The beginnings of the Tvind Concert Tradition – The Christmas Concerts

Original content article about the concert tradition

In the year of 1985 a new tradition took form in Tvind, home to DNS - The Necessary Teacher Training College, The Travelling High School and Tvind Continuation School. The tradition was a completely new and surprising one for both students and teachers: A whole day event with classical music.


Where sport is part of many people’s lives, perhaps especially young people’s lives, classical music has a completely different position. Beethoven, Brahms, Bartók and Bach are not particularly on the agenda for many young people, not then, in 1985, nor today.

Originally, the classical music was a privilege for kings and noblemen, later for the rich bourgeoisie in cities like Vienna and Salzburg. A selected few could benefit from all the good that music brings with it. Largely, this has been the case up till this day. Some enthusiastic young teachers from Tvind decided to conquer the music and make it available for their students. It was done by presenting it live, on a stage, directly to the students – for a full day, with breaks for food and refreshments in between. In this way the concert tradition at the Tvind schools was born.


In the spring of 1985 a string of smaller classical concerts were arranged, by some teachers who had had some classical music training in their childhood. They travelled from school to school with a newly renovated Hornung & Moeller grand piano in the back of a pick-up truck. The programme consisted of piano pieces, some lieder and other classical songs, a bit of jazz in the lunch break, all strung together with stories about the composers and the origins of their music.


The very first Christmas Concerts were held in the sports hall in Tvind and in the Bella Center in Copenhagen. Most of the programme consisted of piano pieces, for two, four or even six hands. Some professional musicians were hired to participate, among them the late Edi Laider who came with his choir, and the great German Bach singer Agnes Giebel.

The pianist Semion Balschem was among the artists who participated in the concerts from the very beginning, with sonatas and as a soloist in many piano concertos. His friend, violinist Anatoli Melnikov, soon followed.


A corps of classical singers took shape, with the Danish tenor Ole Hedegaard as one of the pioneers. Others included Grete Flintegaard, Rainer van Husen and later Barbara Anna Martin from the United States of America.


In 1993  a great leap forward was taken, when Filaharmonia Zielonogórska entered the stage with their conductor Czeslaw Grabowski. At their first Christmas Concert they performed Beethoven’s 7th symphony, and extracts from Carmen, Show Boat and Händel’s Messias. A very versatile orchestra indeed, they have performed in every single Christmas and New Year’s Concert until the Silver Jubilee concert in 2010.

In 1997, more than 10 years after the first concert, two new artists introduced the audience to a more modern form of classical music. Soprano Barbara Anna Martin who sang George Crumb’s “Ancient Voices of Children”, and percussionist Gert Mortensen who played Per Nørgaards great work “I Ching”. It was the first time ever that the students of Tvind had the opportunity to listen to that kind of music, and probably some of them still have etched in their memory Barbara Anna Martin singing weird noises into the grand piano to make the strings resonate.


There was no Christmas Concert in 1999, because the concert tradition was changed into a New Year’s Concert, to coincide with the new millennium making its entrance in the year 2000. Instead of having two Christmas Concerts, one in the sports hall in Tvind and the other at varying venues in Sealand, the two chrismas concerts were now merged into one big New Year’s Concert.