On Wednesday 5th June we welcome David Bendix Nielsen from Denmark for our sixth organ recital of the 2024 summer season. In this edition of ‘Notes from an Organist’ we discover more about them, and what to expect from their recital, including his focus on César Franck; founding a visual concert series; and how music differs in different countries.

Could you introduce yourself, how you got into music / become an organist and your musical journey to where you are today?
Music played a big role in my childhood, my mom raised me and my 3 siblings in Hungary, and being a great enjoyer of classical music, she started going to concerts with us very early on. One of these was an organ recital, where – as my mom recalls – I expressed my admiration for the immersive sound of the organ, and asked if I can learn to play it. I started with piano lessons at age 7, and later the organ followed, which has been my life ever since.

What can people expect from your recital at Bradford Cathedral?
I hope to explore the many sounds the great organ at Bradford Cathedral has to offer, and introduce the audience to some of the organ literature’s greatest works – new and old.

Why do you enjoy playing the organ?
There are so many wonderful aspects to playing the organ, but probably the most exciting is the constant sonic variety and possibilities. No two organs are alike, and whenever you play a different instrument, a new world opens up itself – it never gets boring whatsoever.

Do you have a particular favourite piece out of those you are playing?
The pieces for this program are all very dear to me, perhaps I can highlight Bach´s great Fantasia and Fugue in g-minor, the opening piece for the recital. I learnt this piece very early on in high school, and haven’t played it since – this year is the first time I put it on my program again, so it feels very nostalgic to me.

This season’s theme is ‘The French Connection (Post-Revolution France)’. How are you reflecting this in your programme?
The recital is very much on theme, with 3 French pieces, chronologically starting out with César Franck (1822-1890), who was instrumental in revitalizing the French organ music after the revolution. I will also be presenting a contemporary piece by the acclaimed French organist and composer Jean-Baptiste Robin (born 1976).

What are your hopes or plans musically for 2024?
This year I am focusing on the music of César Franck, and I hope to present more recitals in the fall with his pieces. I am also working on new concepts for my visual concert series, OrganDreams.

You were raised in Hungary. How does the music there compare to Denmark and/or the UK?
I have been very fortunate with my musical education in Hungary, where music education in primary school is very important and at a high level, so you get a very good start. It is also a cultural scene with a lot of history and traditions, and perhaps in Denmark I feel there is more space for experimental concepts. I however really enjoy the audience in the UK, where
I feel there is a well educated and generous audience for recitals.

You received the ‘Young Cultural Elite scholarship’ from the Danish Arts Foundation – what was it like to be awarded that?
This was a great blessing, and something I feel very proud about. The scholarship is awarded to only 12-15 recipients every year, across all artistic genres! It is a two-year scholarship, and because of it I have had the opportunity to further educate myself during 2022-23, and experience the organ scene in far away places such as Japan and the United States.

You founded ‘OrganDreams’ – could you tell us a little about that?
OrganDreams was an experimental project I started in 2021, to bring different artistic genres together, and narrate organ recitals through visual arts. This has grown into several exciting concert projects, working with ballet dancers, light designers and other artists. This year I will present another concept in the fall – with improvised dance and early abstract films. I
also hope to bring these concerts to different venues in the future.

Finally, how would you sum up your upcoming recital at Bradford Cathedral?
I would say the music for the recital is very immersive and showcases both intense andplayful elements of the organ. I hope the audience will enjoy it.

You can join us on Wednesday 5th June at 1pm to hear David’s organ recital, with an optional £4 buffet lunch beforehand at 12:30pm. You can find out more about him on his website.

You can discover more about our organ recital season on our dedicated page.

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