H Y G G E (HOO-Gah)
S E S S I O N S
Hygge is the Danish word for “cosy” or “comfortable”
These informal music concerts connect people together through food and drink, audience participation, and talks from musicians.
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What is Hygge Sessions?
A concert series of music that connects people together through audience participation, informal settings, and talks from the musicians.
Created and directed by Erik Fauss amidst the Coronavirus pandemic, this project started virtually and seeks to address worldwide feelings of isolation and fear. Expect the unexpected. This is not a typical classical music event. Preconceptions of “audience” and “performer” are challenged, and participants are encouraged to share their feelings and responses to the music. Performers may speak about the repertoire, ask questions to the audience, and/or remain available after the concerts for questions and conversation.
What is hygge?
Roughly translated as “cosiness,” it is a Danish word used to express feelings of contentment, wellness, and conviviality. The term may have stemmed from the Old Norse word “hygga” or “hugge,” meaning to embrace, hug, or comfort. Today it is a way of life that is practiced throughout Scandinavia, especially during the long and dark winter months. Friends and family gather together in blankets and fluffy pillows around candles and fairy lights, drinking hot chocolate or mulled wine, and delighting in a cheerful camaraderie with one another. It’s a time to indulge, rest, and rejuvenate.
Countdown until Hygge Session 6.0
Selections from works by Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Prokofiev, and Webern
Meet the Musicians!
Hygge Sessions features Garywn Linnell and Xiaowen Shang, recent graduates of the Royal Academy of Music
Born in Vancouver, Canada, the ﬁrst contact Garwyn Linnell had with music was listening to his father play The Beatles and sing/play folk tunes on the guitar as a child. It wasn’t until he was 10 years old when a combination of having the opportunity to start learning the cello in school and hearing Yo-Yo Ma’s recording of Bach’s ﬁrst Cello Suite made him fall in love with the instrument. Deciding to further his studies in music, Garwyn was accepted into the class of Christoph Richter at the Folkwang University of the Arts in Essen, Germany where he completed his bachelor’s degree. An avid chamber musician, Garwyn has also had the opportunity to perform as a soloist, and an orchestral musician in a wide range of venues and countries from small churches in Italy to concert halls in China. While classical music is his primary area of focus, he also has had the pleasure to collaborate and perform with various artists within the ﬁelds of dance, contemporary music, improvisation, jazz, and even poetry. After completing his bachelor’s degree in Essen, Garwyn sought out his current professor and member of the Doric Quartet, John Myerscough, and has recently finished his master’s degree at the Royal Academy of Music. Aside from playing the cello, Garwyn enjoys taking care of plants, spending time in nature, photography, and writing poetry.
Xiaowen Shang is a pianist, harpsichordist and versatile musician, interested in early, classical and contemporary music. She has a wide range of repertoire from Renaissance composers such as Orlando Gibbons to contemporary composers like John Cage. Xiaowen is also enthusiastic to collaborate with other musicians, composers and artists, including improvising with silent films, playing concerts with animation and premiering new works.
Xiaowen is studying with Joanna MacGregor at the Royal Academy of Music in London, entering her fourth year as an undergraduate with an ongoing full Entrance Scholarship. She received many awards in her school career. Her recent awards include Harold Samuel Bach Prize (harpsichord) and the May Mukle/Douglas Cameron Prize (cello and piano duo) in 2021. She also received the First Prize in the WCOM Harriet Cohen Bach Competition(piano) in the Royal Academy of Music in 2019. Because of the prize, she was invited to join the Yeomen musician program in The Musician’s Company.
As an active musician performing on stage, her recent important performances include the Vaughan Williams’s Piano quintet in C minor at the Victoria and Albert Museum with the Whitman Ensemble in June and the harpsichord soloist of the Bach Keyboard concerto in F minor with the famous violinist, Rachel Podger as part of the “Bach the European” series in the Royal Academy of Music in April. She also performed in other venues and festivals such as St. James’s Piccadilly, Bloomsbury Festival and Dartington Festival. In addition, she has been performing in every Summer and Autumn Piano Festival of Royal Academy of Music from 2018 to 2021. Her upcoming performances involve the Leatherhead Concert series in October and the Chamber Festival in the Royal Academy of Music in November.