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Prestigious commission work awarded to Konrad M. Øhrn

In connection with the 19th International Friedrich Kuhlau Flute Competition, UiA’s Professor Emeritus Konrad Mikal Øhrn was asked to compose a piece for three flutes.

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Professor Emeritus Konrad Mikal Øhrn (photo)
Professor Emeritus Konrad Mikal Øhrn (Photo: Olav Breen)

Øhrn’s composition Tibiae Ludum – Playing Flutes premiered as a music video with the flute ensemble Trio AbO before the 19th International Friedrich Kuhlau Flute Competition this year. The brand-new work was a mandatory piece in the first round for ensembles with three flutes.

Øhrn worked specifically to compose a more demanding piece. Special effects and some harmonics were included to truly challenge the performers:

– The melodic structure of the piece consists of scale material from different modal scales and whole tone scales. The piece also contains huge leaps in contrast to fast scale material, with some parts of glissandi, harmonics, and humming. The three flutists have much of the same music material and are equally important in bringing the music forward, Øhrn says.

Wide range of techniques

Composer and Professor Emeritus Konrad Mikael Øhrn teaches composition at the Department of Classical Music and Music Education at the Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Agder, where he has worked since 1990.

Øhrn’s list of works for flute is extensive and stylistically varied and includes solo works, music for flute and piano, two flutes, three flutes, music for alto and bass flute, two double flute concertos and several works for large flute ensembles. One of his characteristics is a wide range of compositional techniques.

The Tibiae Ludum – Playing Flutes is no exemption: It contains various modern elements such as unison humming with voice or jet whistle. The predominantly polyphonic structure is interspersed with homophonic parts, with both major and minor intervals, such as seconds and forths, sevenths and ninths. The composer explains that there are also parts of parallel and contrapuntal movement and imitation figures within the scale material.

– The music should be forward striving, especially in the con fuoco parts, which may have signs of accelerando tempi – in contrast to the harmonics parts which reflect more contemplating moods.

Premiered on video

– We are convinced that the trio will be a very fun chamber music piece for every flutist, the Trio AbO stated in connection with their premiere of the work.

Due to the corona pandemic, the very first performance of the Tibiae Ludum was arranged by assembling the individual recordings of the Trio AbO’s flute voices into one video.

The flutists Kana Hasegawa, Shino Saito and Reona Kuwata recorded their parts separately, technically accompanied by Martin Zimny ​​from the Robert Schumann Hochschule Düsseldorf, who also edited and produced the video.

Listen to the Trio AbO here:


Or listen to the version of the Trio Bris (First prize 19th International Friedrich Kuhlau Flute Competition):