Bent Lorentzen

1935 - 2018



Bent Lorentzen studied at Aarhus University and at the Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen with Finn Høffding and Vagn Holmboe, exponents of the post-Nielsen Danish tradition of the 1950s. In contrast to his Danish colleagues who became involved in the New Simplicity movement of the 1960s, Lorentzen embraced the complexity of the avant-garde, using serialism and formal systems to expressive effect, and adding live performance elements to combat the dryness of purely electronic music. By coaxing new sounds out of traditional instruments and exploiting the huge expressive scope of the human voice, Lorentzen creates a ‘sonic’ music, which places the emphasis on sound rather than structure.

Critical Acclaim

...As a genuine homoludens Lorentzen works with a curiously wonder combined with a constructivegift and a solid knowledge about the materials – and about their inexhaustibleoptions – Lars Ole Bonde, Komponistforeningen

...Lorentzen's music is illustrative, like a cartoon reaching deeper layers. You are amused right from the beginning - John Christiansen, Jyllandsposten

...Bent Lorentzen has been called a popular avant-garde artist - a title he gladely acknowledges. his large-scale production contains both advanced twelve-tone music, and musical dramatic works -Dorte Washuus, Kristeligt Dagblad

Bent Lorentzen is a composer who to a rareextent – and regardless of the genre – is interested in the interplay betweenthe music and the listener, regardless of the precondition of the latter – Lars Ole Bonde, Komponistforeningen


Bent Lorentzen was born 1935 and studied musicology at the university in Aarhus and at the Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen. He is pupil of Knud Jeppesen, Finn Høffding, Vagn Holmboe and Jörgen Jersild. Efter his final examination he taught at the Academy of Music in Aarhus for some years. Bent Lorentzen occupies a special position in modern Danish composition music. His point of departure was the Danish tradition of the 1950s (his teachers included Vagn Holmboe and Finn Høffding). 

However, he quickly left this period behind. In the sixties electronic music inspired his creativity to take new paths, and since then innumerable other composition techniques have exerted an influence. Bent Lorentzen’s music is often characterized as "sonic", meaning that it has the actual sounds - the experience of sonority and materiality at its centre. 

Bent Lorentzen has composed in well nigh all genres. His orchestral music includes Concertos for Oboe (1980), Cello (1984), Piano (1984), Saxophone (1986), Trumpet (1991) and Violin (2001); his chamber music comprises solo works for organ, piano, trumpet, saxophone, clarinet, guitar, violin, cello and double-bass, as well as string quartets and works with mixed ensembles (2-12 instruments). His choral music consists of a wealth of works in a special theatrical style. To these we can add electronic music and instrumental theatre works. Bent Lorentzen has probably had most significance as a music dramatist with fourteen operas so far, many of which have been staged abroad.



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