Léonie Sonning Talent Prize 2018

Anders Kann Elten

I focus intensely on the marimba

Anders grew up in Ribe. His parents played folk music and gave concerts at medieval markets with mora harp, hurdy-gurdy, violin and the like. Anders came along and was inspired to play himself.

In the music lessons in elementary school, he became fascinated with Carl Orff’s simple wooden instruments and asked his parents to continue his music lessons at the School of Culture in Esbjerg - the nearest place offering lessons in those instruments. However, already during the first lesson, he was introduced to the marimba - a larger and more complicated instrument. He soon forgot about the small wooden boxes and fell in love with the marimba.

After two years at MGK in Esbjerg, Anders was admitted to the Royal Danish Academy of Music in percussion instruments. Although he plays all forms of percussion, the marimba is his main focus. Anders has recently been admitted to the soloist class at the Royal Danish Academy of Music.

Each piece of music is a world in itself which you delve into - and I love that. The better I get at playing, the better I get at listening. This is my motivation on the personal level for continuing to play. I hunt for the optimal result, which it is probably never possible to achieve. I also search for a form of freedom in my career where I will be able to devote myself and be creative, says Anders Kann Elten.

He has chosen an instrument which does not give direct access to an orchestra seat or evident ensemble possibilities. Nor is it an instrument that is easily carried around. It weighs approx. 100 kg and is packed into seven bags. However, this does not prevent Anders from travelling with the instrument. Normally, he practices at home in a special sound-proof room which has been built in his living room. However, if he is going to visit his or his girlfriend’s parents in Jutland, he will bring the instrument along. Anders is quick to wrap the instrument together and assemble it.

As there is no direct career path for a marimba player, it is fortunate that Anders knows how to create one. He has a number of solo concerts which he has worked to obtain and performs with his duo, Copenhagen Marimba Duo.

In November, he brought the instrument on a cruise from Southampton to the Mediterranean where Anders was booked to play. 21 days at sea with several concerts on board. This is an example of Anders’ creativity in making a career with his instrument.

Anders Kann Elten, the Marimba, in brief

Born 1989 in Ribe. Anders went to music school and MGK at the Esbjerg School of Culture before being admitted to the Royal Danish Academy of Music in 2010. In contrast to other percussionists, Anders is focusing almost exclusively on the marimba. He has his own instrument, which he can assemble in 30 minutes.

Anders attends the soloist class at the Royal Academy of Music where he also gives marimba lessons. In addition, he works together with the recognised Danish percussionist, Mathias Reumert, in the new ensemble “Copenhagen Marimba Duo”. They plan to publish a CD with music by Ravel and Manury in 2018.

How Anders will use the scholarship from the Léonie Sonning Music Foundation

The marimba field is still developing and new techniques are discovered constantly all over the world, increasing not only the technical potential for marimba players, but also expanding the expressive limits of the instruments. Anders will use the scholarship to obtain the significant specialist knowledge within the marimba field by visiting and taking lessons with the most interesting and prominent marimba players all over the world.