Highlighted projects


Ridehuset Swinger 2018:
Scandinavian Big Band Nights

The traditional “Ridehuset Swinger” during Aarhus Jazz Festival has for many years explored exotic jazz fusions. In 2018 however, the bigband returned to the harmonic and compelling Scandinavian tunes with music consisting of some of the greatest Scandinavian jazz classics of all time. Conductor: Jesper Riis (DK). Soloists: Mimi Terris (SE), Mads Mathias (DK) & Live Foyn Friis (NO).
The evening concerts presented an abundance of wellknown and beloved Scandinavian classics as well as a variety of tracks from the soloist’s own repertoires in brand-new big band arrangements. The four concert days of Ridehuset Swinger was beautifully accompanied by youth jazz jams, premiere of Jan Lynggaard Sørensen’s piece “Surroundings” for three international youth big bands, food marked, and day concerts featuring some of Denmark’s greatest jazz orchestras and artists.

Photo: Kim Song Sternkopf / @Heartmatter Artworks

Photo: Kim Song Sternkopf / @Heartmatter Artworks

Photo: Martin Dam Kristensen

Photo: Martin Dam Kristensen

Danse Macabre

Danse Macabre unites music, movies, pictures, light and animations in a lively interpretation of Death, as it was portraited in the art era around La Belle Epoque. By Signe Bisgaard and Laura Ratschau with Aarhus Jazz Orchestra.
Alongside electronic musician Bjørn Svin and celloist Ida Nørholm, the award-winning author and historian Søren Hein Rasmussen and an all-embracing digital scenography, the concert Danse Macabre sets new standards for artistic communication of knowledge and history. Newly composed music and breathtaking visuals show the playful and almost humoristic reflection of Death in the history of art and allure the audience on a peculiar and compelling dance with Death. Watch the video from the concert here.

,,Danse Macabre has by its duration of one hour stolen my attention. … If this was a dance of the dead, then let it – the dance and Death – last forever.'' VINK Aarhus

Photo: Hreinn Gudlaugsson

Photo: Hreinn Gudlaugsson

Sketches of Barcelona

❤️❤️❤️❤️ in Politiken
In the middle of the twirling streets and evocative neighborhoods of Barcelona music grows in the most multifarious expressions. In “Sketches of Barcelona”, two of the most magnificent jazz musicians of Barcelona, Cesar Joaniquet and Jorge Rossy, met, accompanied by Aarhus Jazz Orchestra – a musical meeting between two generations of musicians from the expressive Catalan jazz scene.

In Denmark, The Spanish multi-instrumentalist Jorge Rossy is most likely known for his work as the drummer in Brad Mehldau Trio. In “Sketches of Barcelona” the drums were exchanged by the vibraphone, as he joined the saxophonist in Aarhus Jazz Orchestra, Cesar Joaniquet. Cesar Joaniquet is an enormously interesting young musician with a great artistic potential and beautiful temperamental and equilibristic playing – an artist we will hear much more from in the years to come.
Watch the video from Sketches of Barcelona here.



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On Rosenhill

The award-winning composer Jakob Buchanan grew up in an apartment in the old block 23 in Rosenhøj, Aarhus during his early childhood. In this piece, he returns to his childhood home and invites voices from the area to become part of this new piece. It is a story about roots and childhood worlds, about everyday life and dreams behind the walls in the large apartment buildings.
Very different worlds meet in “On Rosenhill”, which united big band music, video art and voices of Rosenhill in a piece, that all together creates a tremendous insight into the universe of the tenements. “On Rosenhill” were enacted in collaboration with Aarhus Jazz Orchestra in September 2017, but an extract of the piece was already available for the audience at the official opening of Aarhus 2017 – European Capital of Culture in January 2017. Watch the video from the opening parade here.
The music from “On Rosenhill” is again to be experienced in 2018, where the piece is published.


Solar Walk

Great scientific thoughts and issues can be communicated I a variety of ways! In this project, five Aarhus based ensembles co-worked to present new music, which by encouraging preoccupation and thoughtfulness sought to illuminate some of the great questions of science.
Solar Walk is a big band symphony and visual performance about the solar system and the space conquest. Captivating animations, live jazz music and compelling poetry tell the story of our solar system and our role in it as humans. An artistic and fanciful journey into the science of nature and the universe. Solar Walk is a new musical work created by Niels Marthinsen and Susi Hyldgaard, with Hyldgaard on vocal, together with a brand-new animation movie by the award-winning animation movie maker Réka Bucsi. Watch the trailer for Solar Walk here.
Origins was presented in collaboration with Viborg Kommune and The Animation Workshop in Viborg, and was sponsored by Aarhus Kommune, Statens Kunstfond and Fonden Aarhus 2017.

Photo: Ole Udengaard

Photo: Ole Udengaard

Bollywood Beats & Big Band

The Indian raga and the western big band jazz are literally like fire and water if you listen to them separately. But when you combine them in the very same composition the genres melt together to create something entirely new, which both sounds exotic and yet still familiar.
By the exciting and quite exclusive project, the composer Lars Møller together with Aarhus Jazz Orchestra, the Danish Sinfonietta and two of the leading figures in the classical Indian music Kala Ramnath (violin) and Abhijit Banerjee (tabla) challenged the classic view on the possibilities and spans of jazz. By combining the traditional, Western big band format with the deeply rooted Indian music tradition, a new room for musical development across cultures and general music understanding is created.
Read more about the project and listen to the music at www.glowofbenares.dk

South African Big Band Nights

Once again, Aarhus Jazz Orchestra opened the doors of Ridehuset in Aarhus, and invited the audience of Aarhus Jazz Festival to join the big band for four spectacular days. The theme of this year’s Ridehuset Swinger was South African Big Band Nights, and the concerts combined both extraordinary big band music and stunning performing arts traditions of South Africa.
Ridehuset Swinger offered South African notes and wonderful street food and drinks by Kødbyens Mad & Marked and De Jyske Bryghuse. The arrangement consisted of several concerts and workshops during the day and the main evening attraction with Aarhus Jazz Orchestra featuring the South African vocal group iComplete, dancer Lulu Mlangeni and the award-winning saxophonist and composer Julian Argüelles. iComplete represent the traditional Isicathamiya style of singing, which has its origins from the South African Zulus, and which intense sound and polyphony indeed captures the essence of the South African culture.
Watch the video from South African Big Band Night here.

Photo: iComplete

Photo: iComplete

Photo: Kim Song Sternkopf / @Heartmatter Artworks

Photo: Kim Song Sternkopf / @Heartmatter Artworks

Vinterjazz 2017

Icelandic, Norwegian and North American jazz virtuosi changed Aarhus Jazz Orchestra into an enticing post-rock orchestra, when bass player Skúli Sverrisson, composer Helge Sunde and drummer Jim Black all joined the orchestra for the Vinterjazz Festival 2017.
The combination of these three exceptional musicians and composers together with the Aarhus based big band created a brand-new and exciting sound, expanding the perception of the classic big band format. An expression which led into the future and gave just as much reminiscence to post-rock as to jazz. Both Skúli Sverrisson (IS), Jim Black (US) and Helge Sunde (NO) have worked with this kind of modern sounds: Nordic melancholy, which bedazzles the listener. The concerts consisted of new compositions and arrangements by and with the three guests and therefore formed an entirely unique project which challenged the classic big band sound and brought brand-new dimensions to the music.



Photo: Hreinn Gudlaugsson

Photo: Hreinn Gudlaugsson

Vinterjazz 2016

Combine one of the greatest jazz guitarists with one of the most acknowledged big band conductors together with one of the leading Scandinavian big bands, and you end up with a crisp and tenderly made cocktail of luxury jazz of international leagues.
This was the cocktail available for the audience at the Vinterjazz Festival 2016. An excellent collaboration, where the Aarhus based big band was visited by one of the absolute greatest jazz guitarists, Kurt Rosenwinkel (US), and the acknowledged big band conductor Geir Lysne (NO). It was a very extraordinary fusion of some of the best artists of the international jazz world who took the stage and led the audience into a mesmerizing musical universe.
The orchestra was on a small concert tour with this project in Denmark, Norway and Sweden.

Foto: Per Bergmann

Foto: Per Bergmann

Flamenco Big Band Nights

During Aarhus Jazz Festival 2016, Aarhus Jazz Orchestra under the leadership of saxophonist and conductor Perico Sambeat presented a terrific team of the best flamenco musicians of Spain for the time-honored Ridehuset Swinger.
One of the best examples of the fruitful musical meeting between European and Arabic/Islamic culture is represented by the flamenco tradition. Perico Sambeat created such an extraordinary artistic big band project, where jazz and big band all together made a dramatical, expanded musical frame for the expressiveness of the flamenco musician and dancer.
In 2016, Aarhus Jazz Orchestra cooperated with Kødbyens Mad & Marked for the first time, and invited the guests to all sorts of culinary temptations during Ridehuset Swinger.
Watch the video from Flamenco Big Band Nights here.



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Brazilian Big Band Nights

Ridehuset Swinger 2015 was all about Latin rhythms and exotic big band interpretations, when the Brazilian drummer Marcio Bahia together with percussionist, composer and, not to forget, singer Joca Perpignan joined Aarhus Jazz Orchestras highly esteemed evening concerts.
The concerts offered a string of classic Brazilian hits arranged for a modern big band – and also music written by the Brazilian guests and the musicians from Aarhus Jazz Orchestra. The music varied from laid-back bossa nova coolness to the most rhythmic activating and dancing joy of life.
Ridehuset Swinger 2015 – Brazilian Big Band Nights additionally offered plenty of compelling day concerts.

Buchanan Requiem

The Danish composer and trumpet player Jakob Buchanan composed a tribute to the dead – and to life. A modern requiem for choir and orchestra, which involved Aarhus Cathedral’s Choir, Aarhus Jazz Orchestra and soloists Indra Rios-Moore, Marilyn Mazur, Jakob Bro and Jonas Westergaard.
A requiem is a mass offered for the repose of the souls of the deceased in Roman-Catholic tradition, and the intention of Jakob Buchanan was to create a requiem that, besides remembering the deceased, also invites us, the living, to reflect over both life and death.
Buchanan Requiem is specifically written to the involved singers and musicians he knows very well. He plays trumpet in Aarhus Jazz Orchestra, has previously recorded with Aarhus Cathedral’a Choir, has through many years recorded and toured with Jakob Bro and also produced Indra Rios-Moore’s first album in 2010.
Bichanan Requiem was released on album in 2015 and won to Danish Music Awards Jazz 2016 awards, “Danish Jazz Composer of the Year” and “Danish Album Release of the Year”.
Read more on www.buchananrequiem.com and www.buchanan.dk.
Watch a video from 2012, where the piece had its premiere, here.

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ReWrite of Spring

As the piece ReWrite of Spring was published in 2015, the praises from both national and international critics were overwhelming, and the piece was nominated for two prestigious prizes at the Danish Music Awards 2016 in the categories “Danish Jazz Composer of the Year” and “Danish Album Release of the Year”.
“Rewrite is a milestone in Danish jazz”. That was the judgement of the Danish newspaper Weekendavisen in 2015 over Lars Møller’s “ReWrite of Spring”, which is a tribute to Igor Stravinsky's “The Rite of Spring”/”Le Sacre du printemps”. This was the first large composition by Lars Møller for Aarhus Jazz Orchestra, where he possessed the title of artistic director from 2012 until 2015.
“ReWrite of Spring” is composed over the melodies and musical figures of Stravinsky. But even though the piece has its roots in both European and American orchestra tradition, “ReWrite of Spring” is an independent, artistic statement with innovative and personal big band sound. Or as the soloist David Liebman says: "This has to be some of the most exciting big band music ever—it had me jumping up and down!”
Read more and by the album on www.rewriteofspring.com