Comments from participants
Edward F. Sundra (clarinetist 2015):
Thy was an absolutely incredible experience, and I would highly recommend it to advanced pre-professionals looking to participate in a serious chamber music workshop. I was lucky enough to have arrived with a pre-formed woodwind quintet; we worked and performed throughout the year in preparation for the festival. As we arrived at Aalborg and were warmly greeted by Craig and other coordinators, we knew that our stay in beautiful Bakkegaarden would be a truly memorable one.
The festival's two weeks flew by quickly, with plenty of rehearsals, performances, and recreational activities to last through Denmark's long summer days-all enjoyed in some of the friendliest company I've ever experienced at any single festival. What could be more rewarding than a day of productive rehearsals followed by biking on picturesque country roads, the swift, costal winds propelling you past golden fields of rye?
One thing that I found really beneficial as a growing musician was the amount of teacher-student collaboration at the festival. During our first concert, I had the pleasure of performing with Daniel Blumenthal, who was as inspiring and brilliant as he was down-to-earth and warm-hearted. In addition, Craig was a wonderful coach and mentor, and there is no doubt in my mind that I will apply his teachings to my own future playing, as well as pass them down to my students.
I think above everything-the performances, the learning, and the activities, the most amazing thing about Thy was the many hard-working volunteers who made sure everyone was well-fed and cared for. I know this sounds downright humorous, but I have never had such good food at a single festival in my life (and yes it does make a big difference!). Thanks to the incredibly supportive environment, I was able to focus solely on music making and enjoying my time in Thy.
Ivana Jasova (violinist 2012):
The Thy Chamber Music Festival was a truly wonderful experience and I feel very honored that I was chosen to be on the 2012 team. I learned a lot from my professors and also enjoyed learning from my colleagues and was able to communicate with all through music. It was the perfect artistic environment a musician could ask for. A special thanks to Aase, who was incredibly caring and who helped me with all the logistics. The kindness of the volunteers touched my heart and inspired me to work harder. The fact that they put so much of their time providing us with the outmost luxury means a lot to me. It is a beautiful act of human kindness that will remind me to keep my path as a musician. And finally for the professors: your kindness will never be forgotten. Thank you for being so inspiring, wonderful and for making me feel like I am a professional, even though I have quite a bit of work left to reach your level. Thank You for your generous music and your wit. I think I speak on behalf of all participants, when I say you made the festival a truly memorable experience for us. I miss you already and hope you will consider me for next years team.
Jacob Shaw (cellist 2011):
It was an inspirational experience once again this summer at Thy Chamber Music Festival. Coming up to northern Denmark directly from the Lockenhaus Kammermusik Festival of Gideon Kremer meant a chance for me to continue playing great chamber music with fantastic musicians, not to mention the wonderful atmosphere and meeting some of the finest young players in Europe.
Suyeon Kang (violinist 2011):
Violinist and writer Catherine Drinker Bowen captures the essence of chamber music perfectly when she describes it as a conversation between friends.
As a person who is not incredibly adept at putting my thoughts into words, it is the easiest way for me to express myself through music. It is always a joy when unsaid things can be communicated to others through chamber music, simply by listening, giving and taking... Thy Chamber Music Festival provides the opportunity for musicians from all over the world do just that- to have the greatest conversations between friends and faculty by playing wonderful music together, in a most delightful environment. It is not easy sticking wildly different characters from different cultural and musical backgrounds into a group and making them communicate: but the rewarding part of it is the two-week journey making that special thing called a ''compromise'' possible, and to come out of the two weeks having learnt something invaluable from this particular process.
What also remains are the long-lasting friendships, the smiles, the joyful after-concert meals, the occasional unforgettable funny moment, the warm and friendly atmosphere...all of which will never leave one's memory. A round of applause to the fantastic organisers, the wonderful faculty and volunteers and the appreciative Danish audiences, who invest so much of their time and energy making the Thy Chamber Music Festival what it is: such a worthwhile place to be !
Carl-Oscar Østerlind (cellist 2011):
I really enjoyed meeting so many wonderful musicians in Thy. We worked in an inspiring, friendly and warm atmosphere and I believe that I learned a lot from the different players. Working with professor Mate Szücs was of great value; his very clear and convincing approach to the Mozart-style made us play in new ways and I absolutely got extra colors to my expression palette. Dealing with social matters of different chamber groups was also a challenge that I certainly have learned from. The concerts were held in various beautiful venues, always with a very enthusiastic audience. It made me very happy that chamber music is so highly appreciated in this rather remote part of Denmark.
The festival is extremely well-organized; I never had a doubt about any practical issues. Bakkegaardens facilities and the extraordinary help from the volunteers made it the perfect setting for a two weeks time in Thy Chamber Music Universe. I hope to get the chance to be a part of it again next year.
Reenat Pinchas (cellist 2010):
I wanted to thank you so much for the opportunity to attend Thy Chamber Music Festival. From the high level of talent of all the participants, to the amazing faculty, to the incredibly sweet volunteers, Thy Chamber Music Festival is truly a special place. Playing alongside the faculty members is a wonderful experience which I enjoyed immensely. Despite our long days rehearsing, playing all the concerts and feeling the audience reception was so rewarding. I'm sure we all feel the struggles in our everyday lives as musicians, but that all goes away at the Thy Chamber Music Festival. Here, you can create incredible music with incredible people just for the pure love and joy of it. I learned so much and left home very inspired. Thy Chamber Music Festival is a special gem of a festival in beautiful surroundings with even more beautiful people.
A special thank you to all the volunteers who are some of the nicest people I have ever met. From the food, to the rides, to the bikes, to the many questions we had and the advice they gave us, they attended to every need we had. I can't imagine the festival without them!
Suyeon Kang (violinist 2010):
It is hard to imagine that one would feel so energetic after two intense weeks of music-making. There are times when musicians hobble out of one orchestral rehearsal looking like they would never like to see a sheet of music ever again. These two weeks have proved to be the very opposite... Thy Chamber Music Festival has been one of the highlights of my life- what an extraordinary place, high calibre of music-making, wonderful faculty and warm-hearted people. It is a place where one feels growth both musically and humanly in the short space of two weeks... Many heartfelt thanks to all who have contributed to making it such a fantastic time!
Sean Wang (violinist 2009):
At Thy Chamber Music Festival one has the rare opportunity to make great music with exceptional performers in environmentally pristine Nordic surroundings; the diverse repertoire that includes infrequently played first-rate works, professionalism of the musicians, and remarkable cordiality of the host make attending the festival a memorable and artistically rewarding experience.
Sybil Shanahan (cellist 2007):
Who wouldn't want to go to Thy! The high level of musicianship, challenging repertoire and many performance opportunities made it a musically very satisfying experience. The caring organisational team, great food and international participants made it fun! Every detail was taken care of, leaving participants free to focus on our music- and to enjoy the natural beauty of the region. The concerts were always well attended, and participants were allowed a glimpse into the life of a professional chamber musician. We worked intensely, but also learned and enjoyed a lot. If invited back, I will definitely come back to Thy, likewise, I recommend other chamber music lovers to go and pass two wonderful weeks there.
Luke Fleming (violist 2007):
When I received my letter of acceptance to the Thy Chamber Music Festival Kammermusikfestival, it followed the splitting up of my string quartet and the subsequent gaping hole in my summer plans. This allowed me to actually consider attending this festival I had never heard of that was so far away. Being a little apprehensive of committing to the festival for this very reason, I asked the Director of Chamber Music at Juilliard (from whom I had gotten the brochure and application) if she knew anything about the festival and if she recommended attending. She confessed that she knew absolutely nothing about the festival but that she was an old colleague (and also a fellow flautist) of the director, Craig Goodman. Her words were, "Anything Craig does is going to be good." So I took this vague but convincing praise on good faith, packed my bags, and headed to Jutland, the north westernmost point in Denmark, and found myself pleasantly surprised at a lot of the things I saw and heard.
The level of players at the festival was very high, and I enjoyed working with all the participants very much. The atmosphere was ideal for music-making, with beautiful weather, relaxing, pastoral surroundings, comfortable accommodations, and a great attitude from all the participants, something so important and so seldom seen at even the most well-known festivals in the world. Working with the faculty not only as coaches but also as fellow chamber musicians was something I had already experienced at other festivals, but never in so natural and unimposing a way as in Thy. The faculty almost always acted as our musical equals, not expecting us to value their opinions any higher than those of another student, and this was indicative not only of the great musical integrity of the faculty, but also of their great humility.
The venues in which we reformed were as varied as the national origins of the participants, and almost all pieces were allowed multiple performances, an aspect almost never present in other festivals and incredibly helpful in allowing groups' performances of pieces to naturally grow and develop. I can say, without a doubt, that I will return this summer, looking forward to intense rehearsals coupled with relaxing bike rides and beach trips, exhilarating concerts coupled with poker games and ultimate frisbee, and above all great friends. And great food (I forgot to mention how good the food is). Thy Chamber Music Festival is the essence of a "working vacation."
Ágnes Mandulás (cellist 2006):
The Thy Chamber Music Festival is a very good opportunity to perform music in a very high quality. It was my best two weeks last summer. I enjoyed working together with interesting people from different countries. I was trilled to get to know some contemporary Scandinavian music and the standard repertoire of chamber music as well. The Festivals organisation is extreemely good. Everything worked perfectly. And I will never forget the beautiful Danish landscape and sea.
Silvia Langaverova (cellist 2005):
Last year in February I found a poster about the Thy Chamber Music Festival in the Conservatory of Lugano, where I am studying. As I am very interested in chamber music I immediately checked the web site. I was very impressed by the repertory and the beautiful location, so I read all the information very carefully. After that I felt a very strong desire to participate and forwarded my application. The day of arrival was full of expectation and already during my first contact with the people from the working group I felt the very warm and friendly atmosphere.
The three points that I appreciated the most during my stay are: 1. Participants and professors worked together in the chamber music groups. 2. We had many concerts 3. The whole organisation and the people of the working group were marvellous.
From my experiences it is very rare for students to share stage performances with their professors. Usually I am only guided by the professors, but here in Thy I experienced that the level of working intensity is a lot higher, when you rehearse and perform with your teacher. The working atmosphere was very intense and efficient and I had a unique chance to see and learn, how my teacher (Elisabeth Zeuthen Schneider) worked to prepare the concert performance. We had approximately 10 concerts in two weeks. I could observe in my group and also in the other groups, how the feeling was different after each concert. Having the possibility to repeat a program in a later concert gave us the chance to correct and mature our performance and this made us feel more secure.
The third point I would like to mention is the efforts of the people from working group. Thanks to them we had perfect conditions for concert preparation. Every time we needed something they were very kind to help us. I was very impressed by their work as volunteers and in a subtle way this gave me even more inspiration for playing. It really became clear to me, how people working in the background to make all things work can have a very strong and positive influence on the atmosphere of the whole festival. These are some of my impressions from the two weeks I stayed in Thy and I know for sure that they will stay inside me forever.
Sofie Hjort (violinist 2005):
I participated at the Thy Chamber Music Festival from 21 August till 4 September 2005. Today, one month later, I am still standing here, hat in hand. Deeply impressed that all I had to do was to go to Northern Jutland to not only be taught by but also to play concerts together with famous national an international musicians. In sceptical expectation that the rails might end "in the middle of nowhere" I took off from Copenhagen. The rails took me to the village of Bedsted, not far from the North Sea. A most impressive sight for both the foreign participants and myself, who had so far experienced lakes and canals and not the rough and impressive sea. At the railway station in Bedsted we were picked up by a cortège of cars that would over the next two weeks take us to all the events, concerts and excursions that we were to attend during our two weeks' stay. At Morup Mølle Kro (inn and hotel) we stayed and had marvellous meals throughout the entire period. The first week we primarily rehearsed "at home" and an army of volunteers waited on us hand and foot.
At international masterclasses the professors are usually overbooked by students all day long and understandably they are tired and reserved towards particularly demanding students. At Thy Chamber Music Festival this was not an issue at all as passion and energy quite evidently made everything work and created a fine interaction and a supportive atmosphere. The second week was filled up with concerts. At least 2 every day. Again nothing was left to coincidence, and unless you kept yourself to yourself entirely, it was impossible not to notice that Thy Chamber Music Festival had been launched throughout the region. The festival was announced by means of posters, newspaper articles, radio, the Internet and a most elaborate and professional program book describing the concerts and holding illustrated biographies of the composers. Additionally a number of rehearsals were open for the public to attend. On top of this … we were certainly never short of people to play for. Even if the horizon was blotted out, people found their way to churches and concert halls. In my opinion they also got credit for their efforts. Not only did the star professors perform music to their best ability, so did the group of most qualified participants - all students or recently graduated musicians from Finland, Slovakia, France, Belgium, Taiwan, Japan, Israel, Iceland, Belarus, Germany and Denmark.
That this was possible is simply fantastic - making this unique event grow in sand. I know that the working group has spent thousands of hours arranging this festival without getting a penny, and I am quite sure that already now these fine people have started preparing next year's Thy Chamber Music Festival in benefit of Danish musical life, the locals, tourists, a great many musicians and hopefully also for the working group itself. Thanks to all of you for making this miracle come true at Morup Mølle Kro. Maybe we shall meet again next summer. Until then, I wish you all the best!