The musicians

Click on the respective pictures and read the musicians' CV.

Per 1/4-2024

Flute: Svend Melbye
Clarinet: Frederik von Würden
Bassoon: Gunnar Eckhoff
Harp: Mette Franck
Piano: Jakob Westh
Violin: Stéphane Tran Ngoc (Substitute until 19/8-2024: Christian Ellegaard)
Viola: Piotr Zelazny
Cello: Tobias Lautrup

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Photo: Stéphane Tran Ngoc 

Employed by Danish Chamber Players since 1991

Svend Melbye, flute

After studying at the Danish Technical University and later Musicology at the University of Copenhagen, Svend began at a relatively late age (26) at the Conservatory in Copenhagen in 1985 along with a period of study in London with Prof. Susan Milan in 1987. After studying primarily with Toke Lund Christiansen, he graduated in 1988 and had his debut concerto on both traverse / baroque flute and modern flute in 1990. Concurrent studies and graduation from the Royal Academy of Music in London with Prof. Sebastian Bell on modern flute and with Prof. Lisa Beznosiuk on traverse flute.
Plays both traditional silver flute and with great enthusiasm also modern flute in wood.

When and why did you start playing the flute?

I had played recorder and later trumpet as a child, but did not play in high school. My parents gave me a transverse flute as a student gift, and then I got started with it!

best musical memory?

A traditional Christmas concert with the Chamber Choir Hymnia (which I co-founded) in Søborg Church in the late 80s. The atmosphere was magical, the music lifted "by itself", and an angel walked through the room.

What do you value most about your job?

The variety of work; closeness to our audience; our ability to influence the ensemble's activities on many levels as well as the constantly changing working hours - in some periods it is very busy and at other times there is a little more freedom.

If you were not a musician, what would you be?

Probably an engineer - or maybe a doctor.

What do you do when you are not playing?

I am developing on this website…
In addition, I play tennis - as much as time allows and my body can hold on! I love bird watching and often enjoy a kayak ride in the waters north of Lolland when the weather is right.
Various DIY tasks also fill in my spare time.

Frederik von Würden, compr

Photo: Stéphane Tran Ngoc 

Employed by Danish Chamber Players since 2023

Frederik von Würden, clarinet

Born in 1990 and grew up in the Copenhagen area. Started in 2001 in Tivoligarden and is educated at conservatories in Copenhagen and Los Angeles. In addition, courses in Sweden, Spain, France and Finland. In 2015 won a job at Livgardens Music Corps.
Founder of Allerød Concert Association and the Copenhagen Clarinet Trio, which he has with cellist Theodor Lyngstad from CPH Phil and pianist Petya Hristova.

When and why did you start playing the clarinet?

As a boy I had a dream of becoming an actor. After unsuccessful auditions, I had a good friend who was in Tivoli Gardens, and here he had to walk with a torch in a performance at Det Kgl. Theater. So that was my path to a great acting career!
However, I had to go straight into Tivoli Gardens and in that connection I had to play an instrument. He had played the clarinet himself, but had switched to the bassoon, so I asked him what I should play.
He promptly said clarinet – because it is much easier than bassoon.

best musical memory?

There are many, but to name a few was Shostakovich's 7th symphony with the recently deceased Yuri Termikanov and the DR Symphony Orchestra. I have always loved the grandeur of the symphony and its huge crescendi and quiet introspection was fantastic to experience from the middle of the orchestra.
As a listener, one of my greatest experiences recently was an acoustic solo concert with Lydmor in Blågård church in Nørrebro. There was a completely unique atmosphere of 200 people quietly immersing themselves in the music and the stories.

What do you value most about your job?

Chamber music, that you can create the music together and the great flexibility in the way you work together. The proximity and communication of all the wonderful music to the audience is also a big part.

If you were not a musician, what would you be?

Bus driver - when I was little. Today maybe something with society. Preferably something where you can sleep for a long time.

What do you do when you are not playing?

I really like cooking, reading a good book and walking with my little dog Else. All three things together with my beautiful girlfriend.
Also love to play a computer game that is at least 10 years old.

Gunnar_Eckhoff_bassoon

Photo: Ingrid Riis

Employed by Danish Chamber Players since 1994

Gunnar Eckhoff, bassoon

Comes from Stavanger in Norway. Born 1966. Educated at Malmö Academy of Music in Sweden on bassoon. Also plays the contra-bass clarinet.

When and why did you start playing bassoon?

I started playing the clarinet when I was 10 years old. And switched to bassoon when I was 11.

best musical memory?

When, as a 14-year-old, I was allowed to play the bassoon solo in Stravinsky's "The Firebird" in the youth orchestra in Stavanger - and was praised by my teacher.

What do you value most about your job?

Chamber music and the connection with the audience.

If you were not a musician, what would you be?

Marin kolygrafist

What do you do when you are not playing?

Looking at a wall.

Mette Franck and the harp, photo: Stéphane Tran Ngoc

Photo: Stéphane Tran Ngoc 

Employed by Danish Chamber Players since 1991

Mette Franck, harp

Diploma from the Royal Danish Academy of Music in 1991, as a student of Sonja Gislinge.
Overseas study with Catherine Michel, Paris in 1990 and masterclasses with Susan McDonald among others during her time as a student.

When and why did you start playing the harp?

After playing recorder and piano (with my grandmother) for several years, when I was about 11 years old, there came an opportunity to become a guinea pig on an Irish harp for a music education student at the conservatory. After two years, my teacher graduated, but I got stuck and continued with the associate professor at the conservatory, Inga Graae. While I was a rabbit, I was allowed to practice the conservatory harp until my parents decided to buy me an instrument. With S-train from Brede to Copenhagen several times a week to practice + once for teaching. I must have wanted it ;-)

best musical memory?

There are many, but I remember the silence, which lasted indefinitely, after the last note in Mahler's 6symf, with DRSO and Herbert Blomstedt. It was supernatural. The applause erupted afterwards, but all the musicians went home quietly, with a special feeling inside.
And as an audience, I will never forget Andras Schiff in Fuglsangs sal. I sat right behind him, and could see his fingers flying over the keys. I can still feel the music.

What do you value most about your job?

As a harpist, I have the most wonderful job in the world. I make a living playing chamber music, something other harpists struggle to be allowed to do, but in addition it must be able to bring joy to other people, by “just” playing music. We do what we love to do and people get happy.
What's not to like !!

If you were not a musician, what would you be?

Ballet dancer, but it must be in another life…

What do you do when you are not playing?

I love spending time with other, and especially with my family. In addition, my garden is a really good friend that I like to spend many hours in when my fingers can otherwise handle it. It's pure therapy to root in the ground, and I absolutely love flowers!

Jakob Westh, pianist and Danish Chamber Players, photo: Ingrid Riis

Photo: Ingrid Riis

Employed by Danish Chamber Players since 1991

Jakob Westh, piano

Born in Copenhagen and trained as a pianist and music educator at the Royal Danish Conservatory of Music. In addition, he has studied in Hamburg and London.

When and why did you start playing the piano?

When I was about 5 years old, my parents acquired a piano because my mother wanted to start playing again, but before long I had conquered the instrument and since then I have never stopped.

best musical memory?

I have had many great musical experiences and new ones are constantly being added. Should I highlight one from recent years, it must be when András Schiff gave a concert in the Music Hall Fuglsang. There you had the feeling that the music originated on the spot and time stood still.

What do you value most about your job?

I love bringing music out to people, and luckily that's the core of my work!

If you were not a musician, what would you be?

I do not know - something with fixed working hours 😉

What do you do when you are not playing?

I have no definite hobby, but I like to cook. I read a lot at times. Getting out into nature gives me an important peace of mind. I am somewhat of an introvert, but my family means a lot to me.

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Employed by Danish Chamber Players since 2010

Stéphane Tran Ngoc, violin

His studies include a 1st prize from the Paris National Superior Conservatory of Music and degrees from Brooklyn College and The Juilliard School in New York, where he studied with Itzhak Perlman and Dorothy Delay. He was the first prize winner in major international competitions (Lipizer, Paganini, Artists International, Long-Thibaud) and has performed in over 30 countries as a soloist with orchestra, or as a chamber musician. He has taught at conservatories and universities for more than 35 years in France, the United States and England and was awarded a “Grand Prix du Disque” and “Medal of Paris” for contributions to culture.

When and why did you start playing the violin?

I started playing the violin at the age of 7 at a local music school outside Paris. Only violin, piano and flute were offered there and it was cheaper to rent a violin than a flute or a piano and we had very limited financial means…

best musical memory?

My best musical memory as an audience is probably the centenary concert for the Messiah's birthday in London in 2008, where the Ensemble Intercontemporain played the Messiah's "Couleurs de la cité céleste", "Sept Haïkaï" and Boulez's "Sur Incises". As a performer, it stands between Shostakovitch Violin Concerto No. 1 with the HBSO Orchestra in Vietnam or my first performance with all 10 Beethoven sonatas in France with pianist Brian Ganz.

What do you value most about your job?

The best thing about my job is the flexibility we have to play in different formations, from solo and duo to all 8 musicians. This allows for incredible and endless combinations both in terms of sound and repertoire.

If you were not a musician, what would you be?

Photographer

What do you do when you are not playing?

I love teaching and a lot of my “free time” goes into it. When I am not working, photography (both digital and film) and collecting old cameras is a main interest / hobby, but I also like playing sports (barefoot running, rollerblading, skiing, swimming, winter swimming…), reading (usually a few books each month). I also take care of my holiday home in France and visit my family who live there.

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Photo: Stéphane Tran Ngoc 

Employed by Danish Chamber Players since 1993

Piotr Zelazny, viola

Born in Kraków – old royal city in Poland. Began to play the violin here, later the viola. Graduated from the Music Academy in 1987. In 1984 received 4th prize in Poland's Viola Competition. Thanks to a scholarship, he was able to study further at the Menuhin Academy in Switzerland with Alberto Lysy and later in Berlin with the legendary (in the viola world...) Bruno Giuranna. Stopped studying (but not practicing!) in 1991. Before coming to Denmark, he was solo violist in the Chamber Orchestra "Capella Cracoviensis" in Krakow.

When and why did you start playing viola?

One day my big brother (by the way, a great musical talent; can play anything!) Came home with a violin. I started playing it when I was 13 years old. 4 years later I started on viola.

best musical memory?

At Menuhin Academy we were on tour with Sir Yehudi Menuhin, he was 80 years old, but it was absolutely fantastic. Another memory comes from a masterclass with Igor Ojstrakh who told about his father David and the greatest composers he has met - Shostakovich, Prokofiev. I also have fond memories of hours with Giuranna.

What do you value most about your job?

Varied tasks, and concert programs that require me to stay in shape. I love when we get programs with assistants on so we can play with other amazing musicians.

If you were not a musician, what would you be?

Actor, I think.

What do you do when you are not playing?

When I am not playing or thinking / seeking out new programs (I sit on the ensemble's Program Committee) I like fishing, rowing in a kayak (luckily the two things can be done at the same time), brewing wine on different berries, baking bread, practicing goyu ryu karate and winter baths.

Tobias Lautrup

Photo: Stéphane Tran Ngoc 

Employed by Danish Chamber Players since 2016

Tobias Lautrup, cello

Educated in Aarhus and Berlin. Outgoing and versatile musician who from an early age has been in demand as both soloist and chamber musician, which has brought him far and wide.

When and why did you start playing the cello?

When I was 8, my parents asked if I would play an instrument. Both my sister and my brother were already well on their way to becoming skilled violinists - so at least I didn't play the violin! So it became cello, which I have not regretted.

best musical memory?

When I was studying in Berlin and was at a concert with the Berlin Philharmonic. They played Mahler's 5th Symphony. When they reached the 4th movement, I sat with tears in my eyes, holding the woman I have since married. I will never forget that.

What do you value most about your job?

I have the best colleagues in the world. In addition, it's cool to be a small ensemble playing great music.

If you were not a musician, what would you be?

Archaeologist. Until I grew up. Then I would rather be an IT millionaire. But I have gone a little away from that again.

What do you do when you are not playing?

I have two lovely children who take up most of my free time. But we have still acquired a garden plot south of Køge, where we play the small house on the prairie. We built the house ourselves and it's fun.

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