Léonie Sonning Talent Prize 2019

Victor Koch Jensen

Santa Claus started the trumpeter's career

Victor Koch Jensen does not just come from a home with music, but from a home filled with woodwind instruments. Both parents are clarinettists, and Victor’s brother is a bassoonist with the Royal Danish Orchestra. He could therefore appear somewhat like the family’s black sheep as he fell in love with a brass instrument.

But it is actually Santa Claus’ fault as Santa gave Victor an old cornet when he was two - sealing Victor’s destiny. Later on, Victor joined the Tivoli Youth Guard as cornettist.

After a brief visit at Sankt Annæ Gymnasium, Victor was admitted to the Royal Danish Academy of Music. At that time, he had already played with the European Union Youth Orchestra for one year. He passed through the eye of a needle to the pan-European music cooperation among 3,000-4,000 applicants; all young music talents between the age of 16-26 auditioning for a seat with the popular symphony orchestra.

Great pressure with Mahler

The European Union Youth Orchestra has given Victor his greatest musical experiences and best friendships. The Orchestra meets once or twice each year and tours the whole world for 4-6 weeks with major symphonic programmes and the world’s best conductors. For instance, Victor has played the initial trumpet solo of Mahler's Symphony no. 5.

“That was truly a magical and maturing moment for me”. This is Victor’s description of the responsibility that rested on his shoulders when he, at 19, had to begin the famous composition vis-á-vis the Italian star conductor Gianandrea Noseda. The pressure did not lift when Victor became responsible for deciding when it was to begin. Noseda simply gave him a piercing look, and it was then up to Victor to take it from there. “He doesn’t even bother to conduct the opening, he just stands there waiting for him to start the orchestra!”

This experience is a good example of why it is important to be more nervous when you play in an orchestra than when you are alone on stage. When playing in an orchestra, you have a responsibility to the conductor, a lot of other musicians and the total performance which has to be perfect. As a soloist, the only responsibility is to the composition and your own interpretation. Having played with the European Union Youth Orchestra for eight years, Victor now has wide orchestra experience.

Victor Koch Jensen in brief

Born in 1994.
Raised in Vanløse with parents both playing the clarinet and a brother playing the bassoon.
He first played the flute, then the cornet when joining the Tivoli Youth Guard from the age of 8 to 15.
Attended Sankt Annæ Gymnasium for almost six months, before he was admitted to the Royal Danish Academy of Music from where he got his bachelor's degree, and he then studied at the soloist class as trumpeter.
He has played with the European Union Youth Orchestra since 2010 and with various chamber and symphony orchestras since 2014, most recently as 1st trumpet with Odense Symphony Orchestra.

The scholarship from the Léonie Sonning Music Foundation

Victor will spend the scholarship from the Léonie Sonning Music Foundation on the Piccolo trumpet he has always wanted.