Normally when I cover a festival, I have to at least try and maintain a certain degree of professional critical distance. In this case, it is simply not realistic. It is probably not possible to be closer to the Pulsar festival than I currently am without being directly in it myself. I am a recent graduate of the Royal Danish Academy of Music, where I studied for four years, which meant four years of having my works played at Pulsar. I know all the teachers and the majority of the students personally. I know how this festival works behind the scenes. I am even working for the festival’s education outreach project – going into gymnasiums with the student composers, and moderating presentations of their works – which means I have some insider knowledge of the pieces beforehand.
The system needs to change
Pulsar Festival 2020 took place under the shadow of Marcela Lucatelli’s ‘RGBW’. Tellingly, the most interesting pieces that were actually performed failed to fit into the system – and the larger institutions should take note of this before they find they are being left behind.