Lars Ulrik Mortensen is best known as a harpsichordist active largely in Baroque solo and chamber music repertory. But his career is quite multifaceted: he has regularly conducted both instrumental and operatic works and has taught harpsichord and historic performance practices at the Hochschule fur Musik in Munich. He has often appeared in concert as accompanist to singer Emma Kirkby and has regularly partnered violinist John Holloway and cellist Jaap ter Linden. As a soloist Mortensen has garnered acclaim for his recordings of the Goldberg Variations and various Buxtehude keyboard works. Mortensen’s repertory is vast, but apart from Haydn, Mozart, and a few others, is largely limited to Baroque composers, including Froberger, Handel, Vivaldi, Geminiani, Leclair, and a long list of others. Mortensen has made numerous recordings (mostly as harpsichordist) for a variety of labels, including Archiv Produktion, BIS, Chandos, CPO, ECM, Kontrapunkt, and Naxos.
Lars Ulrik Mortensen was born in Denmark in 1955. He studied harpsichord with Karen Englund at the Copenhagen-based Royal Danish Academy of Music. He later studied harpsichord and conducting with Trevor Pinnock in London. Mortensen’s first important ensemble post was as harpsichordist with the London Baroque, from 1988-1990. He was a member of the Collegium Musicum 90 from 1990-1993 and also played in the Trio Veracini with violinist John Holloway and cellist David Watkin. In 1989 Mortensen recorded the Bach Goldberg Variations for Kontrapunkt, and the album was given the prestigious Diapason d’Or award. Mortensen continued with a string of successful recordings in the 1990s, drawing attention in particular for several discs of J.S. Bach and Buxtehude works.
In 1999 Mortensen was appointed artistic director of the period-instrument ensemble Concerto Copenhagen (CoCo). In 2000 he was named Danish Musician of the Year for three CDs of harpsichord music by Buxtehude. That same trio of recordings was given a Cannes Classical Award in 2001.
In 2003 Mortensen led a highly acclaimed performance of Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro at the Royal Theatre in Copenhagen. The following year he was appointed artistic director of the European Union Baroque Orchestra. He has continued to work with CoCo and has been particularly active with the group on tour throughout Europe, Asia, and the Americas. In 2007 Mortensen was given Denmark’s highest music award, the Léonie Sonning Music Prize. His later recordings include a 2008 ECM disc of Leclair violin sonatas, with John Holloway and Jaap ter Linden. by Robert Cummings)
Concerto Copenhagen is among Scandinavia’s leading historical-performance Baroque ensembles, specializing in regional repertory as well as the music of familiar Baroque composers. The orchestra also accompanies opera and has attracted an unusual number of top-notch international vocal collaborators.
Often dubbed CoCo, Concerto Copenhagen was formed in 1991. A turning point in its history was the appointment of harpsichordist Lars Ulrik Mortensen as director in 1999. Mortensen forged programs that combined music by continental European composers with the underexposed repertories of the Scandinavian countries, exposing new musical and political currents.
By the 2010s, Concerto Copenhagen was giving concerts not only in its home city (often at Garnisons Church) and around Denmark, but also abroad. The group has toured the Americas, East Asia, and Australia as well as many European countries.
Both in collaboration with Copenhagen’s Royal Theatre, with which the orchestra usually presents an opera annually, and independent concerts, Concerto Copenhagen has collaborated with some of the biggest names in Baroque opera and vocal music, including countertenor Andreas Scholl, soprano Vivica Genaux, and ensemble leader Jordi Savall. The ensemble has mostly performed and recorded Baroque music but has also essayed works of the contemporary era; Danish composer Karl Aage Rasmussen served as composer-in-residence from 2015 to 2017.
Concerto Copenhagen enjoyed a prestigious recording career even before the arrival of Mortensen, releasing several albums on the Chandos label in the mid-1990s. In 2004, the orchestra moved to the CPO label for a recording of symphonies by composer Johann Ernest Hartmann, and it has remained on CPO, issuing music by Bach and Handel as well as by Scandinavian composers. A 2006 release was devoted to the music of Georg Gerson and Friedrich Ludwig Aemilius Kunzen. In 2019, Concerto Copenhagen was heard on a recording of Handel’s Brockes-Passion, HWV 48. (by James Manheim)
And here is a wonderful radio concert (excellent broadcast recording !) … and we hear not only compositions by the great George Frederick Handel, but also works by composers completely unknown to me so far, such as Johan Helmich Roman andJohann Adolphe Scheibe
Enjoy the concert.amd the magic of baroque music!
Recorded live at the Schwetzingen Baroque Festival
Rokokotheater, Schwetzingen/Germany, May 31, 2009
broadcasted by RNE Radio Clásica/Spain (Aug 18, 2010)
The Rokokotheater, Schwetzingen/Germany
Concerto Copenhagen conducted by Lars Ulrik Mortensen
Frank de Bruine (oboe)
01. Introduction 0.18
02. Concerto Grosso, HWV 313 (Händel) 10.36
03. Sinfonia Number 4 (Scheibe) 7.53
04. Concerto for Oboe d’Amore (Roman) 18.18
05. Announcement 0.48
06. Concerto Grosso for Flute and Continuo HWV 314 (Händel) 7.44
07. Suite of Golovin Festival Music (Roman) 18.34
08. Concerto Grosso HWV 316 (Händel) 9.57
09. Outro 0.27
10. Music From The Schwetzingen Festival (2009) (uncut edition) 1,14.40