. The ground breaking theatrical group will use the year to create a work that expands experience through use of technology, social media platforms and audience interaction. The audience will be taken on an unexpected journey in the imaginatively crafted spaces of an unknown city in the year 2097 - a blended place merging Aarhus and the UK City of Culture, Hull.

We’ll be working with communities across both Hull UK City of Culture 2017 and Aarhus European Capital of Culture 2017 to create a vision of possible futures, culminating in a series of public happenings. (Blast Theory)


Blast Theory, based in Brighton, UK, is renowned internationally as one of the most adventurous artists’ groups using interactive media, creating groundbreaking new forms of performance and interactive art that mixes audiences across the internet, live performance and digital broadcasting. Led by Matt Adams, Ju Row Farr and Nick Tandavanitj, the group’s work explores the social and political aspects of technology. Drawing on popular culture and games, the work often blurs the boundaries between the real and the fictional.

Blast Theory official website 


Pride, the opposite of humility, is the worst sin among the Seven Deadly Sins, but how would it be portrayed today? The British artist, Rebecca Louise Law, uses real flowers in an exhibition at Skovgaard Museum, Viborg, to investigate. A floral installation reminds us that pride comes before a fall as decaying flowers comment on the passing of time, the definition of beauty, and on the ephemeral and momentary. Her work provokes thoughts about a world increasingly virtual and polluted, with few places left untouched by humans. 

Find out more about the work of Rebecca Louise Law on the official Aarhus 2017 website.

 Absolutely nothing is wasted. It all goes into my archive. (Rebecca Louise Law)


Rebecca Louise Law is an Installation Artist based in East London, specialising in artworks made with natural materials, namely flora. Notable commissions include ‘The Flower Garden Display’d’, (The Garden Museum, London), ‘The Grecian Garden’ (Onassis Cultural Centre, Athens), ‘Outside In’ (Times Square, New York) and ‘The Beauty of Decay’ (Chandran Gallery, San Francisco). Law’s work has also been exhibited by Bo. Lee Gallery, Broadway Studio & Gallery and at sites such as the Royal Academy and the Victoria & Albert Museum.

Visit the official Rebecca Louise Law website


Ella Marchment

Ella Marchment is Artistic Director of Helios Collective and Director of Productions at Constella OperaBallet. She is currently part of the Steering Committee for Operatic Mass Actions in Aarhus, Denmark. Having worked on over one hundred opera and theatre productions throughout Europe and produced many events that span opera, ballet, musicals, comedy, club nights and installations, her directing credits are numerous. They include the International Opera Awards at The London Coliseum, Alexander Goehr’s Tryptich at Mariinsky II, an opera–ballet production of Stravinsky’s Renard, and an acclaimed international tour of Sir Peter Maxwell Davies’s Eight Songs For A Mad King, which was described by Opera Now as one of the best productions worldwide in 2014.

Ella's opera-play, Hathaway was shown at the Copenhagen Opera Festival, and An Evening With Lucian Freud, starring Cressida Bonas, was a sell-out in the West End. Ella is also co-founder of Theatre N16, a company that promotes new plays and opera adaptations. In 2016, she travelled to Denmark having been awarded the Artists International Development Fund by the British Council and Arts Council.

Ella is committed to solving problems regarding opera’s accessibility and is determined to create professional development opportunities for young artists. She particularly enjoys presenting opera with a twist. In 2015 she wrote and directed a play–opera adaptation of Wagner’s Die Meistersinger and also set up a series of Opera Club Nights in London. Her ability to think outside the box was recognised in 2015 with Ella becoming the first director to receive an International Opera Awards Foundation bursary. Building on this success, in 2016, International Opera Awards Foundation bursary was awarded to Helios Collective.  

Current and future engagements include directing Operatic Mass Actions at The International Living Theatre Festival in Aarhus,  Mad King Suibhne at Bury Court Opera, and a piece exploring the music of Austen's life at Grange Park Festival in September 2017. 


External links