Deutsche Grammophon to release complete Carl Nielsen cycle with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra and Fabio Luisi

Deutsche Grammophon’s first complete recording of Nielsen’s six symphonies is set for international release in April 2022, culminating with a box set edition for the Carl Nielsen Festival in 2023.

The Danish National Symphony Orchestra and Fabio Luisi. Photo: Per Morten Abrahamsen.

The Italian conductor Fabio Luisi has been captivated by Denmark’s national composer Carl Nielsen (1874-1931) ever since he took over his position as chief conductor of the Danish National Symphony Orchestra in 2016.

After five years of acclaimed live performances of Nielsen’s symphonies in Europe, USA, Japan, and China, the winning combination of Luisi, his Danish orchestra and Nielsen will now be available on record for the first time.

The legendary record label Deutsche Grammophon has agreed to release their first complete recording cycle with Carl Nielsen’s six symphonies with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra and Fabio Luisi, appearing from April 2022. Following the release of the three individual albums, a special box set edition of the symphonies will be released during the Carl Nielsen Festival in DR Koncerthuset, Copenhagen, in the spring of 2023.

The entire Festival will be recorded for TV and Streaming and made available worldwide through DR’s and Deutsche Grammophon’s mediapartner, EuroArts Music International.

Fabio Luisi, Chief Conductor of the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, states:

- The Danish National Symphony Orchestra and I are delighted to join Deutsche Grammophon for this important release cycle, following in the footsteps of so many legendary artists. I am particularly pleased to see the complete symphonies of Carl Nielsen being featured under the famous yellow logo, placing the composer in the canon of great 20th century composers which is fully deserved.

The Danish National Symphony Orchestra is internationally acclaimed for its special Nordic way of playing Carl Nielsen’s music, cultivated through generations of musicians ever since the composer himself conducted the orchestra’s debut concert in 1925. For Fabio Luisi, however, the symphonies of Carl Nielsen were a relatively new acquaintance when he took over the position as the orchestra’s Chief Conductor in 2016. Exactly this combination might explain the recent international success of his Nielsen interpretations with the orchestra.

- For me, exploring Nielsen’s symphonies together with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra has been almost like a love affair. The more familiar I have become with this music, the more fascinating I find it, and it seems that this approach adds an extra dimension to the orchestra’s strong Nordic Nielsen tradition. Nielsen is a highly interesting, complex and deeply original composer, and I am very grateful that our new recording cycle for Deutsche Grammophon will let his music reach an even greater audience.

Angelika Meissner, Director Classical, Artists & Repertoire, welcomes the Nielsen cycle as an important addition to Deutsche Grammophon’s catalogue:

- Carl Nielsen’s symphonies, deeply rooted in Denmark’s landscape and culture yet universal in their appeal, are among the greatest ever written. We’re delighted to be partners in creating a new recorded cycle of these extraordinarily powerful works with an orchestra so closely associated with Nielsen and a conductor who is so open to fresh ideas and inspiration.

Bernd Hellthaler, Managing Director at EuroArts Music International GmbH adds: “It is a wonderful mission with The Danish National Symphony Orchestra, Maestro Luisi and the Deutsche Grammophon, to make the music of Carl Nielsen even more popular.”

To conclude the new Nielsen cycle, Deutsche Grammophon will release an exclusive box set edition during the Carl Nielsen Festival in April 2023. The festival will take place at DR Koncerthuset, Copenhagen, presenting all Nielsen symphonies with Fabio Luisi and the Danish National Symphony Orchestra.

Press quotes

The Danish National Symphony Orchestra play with marvelous commitment and finesse.” Gramophone Critics’ Choice 2020

The performances make a powerful case for both the orchestra itself — a nimble, resourceful ensemble distinguished by sinewy string sections and warm brass playing — and for Nielsen’s music. The orchestra members seemed to have Nielsen’s distinctively pointed language in their veins, and Fabio Luisi spurred the ensemble to extravagant shows of passionSan Francisco Chronicle 2017

Call it Nordic storm meets Italian seduction. Maestro Luisi is the right man to lead this fine orchestra.” Classical Voice, USA 2017

About The Danish National Symphony Orchestra

The Danish National Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1925 as part of the Danish Broadcasting Corporation. Among the conductors at the orchestra’s very first concerts in 1925 was Denmark’s national composer Carl Nielsen, whose six symphonies remain signature works of the orchestra to this day. Today, it the Danish National Symphony Orchestra is one of the leading symphony orchestras in Europe, performing with the world’s leading conductors and soloists.

Since 2016, the Chief Conductor of the Danish National Symphony Orchestra has been Fabio Luisi, who succeeded the late Spanish maestro Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos. Former Principal Conductors and Principal Guest Conductors include Herbert Blomstedt (conductor laureate), Thomas Dausgaard, Gerd Albrecht, Leif Segerstam, Dmitri Kitajenko and Yuri Temirkanov.

The Danish National Symphony Orchestra has performed with a.o. Anne Sophie Mutter, Leonidas Kavakos, Renée Fleming, Yo-Yo Ma, Leif Ove Andsnes, Lang Lang, Anna Netrebko, Daniel Barenboim, Elisabeth Leonskaja, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Yehudi Menuhin and Itzhak Pearlman.

The orchestra has toured extensively in the USA, in South America, China, Japan and in most countries in Europe, and performed at some of the most prestigious venues including Carnegie Hall, Royal Albert Hall, Berlin Philharmonic, Suntory Hall, Cologne Philharmonic, Concertgebouw and Musikverein (Vienna).

Each year more than 100,000 music-lovers experience live symphonic music with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra – both in the spectacular hall of DR Koncerthuset (designed by Jean Nouvel) and on the Orchestra’s annual concert tour abroad. In addition to the concert audiences, the Orchestra’s popular Thursday Concerts are enjoyed by many Danes on radio and TV, and millions tune in when the concerts are broadcast internationally.

About Fabio Luisi

Grammy and ECHO Klassik Award-winner Fabio Luisi serves as Chief Conductor of the Danish National Symphony Orchestra as well as General Music Director of the Zurich Opera, and from the 2020-21 season he is also the chief conductor of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.

Luisi received a Grammy Award for his leadership of the last two operas of Der Ring des Nibelungen, when Deutsche Grammophon’s DVD release of the cycle, recorded live at the Met, was named Best Opera Recording of 2012. His extensive discography also features operas by Verdi, Salieri, and Bellini; symphonies by Honegger, Respighi, and Liszt; works by Franz Schmidt and Richard Strauss; and an award-winning account of Bruckner’s Ninth Symphony. In 2015, Philharmonia Zurich inaugurated its Philharmonia Records label with Luisi recordings of Berlioz, Wagner, and Rigoletto, followed by Rachmaninov Piano Concertos with Lise de la Salle and Luisi’s rare account of the original version of Bruckner’s Eighth Symphony.

As former Chief Conductor of the Vienna Symphony, Luisi was honored with the orchestra’s Golden Bruckner Medal and Ring. Other previous appointments include General Music Director of Dresden’s Staatskapelle and Sächsische Staatsoper, Artistic Director of Leipzig Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk, Music Director of the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Chief Conductor of the Tonkünstler-Orchester in Vienna, and Artistic Director of the Graz Symphony.

A native of Genoa, Luisi was awarded the Grifo d’Oro for his contributions to the city’s cultural legacy. Off the podium, he is a passionate perfume maker; sales from his one-person operation,, benefit the Luisi Academy for Music and Visual Arts.