For almost 50 years, Michala Petri has been one of the most universally recognized and beloved recorder players in the world. She has performed almost 5.000 concerts and has a discography of more than 70 critically-acclaimed and award winning recordings. Michala Petri was born in Copenhagen, Denmark, on July 7, 1958 to musical parents. A child prodigy, she first picked up a recorder at the age of three and by the time she was ten, she made her concerto debut in Tivoli Concert Hall and began her formal studies at the at Staatliche Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Hannover, Germany, with Professor Ferdinand Conrad. By the time she was seventeen her full time carreer started.
Her repertoire spans the Baroque, Classical, and Romantic eras and extends into contemporary and improvised music and multi-media. This versatility, together with a flawless technique, an insatiable curiosity, and the ability to make an emotional connection with her audiences has contributed to her special appeal as an artist. Her list of collaborators reads like a ‘Who’s Who’ of late 20th century classical music, including such legendary artists as Sir Neville Marriner, Claudio Abbado, Sir James Galway, Gidon Kremer, Heinz Holliger, Henryk Szeryng, Pinchas Zukerman, Maurice Andre, Joshua Bell, Mahan Esfahani, Hille Perl and Keith Jarrett. From her youth, Petri was fascinated with the musical potential of her chosen instrument, however, at the time of her studies the recorder was considered mainly an instrument for early music. But gradually, contemporary composers began taking interest and through Petri’s prompting – and virtuosity - started composing works for her. The first work dedicated to her was when she was just 6 years old, was "To Play for a Child" by the multi-faceted Danish Fluxus artist Henning Christiansen. Petri has constantly sought new ways to expand her musical horizons and explore creative musical dialogues with other genres and cultures, often performing with musicians outside the baroque and classical music scene such as her longstanding relationship with many of the finest members of the Scandinavian jazz and improvised music scene. Her innovative collaboration with famed composer/trumpet player Palle Mikkelborg, "Going to Pieces - without falling Apart" for recorder, harp (Helen Davies) and strings was a major statement as a Crossover/World Music/Indie album. More than 150 pieces have been composed especially for Petri including major works by Sir Malcolm Arnold, Gordon Jacob, Daniel Kidane, Per Nørgaard, Ib Nørholm, Vagn Holmboe, Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen, Axel Borup-Jørgensen, Olav Anton Thommessen, Sunleif Rasmussen, Bent Sørensen, Steven Stucky, Michael Berkerley, Joan Albert Amargos, Chen Yi, Bright Cheng, Thomas Koppel, Fabrice Bollon, Markus Zahnhausen, Anders Koppel, Roberto Sierra, Sean Hickey, Anthony Newman, Ugis Praulins and Daniel Børtz. For more than a decade, Petri and her label have been on a mission to commission and record a new repertoire of Recorder Concertos for the 21st century. Beginning with 2010 release of the Grammy-nominated Chinese Recorder Concertos, featuring the works of Chen Yi, Bright Sheng, Tang Jianping and Ma Shui-Long, Petri has continued her musical globetrotting with English Recorder Concertos (2012), Danish/Faroese Recorder Concertos (2015), German/French Recorder Concertos (2016) and American Recorder Concertos (2019). Future titles will include Pacific Recorder Concertos, South American Recorder Concertos and Middle East Recorder Concertos. Petri’s numerous honors and awards include nominated for Nordic Council Music Prize 1996 and 2015; Wilhelm Hansen Music Prize 1998; Léonie Sonnings Music Prize 2000; European Soloist Prize: Pro Europa 2005; Knight of the Dannebrog, 1. Rank in 2011; and Danish Radio Artist of the year 2019. Awards for her recorded work: 5 ECHO Klassik Awards (Deutsche Schallplattenpreis) 1992, 1997, 2002, 2012, 2015, Danish Music Award P2-Prize 2006 and Nominated for Danish Music Award P2 – Prize 2012 and 2015. Nominations for US-Grammy: 2008, 2011, 2012. ICMA 2016 Award (International Classic Music Award) 2 FMA Awards 2016 (Faroese Music Award). Since September 2012, Michala Petri has served as Honorary Professor at the Royal Danish Academy of Music, and since January 2015 as Vice President of the Society of Recorder Players (UK). For many years Michala Petri was Vice-president of the Danish Cancer Society and an Ambassador for UNICEF, Denmark.
Michala Petri: A Journey into Music
By Joshua Cheek
Who would have thought that a hollow wooden tube, modified withonlyeight tiny holes and a beak for a mouthpiece would continue to be a musical instrument into the 21stcentury? Yes, even in the ageof “fixed media,” synthesizers and midi, the recorder’slimpid,pastoral tones have lost none of their sweet-tempered charm. In fact, long before people started posting weird recorder covers or videos of themselves playing songs with their nostrils, the recorder had a long and distinguished history. Among the legendary exponents of this humble vessel -with nearly 5000 concerts given around the world -is the Danish virtuosa, Michala Petri.
Born into a musical family, Michala first picked up the recorder at the age of three, andbegan her formal studieswith Professor Ferdinand Conrad attheStaatliche Hochschule für Musik und Theaterin Hannover, Germany,at the age of 11. At the time, therecorder was generallyconsidered an instrument for earlymusic,but through her parents, Michala was exposed to many of the most important contemporary composers in Denmarkincluding the Danish avant-gardeFluxus artist Henning Christiansen who composed "To play for a child" when she was just seven years old. To date, more than 150 works have been composed for Michala by many of the most celebrated composers of our time.
By the mid-80s, the Baroque Revival was in full swing and Michala’s winsomecharm, effortless virtuosity and impeccable musicianship won her many fans and admirers around the globe. A concert at the BBC London when she was just 17 resulted in her first album with the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields. The successes of this initial release leadtoan exclusive contractwithPhilips Records that would last until 1987. She would later join the artist roster of RCA/BMGwhere she would record her revolutionary series of recordings with pianist/composer Keith Jarrett.In late 2006, together with her long-time duo partner, Lars Hannibal, she launched her own recording company, OUR Recordings,with the intention of providing more opportunities to release contemporary and individual albums. The label’sfirst release, "Movements", featuredMichala with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra conducted by Lan Shui, presented three contemporary recorder concertos and received a Grammy®nomination for "Best Contemporary Composition" for Spanish jazz/classical composer Joan Albert Amargos’ "Northern Concerto" for recorder and large orchestra. The label has also provided a platform for one of Petri’s most important legacies: a cycleof modern concertos composed specificallyto showcase the recorder as an orchestral soloist.To date, her critically acclaimedChinese Recorder Concertos(another Grammy®nomination), English Recorder Concertos,Danish/Faroese Recorder Concertos, German/French Recorder Concertos(released May 2016) and American Recorder Concertos (released in 2018)introduced numerous new works into the concerto repertoire.
Another area of Petri’s unique approach to music-making has been her longtime partnership with guitarist/lutenist Lars Hannibal. The Petri/Hannibal Duo gave their first concert in 1992. Drawing onan exceptionally varied repertoirefrom Greensleevesto freshly composed originals, the duo’s friendly rapport have kept audiences returning year after year. The Petri/HannibalDuohasplayed more than 2000 concerts around the world and hasreleased eight albums, including the German ECHO Award-winning album, Kreisler Inspirations.
Petri’s career has been defined by pushing boundaries and continuously seekingnew ways to expand her musical horizons and explore creative musical dialogues with other genres and cultures. Her innovative collaborations have included the genre-defying Crossover/World Music/Indie album "Going to Pieces -without falling Apart" withthe famed composer/trumpet player and patriarch of the Nordic Jazz scene,Palle Mikkelborg,and the extraordinary“Dialogue -East meets West” showcasing new works from five young Chinese and five young Danish composers composed especially for Michala’s recorder and the Chinese "xiao/dizi" bamboo flutes played by the leading Chinese xiao player, Chen Yue. The creative possibilities of performing works for recorder and choir caught Michala`s enthusiasm after premiering a piece by Swedish composer Daniel Børtz in 2008 with the Swedish Chamber Choir. Soon, other works followed including new scores from Sunleif Rasmussen and Peter Bruun, as well as the already classic piece "The Nightingale" by the Latvian composer Ugis Praulins. The works were released the CD "The Nightingale", with Danish National Vocal Ensemble conducted by Stephen Layton, and would go on to receive Grammy® nominations, and 3 ECHO KLASSIK Awards. Together with the Danish National Vocal Ensemble conducted by Michael Bojesen Michala released two additional albums “Drømte mig en Drøm” and the Christmas album “Let the Angels Sing”, both featuring original arrangements by Michael Bojesen. Michala Petri has received numerous honors and awards as a performer throughout her career, including the Wilhelm Hansen Prisen 1998; the European Soloist Prize, Knight of the Dannebrog,
1.Rank in 2011, and in 2000, the distinguished Léonie Sonnings Music Prize 2000, an honor previously awarded to such musical luminaries as Stravinsky, Bernstein, Simon Rattle, Miles Davis and Barbara Hannigan. Her vast recorded catalogue has received numerous critical accolades and international awards, including 5 ECHO Klassik (Deutsche Schallplattenpreis) (1992, 1997, 2002, 2012 and 2015), two Danish Music Award P2-Prize (2006 and 2020), two nominations for Danish Music Award P2 – Prizes (2012 and 2015), nominations for US-Grammy Award: 2008, 2011, 2012. ICMA 2016 Award
(International Classic Music Award) and 2 FMA Awards 2016 (Faroese Music Award). Danish Radio Artist of the Year 2019. As Michala said in a 1984 interview in the New York Times, 'Times change; if you want to say something now, it requires a much stronger kind of statement.” Forty years on into that journey, her musical vision and voice has never been stronger!
Selected works for recorder and orchestra :
Joan Albert Amargos (b.1950) Northern Concerto for recorder and orchestra (2005) • 25’ *
Malcolm Arnold (1921-2006) Concerto for recorder and orchestra op. 133 (1988) • 12’ *
Fabrice Bollon (b.1965) Your Voice OUT of the Lamb, for electric recorder and small orchestra (2016) *
(inspired by Genesis, The Lambs Lies Down on Broadway)
Daniel Börtz (b.1943) Pipor och Klockor (Pipes and Bells) Concert Piece for recorder and orchestra (2002) • 17’ *
Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen (1932- 2016) Chacun Son Son, Concerto for recorder and orchestra (2014)*
Richard Harvey (b.1954) Concerto Incantato, for recorder and orchestra (2009) • 15’–23’ *
Piers Hellawell (b.1969) Drum of the Nåjd for recorder, percussion and orchestra (1997) • 23’ (Written for Evelin Glennie and Michala Petri)
Sean Hickey (b.1970) A Pacifying Weapon for recorder, winds, brass, percussion and harp (2015)*
Tang Jiangping (b.1955) FeiGe (Flying Song) Concerto for sopranino recorder (orig. dizi) and orchestra (2003) • (19’) arranged for Michala Petri by Tang Jianping *
Günter Kochan (1930-2009) Music for alto recorder, 25 strings and percussion (2000) -18´*
Anders Koppel (b.1947) Double concerto for recorder, saxophone and orchestra (2010) • 25’
Thomas Koppel (1944-2006) Moonchilds Dream for recorder and orchestra (1991) • 25’ *
Gary Kulesha (b.1954 ) Concerto for recorder and small orchestra (1991) • 15’
Edouard Lalo (1823-1892) Fantasie Norvegienne for recorders and orchestra • 16’
(orig. for violin and orchestra; arr. Petri and Hugh Wolff)
W. A. Mozart (1756–1791)
Concerto G-Major KV 313 for alto recorder and orchestra • 25’
Concerto D-Major KV 314 for alto recorder and orchestra • 17´
Andante C-Major KV 315 for alto recorder and orchestra • 7 *
Anthony Newman (b. 1941) Concerto for recorder, strings and harpsichord (2016) – 16´*
Andy Pape (b.1955) Concerto Gosso for cello, recorder, tuba and orchestra (1996) • 27´
Sunleif Rasmussen (b.1961) Territorial Songs** for recorder and orchestra (2009) • 22’ *
Roberto Sierra (b.1953) Prelude, Habanera and Perpetual Motion (2016) - 14´ *
Bright Sheng (b.1955) Flute Moon Concerto for recorder and orchestra (1999) • 19’ *
Ma Shui-long (1939- 2015) Bang Di Concerto for recorder and orchestra (1984) • 19’ *
Steven Stucky (1949-2016) Etudes for recorders and chamber orchestra (2000) • 14’ *
Markus Zahnhausen (b.1965) Recordare for recorder and orchestra (2015) -16´ *
Selected works for recorder and strings/chamber orchestra:
Tomaso Albinoni (1671-1751) Concerto d-minor, opus 9 nr.2 for recorder and strings 11´ * J. S. Bach (1685-1750) Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 BWV 1047 • 13´ * Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 BWV 1049 • 20´ * Suite b Minor BWV 1067 for recorder, strings and b.c. • 22´ (orig. for flute) * Concerto g-Minor for recorder, strings and b.c. • 12´ (after harpsichord concerto f-minor BWV 1056) * Concerto F-Major for recorder, strings and b.c. • 12´ (after harpsichord concerto E-Major BWV 1053) * Concerto d-Minor (or c-Minor) BWV 1060 for violin, recorder, strings and b.c. • 14´ (orig. violin and oboe) * Mogens Christensen (b.1955) Nordic Summer Scherzo for recorder and strings (2014) – 10´* Asger Lund Christiansen (1927-1998) Little Dance Suite for soprano recorder and strings • 16´ * Thomas Clausen (b.1949) Concertino for descant recorder and strings (2014) – 12` * Anton Heberle (19th cent.) Concerto G-Major for soprano recorder, strings and 2 horns • 11´* Vagn Holmboe (1909-1996) Concerto op.122 for recorder, strings, vibraphone and celesta • 15´ Gordon Jacob (1895-1984) Suite for recorder and strings • 15-20´* Thomas Koppel (1944-2006) Los Angeles Street Concerto for sopranino recorder, strings and celesta • 16´Palle Mikkelborg (b.1941) Going to Pieces Without Falling Apart for recorder, harp and strings (2014) 43´* * Sunleif Rasmussen (b.1961) Winter Echoes for recorder and 13 solo strings (2014) * Giuseppe Sammartini Concerto F-Major for soprano recorder, strings and b.c. • 12´ (1693-1750) * Bent Sørensen (b.1958) Whispering for recorder and strings (2014) – 10´ * G. Ph. Telemann (1681-1767)Suite a-Minor for alto recorder, strings and b.c.• 20-25´Concerto C-Major for alto recorder, strings and b.c • 14´Concerto e-Minor for alto recorder, flute, strings and b.c • 15´Concerto F-Major for alto recorder, bassoon, strings and b.c • 16´Concerto a-Minor for alto recorder, viola, strings and b.c • 16´Chen Yi (b.1953) The Ancient Chinese Beauty for recorder and strings • 15´ *Artem Vassiliev (b.1974) Valere Lubere (To say Goodbye) for recorder and strings 15´ ‘Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741) Concertos for recorder, strings and b.c.
c-Minor RV 441 (alto recorder) • 12 min.*
F-Major RV 443 (alto recorder) • 8 min. *
C-Major RV 443 (sopranino) • 11 min. *
C-Major RV 444 (sopranino) • 10 min. *
a-Minor RV 445 (sopranino) • 11 min. Concertos op.10 for recorder, strings and b.c. (orig. flute, strings und b.c.*
F-Major RV 433 La Tempesta di Mare • 8 min.*
g-Minor RV 439 La Notte • 8 min.*
D-Major RV 428 Il Gardellino • 9 min. *
G-Major RV 435 • 7 min. *
F-Major RV 434 • 7 min. G-Major RV 437 • 8 min. *
Concertos op. 8 No.1-4 for recorders, strings and b.c. (The Four Seasons) • 10-12´ each concerto (orig. for violin, strings and b.c. *
Works for recorder and Chamber Choir (16-19 singers)
Daniel Börtz (b.1939) Nemesis divina (2006) (Text: Carl von Linné) 14´ *
Peter Bruun (b.1968) 2 scenes with Skylark (2011) (Text: Gerard Manley Hopkins) 9´ *
Ugis Praulins (b.1957) The Nightingale (2010) After Hans Christian Andersen) 29 ´ *
Sunleif Rasmussen (b1961) “I” (2011) (Text: Inger Christensen) 9´ *
17 European Christmas Carols and Songs in new arrangements for recorder and choir 53´ ‘ *
Michala also have a repertoire for recorder and string trio/quartet, recorder/guitar duo, recorder harpsichord duo, recorder/harpsichord/viola trio, and other chamber music constellations.
All works marked with * is recorded either on Philips, RCA/BMG, EMI or OUR Recordings