Paul Hillier steps down as head of Ars Nova


After more than 20 years as chief conductor, approx. 500 concerts and more than 20 CD recordings end the collaboration between Paul Hillier and Ars Nova Copenhagen. His last concert as chief conductor will be in Copenhagen on 29th January 2023.

For over 20 years Ars Nova and Paul Hillier have been making great music together. The ensemble and conductor shared an interest in both early and completely new music, and Paul Hilliers’ curious and exploratory approach to genres and periods have a valuable addition to the Danish musical life.

A striking example from the early years of the collaboration was 'Minimal America', a series of three concerts over three weeks, where American minimalism from John Cage to Philip Glass was presented from a vocal perspective. Another milestone was the recording on four CDs of all of Heinrich Schütz's dramatic works for Christmas and Easter. Under Paul Hillier's artistic direction, the perspective was also broadened with international work commissions from composers such as Bernd Franke, Steve Martland, Arvo Pärt, Huang Ruo and Caroline Shaw (to name just a few).

Paul Hillier states: I am stepping down after having been associated with Ars Nova Copenhagen for over 20 years. I formally became conductor and artistic director in 2001-2, though my first encounters with the group took place in 1996-7. In the summer of 2022 I decided that it was time for a change. I will continue to conduct, primarily with my own group, Theatre of Voices, but I also want more time for writing and not having to travel! My last concert with the group will be in the Library of Congress, Washington D.C., in March 2023: the title of that concert is ‘My End Is My Beginning’ (the name of a song by the medieval composer Machaut). I think of Ars Nova as my friends—we have accomplished many fine things over the years, and I shall miss them and wish them well."

Now Ars Nova will being to explore who will take over the post of chief conductor. During 2023 and 2024 a number of conductors will visit the ensemble.

"Paul creates unique concert experiences for both us singers and for the audience, and he has contributed more than anyone to making Ars Nova an internationally recognized ensemble. We are in a good place when we now set about developing the ensemble in new directions, both artistically and in terms of the audience.” says singer and board member Hanne Marie le Fevre.

"The title of Paul's farewell concert with us is very appropriate: 'My End is my Beginning'. The title is borrowed from a work by the medieval composer Machaut, which is part of the concert's program. Although we are now concluding a long and fruitful period in Ars Nova's history, it, like all endings, also has the potential to be a new beginning for Paul and for Ars Nova.”