Léonie Sonning Talent Prize 2021

Katinka does not come from a home filled with classical music. She does, however, come from a home full of sing-song. Her parents taught music and also started a private independent school at home in Himmerland where Katinka and her three siblings made up about 10% of the pupils. Here they would sing everything from Anne Linnet to political songs both in and after school.

“Us four siblings were always lined up to do part-singing at family parties – Von Trapp-style you know,” Katinka recalls about her childhood, referencing the song-loving family in The Sound of Music. “It was a natural thing to do and something we did for the sense of togetherness.”

In many ways the communal singing in Himmerland was far from life in Copenhagen at 21. Katinka had just left home and had to figure out which role music was going to play in her life. Because there was no doubt that it would play a role, and to begin with she thought she was going to be a pop singer. She performed with the band Efterklang and met the singer Nanna Øland on the Copenhagen music scene. Nanna could hear that Katinka’s voice was something special and sent her for singing lessons with her mother, the opera singer Bodil Øland.

Needed to grow into the role
“When I came out from that first lesson I was completely blown away. I didn’t know how much voice I had, and I felt I had been stretched and become five inches taller,” Katinka says and adds that it was almost like taking part in extreme sports. She just had to learn it! However, she was quickly brought down to earth again when she was told that it takes 10 years to develop a good voice. However, this did not make her lose her nerve, and after a year and a half of preparations at MGK, she started studying with Bodil Øland at the Royal Danish Academy of Music, Aarhus/Aalborg.

Katinka has not spent those 10 years of studying singing by only developing her voice. For her, who grew up with singing being a communal activity, it has also been about getting to know her voice as a solo instrument. “I have definitely had to mature to embrace that. Laying bare your soul to an audience can be quite intense, and it’s been a personal journey to grow into that role,” Katinka explains.

As a contrast to being a soloist, Katinka has also taken a master’s degree in electro-acoustic composition and sound art and has started composing works for both herself and the We like We sound collective. The need for being part of a collective sound and not at the forefront is still there. For instance, the group always performs in a semi-circle to wipe out the hierarchy.

The voice as a physical object

To Katinka the voice is an instrument that could easily take a position on a par with a cello or percussion. However, the voice is also a unique and strangely abstract instrument, which you cannot grab hold of. All voices are unique and depend on the body they inhabit.

As part of Katinka’s fascination with and examination of the world of voices she has created the Ministry of Broken Connections platform, which releases her own and others’ works that focus on newly composed vocal music. She finds new music a lot more interesting than the classical repertoire and the roles that have traditionally been accessible to opera-trained sopranos.

And to make the music physical again, now that digital distribution channels have taken over the market, they have chosen to release their works on cassette tapes, wrapped in a beautiful booklet. “It’s about creating something that can manifest itself in a physical form that you can sell and that has a place in the world. There are expenses connected with this, and you support an artist by buying it, and there is something precious about getting a little tape that you can put in your pocket,” Katinka finishes.

Katinka Fogh Vindelev in brief

Born in Himmerland in 1984.
Graduated from Vesthimmerlands Gymnasium 2004.
Bachelor in classical singing with Bodil Øland at the Royal Danish Academy of Music, Aarhus/Aalborg 2012.
Master in electro-acoustic composition and sound art from the Danish National Academy of Music in Esbjerg 2017.
Made her debut in 2020 from the soloist class at the Danish National Academy of Music i Odense.
Co-founder and member of the We like We sound collective.

and Julia Holter.

Is particularly interested in new composition music and has made original performances of works by i.a. Karten Fundal, Lil Lacy and John Frandsen.
Composer and creator of conceptual works, always with the voice at the centre. Composed the Moonologue opera together with Marie Kølbæk Iversen in 2018.

Creator of the Ministry of Broken Connections label together with graphic artist Lea Charbonnier.

The scholarship from the Léonie Sonning Music Foundation

Katinka will spend the money from the Léonie Sonning Talent Prize on study trips to Berlin and some European opera and music theatre festivals as well as continued lessons with singing masters Henriette Bonde-Hansen and Helene Gjerris.

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