Léonie Sonning Talent Prize 2020
A broken arm
There are in particular two advantages to playing the guitar if you ask Jonas Egholm. First of all a guitar is cheaper than for instance wind instruments and bassoons. And secondly there is often a guitar in the corner that you can play when you visit people.
“It’s hard not to just grab the guitar and start playing because it’s such a comfortable instrument,” says Jonas. It is not just that it is easy to pull out a guitar. According to Jonas it is also easy to just immerse yourself in playing the guitar and shut out the rest of the world. In fact, once Jonas starts playing it is hard for him to stop.
Jonas got his first guitar at the age of six. Maybe it was as consolation because he had recently broken his arm. For as long as Jonas can remember, his father has been playing the guitar. Even if it was just a couple of chords and a bit of singing, it inspired Jonas to start playing himself. As soon as his arm had healed, Jonas was off.
A hand-built guitar
At the age of nine Jonas had outgrown his children’s guitar and it was time to get a ‘real’ guitar. Together with his father and his guitar teacher he therefore went to Germany, where the first of a long line of hand-built guitars was waiting.
“I remember that it glittered like a crock of gold,” Jonas says about coming home late at night from Germany, putting the guitar case on the table and opening it to reveal his new purchase.
“It really was a corner stone for me and a huge step. It was at that moment I really felt how much this meant to me and how much I wanted this.”
Since then he has had several hand-built instruments, because guitarists often replace their instrument as they develop as musicians. While studying at the Royal Danish Academy of Music he has borrowed a guitar from the academy, built by the Spanish guitar maker Antonio Marín from Granada. Jonas likes it so much that he has ordered one exactly like it directly from Marín himself.
Full of energy
Even if the musical influence from his home was limited to his father’s four chords, both of Jonas’ sisters have also gone down the musical route, playing the flute and the cello respectively.
As children, the three siblings would play chamber music and perform together at private parties, weddings and charity events. To Jonas, it was like a game. Nervousness was foreign to him. At the worst he would have a few butterflies in his stomach.
As an adult it is completely different. Now he often experiences a twitching nervous energy before going on stage.
“I have a lot of energy! My biggest issue is that I play too fast. I just pick up speed. So I need to remind myself that I have to remember to relax a bit and breathe.”
When your career is flying like Jonas Egholm’s and you are bursting with energy and love of playing music, it is easy to understand how it can be difficult to remember to just take it a bit more easy.
Jonas Egholm in brief
Born in 1997. Grew up in Børkop outside Vejle.
Started playing the guitar at the age of six.
Started his master’s degree at the Royal Danish Academy of Music in 2015.
Has won several competitions in Denmark and abroad, a.o. 1st prize in the Sarajevo International Guitar Festival 2019 and the 2nd prize at the Royal Danish Academy of Music Scholarship Competition in 2019.
Made his first appearance at the age of 10 on a tour in Denmark and Germany as a soloist with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra.
Has since then played with Sønderjyllands Symfoniorkester, DiamantEnsemblet, Vejle Symfoniorkester, etc. Over the years Jonas has played several concerts in Denmark, China, Japan, Germany, Sweden and the Faroe Islands.
The scholarship from the Léonie Sonning Music Foundation
Jonas will spend the money from the Léonie Sonning Music Foundation on participation in festivals, courses, master classes and competitions. He will also take private lessons with guitarists Alváro Pierri and Tukasz Kuropaczewski.