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  • Born

    11 February 1935

  • Died

    3 October 2018 (aged 83)

Bent Lorentzen (11 February 1935 – 3 October 2018) was a Danish composer. He was one of the outstanding figures in contemporary Danish music. His works are frequently performed at festivals at home and abroad, and he has established particularly close links with musical life in Poland and Germany. He has been honoured with several international prizes and was named Choral Composer of the Year in Denmark in 1989.

Bent Lorentzen was born in Stenvad, a village on Djursland, East Jutland. He studied musicology at the university in Aarhus and at the Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen. He was a pupil of Knud Jeppesen, Finn Høffding, Vagn Holmboe and Jørgen Jersild. After his final examination he taught at the Academies of Music in Aarhus and Copenhagen for several years.

Lorentzen was one of the earliest pioneers in the field of Danish electronic music (The Bottomless Pit in 1972 for the Nordic Music Days in Oslo, and Visions 1978), which was also introduced with an educational aim: the LP Elektronmusikkens materiale and the LP Water – electronic music for children, 1968.

Lorentzen's 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). He also composed numerous choral works in a unique dramatic style. Lorentzen's most important part of his works, however, are his operas and other works for the stage. His last opera Der Steppenwolf (Libretto after Hermann Hesse's novel by Michael Leinert) was first performed in Aarhus 2016 in a semi-concert version.

Lorentzen has held a number of important posts in different organisations in the Danish musical life, and he was the artistic director of the Ebeltoft Festival 1990-93. He was a prizewinner at several foreign competitions such as the Prix Italia in 1970 (for the opera Euridice), the Serocki composers’ competition in 1984 (for the chamber work Paradiesvogel), the International Competition for Choir Compositions in Austria 1987 (for Olof Palme), the Olivier Messiaen Organ Prize in 1988 (for Luna), Vienna Modern Masters in 1991 (for the Piano Concerto) and the Music and Poetry Prize in Belgium in 1989 (for Enzensberger’s Prozession). He was awarded ”Danish Choir Composer of the year” in 1990 and the Carl Nielsen Prize in 1995 and in 2003 the Wilhelm Hansen Composer Prize.Since 1982 Lorentzen has received the lifelong grant of the Danish Art Council.

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