Jens Johansen (DK) is educated from the department of Musicology at the University of Aarhus and has later taken a musically theoretic and pedagogic exam at the Royal Music Academy, Aarhus. Today he works as an associate professor in musicology at the University of Aarhus. In 1991 Jens formed the danish pop choir Vocal Line and since then he´s been the choir’s permanent conductor and focal point. Vocal Line and Jens are very well known in the circles of choir music all across the world. Jens has most recently been the principal organiser and chairman of the Aarhus Vocal Festival (AAVF), the biggest festival for modern rhythmic a cappella music of the North.
Jens Johansen, you are one of the co-founders of AAVF and has been a driving force in the work behind the festival for 15 years! Now you are saying good bye as a chairman of the board of AAVF. What made you decide this way?
It was not an easy decision for me, because I had such a wonderful time working with a dedicated team and the many volunteers. It has been so satisfying to watch the festival grow. The support from the international vocal community has been overwhelming, and for that I am forever thankful! But I feel now the time is right to step down and let the younger generation take over. In fact, they already did that years ago 🙂
You pass on the baton to Tine Fris-Ronsfeld who has been working side by side with you at the festival for many years. Which are the most important qualities she will need to take this position?
Tine has all the qualities needed already and much more than that! She has a huge talent for organizing, and through the last years she has lifted the organization of the festival to a higher level. She has already for some years been the real driving force behind the festival, together with me and the rest of the dedicated board, of course! I want to thank them all for their amazing and innovative work!
In which way will you stay connected with AAVF in the future?
I will support the festival the best I can with my experience and my national and international connections. But it is very important for me to say, that I will not be looking the board over their shoulders. If they want my help in any way, I will be there. And I am ready to sweep the floor again, when the party is over 🙂
You are the conductor of the famous danish pop choir Vocal Line. Will you continue leading Vocal Line? What are the next projects of Vocal Line in the time after the pandemic?
YES! One of the reasons that I leave the board of AAVF is that I want to concentrate more on my work with Vocal Line. We are intensely working on a big “comeback” when the pandemic is over. I just couldn’t stand to see it all ending here! For a long time, we have been planning a big 30-year anniversary concert tour in Denmark, and we had to postpone it to 2022. We are also planning several tours in Germany and Belgium.
On 21st and 22nd of May 2021, there will be the first Aarhus Online Vocal Festival. Please tell us, what the participants can be looking forward to on these two days?
Everything, that you could possibly dream of for an online vocal festival! Check the full program on www.aavf.dk/eaavf or on Facebook.
Next year, from 3rd to 6th of June 2022, AAVF will finally take place again in Aarhus. What are your plans for 2022?
Actually, we had almost the whole program ready, but then came the pandemic. You will have to wait and see, but one thing I can assure you: I will be there with Vocal Line 🙂
Thank you so much, Jens, for being THE leader in the popular choir scene in Europe. You moved a lot! ❤️
© Header picture: Gorm Olesen