A Unique Concert Series Developed by Hess is More
‘Apollonian Circles’ is a multi-disciplinary musical concert and art installation experience that combines elements of electronic music, jazz, theater, and performance art. Each performance hinges on audience participation and improvisation guiding an ever-changing narrative of artistic expression – we are all participants reflecting one another’s experience as if in a hall of mirrors.
The music is composed and arranged by the Danish multi-instrumentalist Mikkel Hess and performed by his band (“Hess Is More”) comprised of musicians from Copenhagen and New York and featuring notable guests such as acclaimed singer Mette Lindberg. The scenography is developed by Danish theater luminaries Christian Friedländer and Dicki Lakha in collaboration with award winning director Tue Beiring and costumes by fashion design superstar Henrik Vibskov.
This project explores the very definition of what audiences have come to expect from a traditional concert. From the moment they arrive, attendees are transported to a mysterious dream-like space where the unexpected can happen. ‘Apollonian Circles’ premiered at Kunsthal Charlottenborg in the capital of Denmark during the Copenhagen Jazz Festival in July 2019 and reprised with a “winter version” at Huset KBH in February 2020 – both were great successes with sold-out shows and ecstatic media attention.
For Summer of 2019, the set-up was light, white, and summery in the high-ceilinged bright rooms of Charlottenborg. The show began in sunlight and ended in candle-snuffed darkness. The Winter 2020 performance was the spiritual inverse, set in the windowless black box theater Xenon (in Huset KBH), beginning in darkness and ending in light. In this way, we pass the torch of the seasons from one incarnation of ‘Apollonian Circles’ to the next.
In the literal center of the room is a large table (decorated with other-worldly artifacts and ornaments) that is both stage and set piece for the performers and audience to gather. This is a holistic approach to putting on a concert, as conceptualized by Hess Is More and Kaja MANAGEMENT. Joining everyone around the table – an enduring cultural symbol of unity and celebration – breaks down the barrier between art and spectator and all performative aspects of the evening are shared.
Synopsis Tue Biering, theater director
Apollonian Circles is a constantly evolving musical live work. With changing groups of artists, concert formats and the relationship between music, musicians and the audience are explored and challenged. For me, it is a study of music that becomes physical. For me, it’s about stepping into a musical universe. Becoming close to the music. Close to the musicians. By inviting musicians, scenographers, designers, artists, directors together into different spaces, we believe in the very best opportunities to create some of the experiences we do not yet know that we would like to give a future audience.
Artist statement Mikkel Hess, composer
The Apollonian Circles grow out of a constant longing for integration. We feel deeply grateful to share the beauty of collaboration, innovation, cameradery and joy.
”Mikkel Hess’ most outstanding showcase was the dramatic Hess Is More: Apollonian Circle, a protean performance piece that incorporated immaculate set design and costuming with progressive pop, electronica and jazz, as well as wine, poetry and dance.”
“Cross-aesthetic music performance staged with enthusiasm.”
“Thanks for having me – you guys were phenomenal”
Jillionaire, DJ and producer
“After experiencing the Apollonian Circles, I had a feeling of being integrated in the music and the performance, as if it was only related to us who were present in that space, and it was created for us in that moment. And there was a really beautiful balance between composition and improvisation. It was lively, but never felt unstructured.”
Nanna Øland (Oh Land), singer and musician
“Last Friday I was invited to Hess Is More. I did so again on Saturday – because it was, without comparison, one of the greatest musical experiences I’ve had. So tight – so many genres, sounds, changes in beats and layers, and all performed to perfection, and in a universe that was so accomplished, well thought out, inclusive and yet top arrogant in just the right way! Thank you with all my heart for one night, after the other, where my body turned into an instrument that silently stood and danced with you in the dark! Thanks for the most beautiful dinner ever!”
Sarah Grünewald, TV host and actor
“It was absolutely, beyond amazing! Mind-blowing! […] A kind of concert mood, impregnation of your mind. It felt like it was almost a religious experience. It was really cool, I think […] A huge recommendation! You really have to keep an eye on that! I want to experience that from now on, always.”
Review by Signe Lindkvist and Iben Hjejle in the Danish podcast Sitter
“.. an holistic experience with beautiful slogan-like lyrics with an absolute focus on essence accompanied by almost trance-inducing music .. the feeling of being part of the music as a whole was present .. soooo good ..”
Flemming & Asta, audience review on Facebook