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A chat with Anna Boysen Lauritsen

INTRO//

Anna Boysen Lauritsen. Selected as one of Berlingske’s Talent 100 where she is acclaimed for her work for Copenhagen Phil. Anna is one of our dear friends, who has followed and supported us, from the production of the very first stool, to where we are today.

 

ASIS// Anna, can you give a short intro to what you do, both for a living, but also in your free time?

ANNA// I am responsible for innovation, partnerships and fundraising at the symphony orchestra, Copenhagen Phil. While I don’t hold a creative role, I am tasked with the commercial aspect of developing new, innovative concert formats as well as overseeing the general business administration of the orchestra. I have the privilege of working with some brilliant, creative minds! The purpose of my work is to make the orchestra relevant in a contemporary society and to attract a new audience. We cover all of Zealand and Bornholm, so we need to develop concert formats that are relevant to both people in the Copenhagen area and those living in the countryside. The north star of my work is accessibility, which does not only concern the price of a concert ticket, but also interests. What occupies citizens today, and how can we integrate this into the symphonic concert experience, so people feel amused, seen, enlightened and perhaps provoked? I’m also working on a big project on knowledge-sharing, which I can hopefully talk more about in a couple of months.

 

In my free time, I love exploring Copenhagen’s cultural and gastronomic scene as well as escaping to the countryside to immerse myself in nature near the sea. I’m also a zealous dreamer, so I start a lot of projects and business plans. Not all of them become reality, but the process really entertains me.

 

ASIS// What is your relationship to classical music? How did you end up there? Having studied law and graduated with a degree in cand.merc. Copenhagen Phil dosen’t seem like the most natural choice.

ANNA// My parents are musicians and it’s not just a job; it’s a lifestyle! So, it has been a huge part of my upbringing. I played the violin, piano and sang in a choir for many years and after performing at The Royal Danish Opera in Copenhagen, I dreamt of becoming an opera singer. However, I found myself torn between whether to pursue an artistic career or the more ‘sensible’ choice due to the fiercely competitive and unstable nature of the creative industry. I opted for the latter, but I was still attracted to the creative industry. Thanks to my current boss, I ended up here anyway and now I like to think that I have the best from both worlds in my job. It really felt like coming home! 

 

ASIS// Which macro developments do you see in the scene for classical music? Both in Denmark and internationally? 

ANNA// I think we will see a huge transformation of how we approach classical music in the next decade, but in particular, technology and the semi-theatrical formats will impact the industry. The analogue experience and classical music have the power to unite people, creating a common frame of reference, which is important for societal cohesion. That being said, I believe we will witness further integration of technology in future concerts. The opera genre has, within the last 10-15 years, adapted the use of technology, and it is now somewhat common to use video formats, such as holograms, as scenography, where the singers on stage interact with digital elements. This trend is quite advanced in Germany, where, in particular, the video designer Astrid Steiner has created some incredible stage designs using holograms. This trend is spilling over to symphonic music. In the future, I anticipate seeing technology being used as a means for the audience to interact with the musicians and the music and take part in the concert experience. And then, of course, there is AI, which is disrupting all industries. It will be interesting to see how it will impact this industry as well.

 

We will also see a change in how we stage the classical concerts by adding context. The music is typically written many decades and centuries years ago, but the themes in the scores are still relevant today because people never change: We love, fight, tease, hurt, go to war, make friendships, explore the world, and much more. And we have always done so. It’s interesting to see how the stories in operas, such as forbidden love, jealousy, revenge, are still relevant today. However, for a modern audience to connect and find meaning in the classical music, adding a contemporary context that makes it relevant to today’s society can be helpful. I think we will see more semi-theatrical formats, where the classical concert is staged by scenography and a director. This can be done by adding actors and singers to the concert who tells a story that creates a context wherein the music can unfold. In this way, the audience is guided a bit more and will get a different experience. 

 

ASIS// To you - what is good design?

ANNA// It must be beautiful, functional and have a splash of unpredictability. It sounds simple, but it’s difficult! While I love classical pieces, they cannot be boring, they must have an edge in a way. 

 

ASIS// Do you have a favorite piece of furniture in your home? If yes, why is it your favorite?

ANNA// If I could only keep one piece of furniture from my home, it would be an old floor-to-ceiling rococo mirror. It comes from my childhood home, where it stood next to the grand piano. I spent a lot of time playing the piano growing up, and naturally, I also spent a lot of time next to that mirror, watching my own reflection. When my parents moved to a new place, the mirror was too large to carry up the staircase and too fragile to move with a crane.  So, the movers delivered it to my apartment instead. Officially, I’m just borrowing it, but I hope not to have to return it. It really adds something special to my living room!

 

ASIS// If you should recommend one concert or performance, taking place in Denmark in 2024, which one would it be and why?

ANNA// If you should only see one classical concert in 2024, I would recommend seeing Melodrama by Copenhagen Phil in the autumn. It represents a hybrid genre that mixes classical music with rap, opera and video design. The creative team has taken one of Dvořák’s symphonies and divided it into four pieces. Between each piece, composer Matias Vestergård is composing new music that serves as a bridge between Dvořák’s compositions. The production is directed and written by Christian Lollike, whose work always amazes me, while Astrid Steiner has created the video design. This production is poised to change how we perceive classical music and the entire concert experience.

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