Karsten Fundal

b. 1966



For Karsten Fundal, no single style of music is preferable to another; he is interested in the fundamental concept of music which can result in almost anything in stylistic terms. The crucial point for him is for the composer to remain true to his ideas.

Fundal was born in 1966 in Valby, Denmark, and studied composition with Hans Abrahamsen, Ib Nørholm, Per Nørgård and Karl Aage Rasmussen. He went on to study for two years in Holland with Louis Andriessen. A meeting with Nigel Osborne and most significantly with Morton Feldman  at Dartington in 1986 had a great impact on Fundal’s compositional development.

His main works include mostly chamber music and orchestra pieces, among them the breakthrough Ballad (1988) and the classicist piano concerto Liquid Motion (1993). Among larger works are the concert for percussion, Ritornelli in contrario (1997), the grand orchestral pieces Hush (2003-2004) and Entropia (1997-2001) – the latter a portrayal of the creation of the universe – and the orchestral installation Liquid Rooms (2013).

Besides his works for the concert hall, Fundal has written and arranged music for several Danish and international movies, for instance Flame and Citron, and he has collaborated with leading Danish pop artists. 

He received Wilhelm Hansen Composer Award in 1994 and the Prize of the Danish Composers’Society in 1995.
Critical Acclaim
...Fundal's music seems easily approachable, even though it does not strive to be so - John Christiansen, Jyllandsposten

...[Fundal's edt.] music is not based on the works of grand old composers, but builds on the 20th century new music perception, as it was expressed in the works of particular Feldman, Andriessen and Xenakis - Nordjyske Stiftstidende


Artistic creation and lived life go together like Siamese twins for Karsten Fundal (b. 1966). If the one doesn’t function, the other becomes weakened and inactive. For Fundal this means being on top of things, and thus establishing proper relations with the surrounding world just as much as cultivating his artistic career. It’s about balance in life and in art, in the final analysis also about forming part of a meaningful social context, about establishing a kind of humanity and being something – for others as well as oneself. So when you consider Fundal’s music you also have to consider what exists alongside the art – all that in the end is the precondition for the art to be manifested in the form of musical expression. 

Karsten Fundal has studied composition with Hans Abrahamsen and Ib Nørholm, Karl Aage Rasmussen and Per Nørgård. A meeting with Nigel Osborne and (especially) Morton Feldman in 1986 at Dartington took on great importance for Fundal’s development as a composer, and in the years 1987-88 he studied composition with Louis Andriessen in Holland. 

Among the most important of his other works we find the violin concerto "Floating Lines – Broken Mirrors" (1995-1996), the percussion concerto Ritornello al Contrario (1996-1997) and the ensemble work written for the Cikada Ensemble, Circadian Pulse (2002-2003). Then there are the four works in the Moebius series and of course the orchestral works Entropia (1997-2001) for soloists, choir and large orchestra – written for the Danish National Symphony Orchestra/DR – and the orchestral work Hush (2003-2004). 

In recent years Karsten Fundal has had the pleasure of seeing a rapidly increasing interest in his music, which has led to a large number of commissions for new works, and has gradually won him a place as one of the major composers of his generation. Fundal’s unmistakable talent has also evoked a response in the film world where, after great success with the music for the Dreyer film Mikaël (2003), premiered live with the Copenhagen Philharmonic, he wrote the music for Nikolaj Østergaard’s Robert-award-winning documentary Om Tro (Short Film About Faith) (Nordisk Film 2005). 

Most recently Fundal has completed the work on the music for the epic film Flammen & Citronen ("Flame and Citron") directed by Ole Christian Madsen (Nimbus Film 2008). It is an impressive and wide-ranging score for the most expensive movie ever produced in Denmark. 

Karsten Fundal has been awarded the Wilhelm Hansen Composer’s Prize 1994, the Prize of the Danish Composers’ Society 1995, the Hvass Foundation’s Artist’s Grant 1995, the Queen Ingrid Memorial Grant 2005 and the Carl Nielsen Prize 2005. In 2005 he received the three-year grant of the Danish National Arts Foundation to develop a major music film project about globalization. For the music for Peter Schønau Fog’s feature film Kunsten At Græde i Kor (2007) ("The Art of Crying") Fundal won a Robert for best score and has thus won a place as the most important composer in Danish film for many years. 



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