Thursday, May 6, 2021

When the cellos play, the cows come home


LUND, Denmark – During a recent performance of Tchikowski’s “Pezzo Nuchesioso”, a handful of audience members carefully leaned forward, brightening their eyes, evading some encouraging snuffles from the otherwise hushter parterre. Although new to classical music, they seemed closely on stage to the eight cellists, raising their heads abruptly as the stern strains of the piece gave way to rapid-fire bo strokes.

When it was over, a single, appreciative mue could be heard, amidst the loud applause and cries of “Bravo”.

On Sunday, in Lund, a village about 50 miles south of Copenhagen, a group of elite cellists played two concerts for both some music-loving cows and their human counterparts. The culmination of a collaboration between two local cattle farmers, Mogens and Louise Haugaard, and Jacob Schau, founder of the nearby Scandinavian Cello School, the concert was intended to attract some attention from the school and young musicians. But to do justice to the reaction of both and four-legged attendees, it also demonstrated how popular an initiative that brought cultural life to rural areas.

Until a few years ago, the 32-year-old, Shaw, who was born in Britain, toured the world as a solo cellist, performing in sacred venues including Carnegie Hall and the Guangzhou Opera House. When he moved to Stevens (the large municipality that houses the Lunds) and opened the Scandinavian cello school, he soon discovered that his neighbor, Haugaard, who raises herdford cows, was also a classical music lover. In fact Mogens, who is also the former mayor of Stevens, sits on the board of the Copenhagen Philharmonic Orchestra.

When the cellist, who visited Japan, told the farmer how the country’s well-known dearly cows were raised to produce tender beef, he encouraged the Mogens to adopt a component of their own cattle rearing Not convinced.

Starting in November 2020, a boom box playing Mozart and other classical music in the Haggard barn has bathed the cows daily. About once a week, Shaw and any students in residence come to perform live.

Although it is unclear whether their new listening habits have affected the quality of the cows’ flesh, Farmer said the animals run whenever the musicians show up, and get as close as possible while playing.

“Classical music is great for humans,” said Hugard. “It helps us relax, and cows can tell if we’re resting or not. It makes sense that this would make them feel good too. “

However, this is not always good for the performing public. Shaw said he founded the Scandinavian Cello School to help budding musicians prepare for the less glamorous demands of a professional career in an industry that can sometimes chew on young artists in their constant quest for the next big thing Huh.

While touring internationally as a self-managed artist, he grew tired of grinding negotiated contracts, to promote himself, himself and tireless travel. That experience – coupled with a stent as a professor at a prestigious music academy in Barcelona – made him realize that there was a hole that needed to be filled.

“I kept seeing brilliant young talent who just weren’t being given the tools to get out of there,” Shaw said. They may have excellent teachers to work with on the music itself, but what they were missing was “extra help,” he said, in areas such as booking concerts, preparing for competitions and handling social media. In.

In its original incarnation, the Scandinavian cello school was a program – more a travel boot camp than an academy. But in 2018, Shaw and his girlfriend, violinist Karen Johan Pedersen, bought a farmhouse in Stevens and turned it into a permanent base for the school. Its students, who come from all over the world and are mostly aged between 17 and 25, live for short-term residencies at which they acquire their music as well as vocational skills – including a work-life balance Receiving is also included.

That place helps. Located less than half a mile from the sea, the school offers visiting musicians the opportunity to plant botanical gardens, bait in the surrounding woods, fish for dinner, or relax in an area far from the city.

The atmosphere is part of the time that attracted 23-year-old American cellist Johannes Gray, currently living in Paris, who won the prestigious Pablo Casals International Award in 2018. Gray initially visited the Scandinavian cello school in 2019, and then returned. The school’s first post-pandemic intake was attracted by both career development opportunities and leisure activities.

“Jacob is advising me to make a program and basically give me a package to make it more interesting,” Gray said. “But we are both having extreme food too, and we love cooking, so after a long day of practice, we can go out and fish, or plan this huge feast. It is not just about the music. “

As much as musicians benefit from the environment, the agricultural sector benefits mainly from the small influx of international artists. The school receives some financial support from local government and businesses. In return, visiting musicians – seven have come to the current residence – perform at schools and care facilities in the area. And they play for cows.

Due to coronavirus restrictions, two concerts were held on Sundays, and human attendance was limited to 35 for each. ‘Beef was the Danish Culture Minister Joey Mogensen, who said it was the first live concert he had attended in six months.

“I’ve seen a lot of creativity in the last months,” she said in an interview. “But digital is not the only one. I hope this is a lesson that we take from Corona, we all – even cows – remember being together for cultural events.

Both species were enjoying themselves in attendance. Before the concert, the cows were scattered across the grounds, chewing grass in the scorching sun and raising their newborn calves. But as musicians, wearing formal robes, took their seats on the Haight-Streven stage, and began the dramatic opening strips of Danish composer Jacob Gade’s “Jalousie (Tango Tzigen)”, the cows crowded to the fence Which set them apart. From the human audience, and mocked for the situation.

After an event involving the arrangement of Lisquet’s “Hungarian Rhapsody” and the crowded encounter of ‘sdith Piaf’s “Hayne de l’Amore”, the musicians were mesmerized by their humans as their animals .

“It’s playing really well for the cows,” Gray said. “We saw it in rehearsal – they really fall on you. And they have their priorities. Did you see how they all survived at one point? They are not really Dvorak fans. “



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