Léonie Sonning Talent Prize 2017

Nordic String Quartet

Coffee brings the quartet together

According to the Nordic String Quartet, it is very important to strengthen the social interaction when a string quartet is going to work. That is why they drink a lot of coffee together.

The Nordic String Quartet always starts rehearsals with a cup of coffee.

It is important to feel comfortable together. We play chamber music, and the relation is essential, so we make sure to talk before rehearsing and during breaks, says the Swedish member of the quartet, Daniel Eklund. Therefore, we drink coffee and spend our breaks talking about concerts and the music.

The quartet has existed for many years, but the present form as the Nordic String Quartet has existed since 2013, and Lea joined on cello in 2016.

An active choice

It's hard work to make a quartet work, says Heiðrun Petersen from the Faroe Islands. And Mads Haugsted Hansen from Denmark continues: You must invest both energy and prioritise it.

The quartet's members are sitting in a sofa and take turn telling about the quartet's special qualities. All four of them have different engagements around the country and are busy playing with different orchestras. It is therefore often a logistical challenge to find time to play together: Daniel works in Sweden, Heiðrun in Copenhagen and Mads in Odense, while Lea is finishing her education in Copenhagen while freelancing. But they do find time to meet: You don't drop out of something to play with the quartet, Mads explains. You make an active choice. String quartets are some of the best music ever made.

Very passionate about chamber music

All four of us are very passionate about chamber music, and a quartet is almost like a marriage: We are still fairly newly-wed and it's great, says cellist Lea. Heiðrun adds: It's important that we are all at the same level, and that we prefer the same style. Slowly, we are creating a sound that is ours.

On stage, the quartet creates a common energy, and they feel that they “interact” when stepping into the spotlight.

We give everything we have, and we create powerful energy on stage, Daniel explains. We would like the audience to be able to hear that this is how the Nordic String Quartet sounds. Our sound has power, Mads adds.

The important question is whether the quartet would rather have received the Léonie Sonning scholarship as individuals? No way. It's much more fun to play chamber music than playing solo, so I would rather receive the scholarship as a quartet, Heiðrun says, and the other members agree.

The Nordic String Quartet

Heiðrun Petersen (FO) – Violin. Heiðrun Petersen was born and raised in Thorshavn, the Faroe Islands. She started playing the violin at the age of seven at Thorhavn's Music School under Sámal Petersen. Heidrun was taught by Johannes Søe Hansen and Professor Tim Frederiksen at the Royal Danish Academy of Music. In 2016, she won a trial period as Tutti First Violin with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra.

Mads Haugsted Hansen (DK) – Violin. Mads Haugsted Hansen started playing the violin at the age of four at Søndersø Music School. Before being admitted to the Royal Danish Academy of Music, he was taught by Boris Samsing. In recent years, Mads has assisted numerous symphony orchestras in Copenhagen and has had several contracts with, for instance, Copenhagen Phil and Odense Symphony Orchestra.


Daniel Eklund (SE) – Viola. Daniel Eklund was born and raised in Lund, Sweden and started playing the viola at the age of five. Admitted to the soloist class at the Royal Academy of Music where he has been taught by Professor Lars-Anders Tomter. Since 2013, Daniel Eklund has been employed as solo viola player with the Swedish Chamber Orchestra Musicae Vitae.

Lea Emilie Brøndal (DK) – Cello. Lea Emilie Brøndal was born and raised in Copenhagen and started playing the cello at the age of six at the Suzuki Institute. Before being admitted to the Royal Danish Academy of Music, she was taught by Nils Sylvest. Lea is finishing her education with Ingemar Brantelid. In 2016, Lea won the first prize in the internal scholarship competition for cellists of the Royal Academy of Music.

The Nordic String Quartet studies at the Royal Danish Academy of Music in the soloist class under Tim Frederiksen. Début in the autumn of 2017.

Scholarship

To be spent on training and a Nordic tour, which is being planned.