Léonie Sonning Talent Prize 2018
Above all, my music must have a great sound
There is a lot of duality in Mathias Monrad Møller’s life. He is bilingual and was raised in Denmark and Germany. He handles two very different musical worlds when performing as a lyrical tenor studying at the Opera Academy and when acting as a modern composer. As a singer, he is disciplined – as a composer, he takes chances.
I am a classical, lyrical tenor, who prefers Bach and lieder. This is historical music telling a story about another time, which I would like to make relevant for a contemporary audience. As a composer, I am more modern. Being a composer is more problematic. I would like to reflect on the conditions that we live under and be present in the time I live in, Mathias says.
He sang in the boys’ choir in Leipzig when attending boarding school there, and he began composing at age 14. “It was a hobby at a very high level.
The plan was for me to find a choir to sing in and then actually to be a composer. But it went too well with the singing. I had some good teachers, and I developed well. Then I wanted to become a soloist. I therefore attend the Opera Academy now, Mathias says while he reflects on what binds these two very different worlds together.
I think it’s about lyrics. As a singer, I find my inspiration in the lyrics. I identify myself with the lyrics and get images in my mind.
He gets his inspiration as a composer from something he dislikes or something that provokes him. This could be lyrics or a speech.
Against my will, I made a piece about Trump. It’s based on a speech by his daughter, Tiffany Trump, which provoked me a lot. When composing, I like to be provoked. I prefer that there is an underlying element which has nothing to do with music, says Mathias.
As a composer, Mathias is prepared to expose the power structure in a social context or behind the creation of music.
I am interested in aspects of freedom and discipline, freedom and authority. I challenge the musicians to be very free or very disciplined. I build a system in which they have to relate in a certain way. But most of all, my music must have a great sound, Mathias says.
Mathias Monrad Møller, singer and composer, in brief
Mathias was born in Odense in 1988 and raised as bilingual (Danish/German) in South Slesvig.
Mathias divides his career between his professions as a composer and a singer. He sang in the boys’ choir Thomanerchor in Leipzig and started composing at the same time. From 2008-2012, he studied composition at the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst in Frankfurt am Main, and he graduated with a diploma corresponding to a master’s degree. Subsequently, he studied singing at the Hochschule für Musik, Hanns Eisler“ in Berlin. Today, he is a composer and a student at the Opera Academy at the Royal Danish Theatre/the DKDM.
His compositions range from conceptual, linguistic miniatures to musical compositions; in a form he calls “essay”, he tries to link these poles – the linguistic-specific and the musical-abstract.
As a singer, Mathias focuses on the lyrical profession as a tenor.
How Mathias will use the scholarship from the Léonie Sonning Music Foundation
As I am both a singer and a composer, I will use the scholarship on both “areas” – for coaching under Helmuth Deutsch in Wien. As a composer, I would like to join the Darmstädter Ferienkurse 2018 and take lessons with Peter Ablinger in Berlin.