ARS NOVA Copenhagen was founded in 1979 and is widely recognized as one of the world's finest vocal ensembles. The esemble's chief conductor and artistic director since 2003 is the acclaimed British conductor Paul Hillier. Ars Nova has also worked with a.o. Bo Holten, Tamás Vetö (both former chief conductors), Kaspars Putnins, Andrew Lawrence King, Anthony Rooley, Kees Boeke, Michael Bojesen and Søren K. Hansen (all of whom have appeared as guest conductors).
The ensemble specializes in the interpretation of the polyphonic choral music of the renaissance and new vocal music. Ars Nova is also building collaborations with creative artists in different fields such as drama, film, and ballet, as well as cultivating new modes of concert performance and innovative repertoire.
The group's performances are marked with precision and nerve and with a sound that attracts attention worldwide. With an annual concert season in Copenhagen and Aarhus, numerous concerts in the rest of Denmark and recurring tours worldwide, the group is now more in demand than ever. In the coming year the group will visit several countries. In 2015 Ars Nova completed a longer tour to China with more than ten concerts as a significant part of the Danish cultural campaign in the country. In 2016 it co-organized The Nordic Choir Expedition presenting the leading Nordic choirs and vocal ensembles in each of the Nordic capital cities. Upcoming tours include Spain and the USA.
Ars Nova has recorded a large number of CDs winning numerous awards, including a Grammy for The Little Match Girl Passion with music by David Lang (Harmonia Mundi). Among the most recent CDs are Songs for Choir by the prominent Danish composer Carl Nielsen who would have turned 150 in 2015 (Dacapo Records), Gallos y Huesos with music by Pablo Ortiz, a contemporary Argentinian composer (Orchid Classics) and First Drop – a new recital CD featuring music by Howard Skempton, Michael Gordon, David Lang, Kevin Volans, Pablo Ortiz, Louis Andriessen, Gabriel Jackson, Steve Reich and Terry Riley (Cantaloupe).
For many years, Heinrich Schütz has occupied an important place in Ars Nova’s repertoire and during the years 2008-2011 the group recorded his complete ‘dramatic' works for Easter and Christmas. The four CDs (also available as a box-set) have all received enthusiastic reviews in the international music press. This was reflected when, in 2014, Ars Nova was invited to be artist in residence at the German Heinrich Schütz Musikfest in and around the composer's hometown Dresden.
Other notable recent releases are Creator Spiritus with music by Arvo Pärt (Harmonia Mundi) and The Golden Age of English Part Songs (Dacapo Records) featuring a line-up of top Danish vocal composers from the past 200 years.