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Hans Abrahamsen

Leading European Composers


Music Room

Tickets are $30, $15 for members and students with ID; museum admission for that day is included.

image for 2014-11-23-lec-denmark

About the Composer

Hans Abrahamsen (b. 1952, Copenhagen) is one of the most idiomatic composers to emerge in Denmark in recent years.For a period he was a member of the Group for Alternative Music, which sought to free new music from the restrictive and inhibiting environment of the traditional concert hall.

The radical simplicity of his early work led to his being identified with the New Simplicity movement as he reacted to the complexities of the European musical avant-garde. Much of his work is structured by serial elements within which Abrahamsen allows various creative freedoms to flourish.

As his style has developed, his compositions have exhibited an almost romantic character and have grown more personal, original, and distinctive. His music has been described as imaginative, lyrical, lucid, clean, intelligent, spiritual, and magical. Among many honors, he has received the Carl Nielsen and Anne Marie Carl-Nielsens Hæderspris and the Wilhelm Hansen Prize.

Abrahamsen has selected the JACK Quartet, champions of his music, to present a complete cycle of his string quartets.


Hans Abrahamsen
String Quartet No.1, ‘10 Preludes for String Quartet’ (1973) 
String Quartet No. 2 (1981)
String Quartet No. 3 (2008)
String Quartet No. 4 (2012)

In collaboration with the Embassy of Denmark in Washington, DC.

About Leading European Composers

In 2009, European embassies in Washington, DC, and The Phillips Collection joined forces to create an unprecedented concert series, Leading European Composers. Presenting some of the greatest living composers of our time, this series is unique in that the composers introduce their works with performers they select. The series is cosponsored by The George Washington University, who joined the partnership in 2013, enriching the series with educational programing including master classes, lectures, and panel discussions with each composer.

Past composers have included Kaija Saariaho from Finland, Matthias Pintsher from Germany, Michel van der Aa from the Netherlands, and the eminent Arvo Pärt from Estonia.