When the Cellos Play, the Cows Come Home
LUND, Denmark — During a recent performance of Tchaikovsky’s “Pezzo Capriccioso,” a handful of audience members leaned forward attentively, their eyes bright, a few encouraging snuffles escaping from the otherwise hushed parterre. Though relative newcomers to classical music, they seemed closely attuned to the eight cellists onstage, raising their heads abruptly as the piece’s languid strains gave way to rapid-fire bow strokes.
When it was over, amid the fervent applause and cries of “bravo,” there could be heard a single, appreciative moo.
On Sunday, in Lund, a village about 50 miles south of Copenhagen, a group of elite cellists played two concerts for some music-loving cows and their human counterparts. The culmination of a collaboration between two local cattle farmers, Mogens and Louise Haugaard, and Jacob Shaw, founder of the nearby Scandinavian Cello School, the concerts were meant to attract some attention to the school and the young musicians in residence there. But to judge by the response of both two- and four-legged attendees, it also demonstrated just how popular an initiative that brings cultural life to rural areas can be.
周日，在哥本哈根以南约50英里的隆德村，一群杰出的大提琴演奏家为喜爱音乐的奶牛和他们的人类同伴举办了两场音乐会，这是当地两名养牛人莫根斯(Mogens)和路易丝·豪加德(Louise Haugaard)，以及附近斯堪的纳维亚大提琴学校(Scandinavian Cello School)的创始人雅各布·肖(Jacob Shaw)合作的成果，旨在吸引人们对该校和那里年轻音乐家们的关注。但是，从两条腿和四条腿的观众们的反应来看，这也证明了为农村地区带来文化生活的倡议是多么受欢迎。
Until a few years ago, Shaw, 32, who was born in Britain, had toured the world as a solo cellist, performing in hallowed venues including Carnegie Hall and the Guangzhou Opera House. When he moved to Stevns (the larger municipality to which Lund belongs) and opened the Scandinavian Cello School, he soon discovered that his neighbors the Haugaards, who raise Hereford cows, were also classical music lovers. In fact, Mogens Haugaard, who is also a former mayor of Stevns, sits on the board of the Copenhagen Philharmonic Orchestra.
32岁的肖出生在英国，几年前，他曾作为大提琴独奏家在世界各地巡回演出，在卡内基音乐厅(Carnegie Hall)和广州歌剧院等备受尊崇的场所演出。当他搬到史蒂文斯（隆德所属的自治市），并开办斯堪的纳维亚大提琴学校时，他很快发现，他的邻居——饲养赫里福德奶牛的豪加德夫妇也是古典音乐爱好者。事实上，曾任史蒂文斯市长的莫根斯·豪加德是哥本哈根爱乐乐团(Copenhagen Philharmonic Orchestra)的董事会成员。
When the cellist, who had toured Japan, told the farmer about how the country’s famously pampered Wagyu cows were raised to produce tender beef, it didn’t take much convincing for Mogens Haugaard to adopt one component of their upbringing for his own cattle.
Beginning in November, a boombox playing Mozart and other classical music in the Haugaard barn has serenaded the cows daily. About once a week, Shaw and any students in residence have come over for a live performance.
Although it remains unclear whether the cows’ new listening habits have affected the quality of their meat, the farmer noted that the animals come running whenever the musicians show up and get as close as possible while they play.
“Classical music is very good for humans,” Mogens Haugaard said. “It helps us relax, and cows can tell whether we’re relaxed or not. It makes sense that it would make them feel good too.”
It’s not always good for the people who perform it, however. Shaw said he founded the Scandinavian Cello School to help fledgling musicians prepare for the less glamorous demands of a professional career in an industry that can sometimes chew up young artists in the constant quest for the next big thing.
While touring internationally as a self-managed artist, he found himself exhausted by the grind of negotiating contracts, promoting himself and relentless travel, he said in an interview. That experience — coupled with a stint as a professor at a prestigious music academy in Barcelona — made him realize there was a hole there that needed filling.
In its original incarnation, the Scandinavian Cello School was an itinerant organization — more a traveling boot camp than an academy. But in 2018, Shaw and his girlfriend, violinist Karen Johanne Pedersen, bought a farmhouse in Stevns and turned it into a permanent base for the school. Its students, who come from all over the world and are mostly aged between 17 and 25, stay for short-term residencies to hone their musical as well as professional skills — including how to achieve a work-life balance.
在其最初的版本中，斯堪的纳维亚大提琴学校是一个流动的组织——与其说是学院，不如说是一个旅行训练营。但在2018年，肖和拉小提琴的女友卡伦·约翰娜·佩德森(Karen Johanne Pedersen)在史蒂文斯买了一处农舍，成了学校的永久基地。它的学生来自世界各地，年龄大多在17岁到25岁之间，他们在这里做短期居留，磨练他们的音乐和专业技能——包括如何实现工作与生活的平衡。
The location helps with that. Situated less than a half mile from the sea, the school also offers the visiting musicians the opportunity to help out in a vegetable garden, forage in the nearby forest, fish for dinner or just relax in an area far from the city.
That environment is part of what drew Johannes Gray, a 23-year-old American cellist, currently living in Paris, who won the prestigious Pablo Casals International Award in 2018. Gray initially visited the Scandinavian Cello School in 2019, and then returned for the school’s first post-pandemic intake, attracted by both the career development opportunities and the leisure activities.
这种环境吸引了23岁的美国大提琴手约翰内斯·格雷(Johannes Gray)，他目前居住在巴黎，2018年获得了著名的巴勃罗·卡萨尔斯国际奖(Pablo Casals International Award)。格雷最初于2019年访问了斯堪的纳维亚大提琴学校，然后在学校的大流行后首次招生时回来，他被学校提供的职业发展机会和休闲活动所吸引。
“Jacob’s been giving me advice on how to create a program and basically package it to make it more interesting,” Gray said. “But we’re also both extreme foodies, and we love cooking, so after a long day of practicing, we can go out and fish, or plan this huge feast. It’s not just about the music.”
As much as the musicians benefit from the environment, so this primarily agricultural region profits from the small influx of international artists. The school receives some financial support from local government and businesses. In return, the visiting musicians — seven have come for the current residency — perform at schools and care facilities in the region. And they play for the cows.
Because of coronavirus restrictions, the two concerts on Sunday were held outdoors, and human attendance for each was limited to 35. (Both sold out.) Among the attendees, who had the opportunity to snack on burgers made by a local chef from the Haugaards’ beef, was Denmark’s minister of culture, Joy Mogensen, who noted that this was the first live concert she had attended in six months.
“I’ve witnessed a lot of creativity these last months,” she said in an interview. “But digital just isn’t the same. I hope it’s one of the lessons we take from corona, how much we all — even cows — miss being together for cultural events.”
Both species in attendance seemed to enjoy themselves. Before the concert, the cows were scattered across the field, munching grass in the bright sunshine and nursing their newborn calves. But as the musicians, clad in formal wear, took their seats on the hay-strewn stage, and began the dramatic opening bars of Danish composer Jacob Gade’s “Jalousie (Tango Tzigane),” the cows crowded over to the fence that separated them from the human audience, and jostled for position.
出席的两个物种似乎都很享受。在音乐会开始前，奶牛们分散在草地上，在明媚的阳光下吃草，哺育新生的小牛。但是，当穿着正式服装的乐手们在铺满干草的舞台上就座，开始演奏富有戏剧性的开场乐曲——丹麦作曲家雅各布·盖德(Jacob Gade)的《戈·齐甘尼》(Tango Tzigane)时，奶牛们挤过把它们与人类观众隔开的围栏，争相抢占位置。
“It’s actually nice playing for cows,” Gray said. “We saw it in rehearsal — they really do come over to you. And they have preferences. Did you see how they all left at one point? They’re not really Dvorak fans.”