Biography Joel Frederiksen
Bassist and lutenist Joel Frederiksen lives in Munich, Germany. He has performed with leading figures in early music, including Dame Emma Kirkby, Andrew Parrott, Rubén Dubrovsky, and Jordi Savall, and with leading ensembles such as the Netherlands Bach Society, Freiburger Baroque Orchestra, Bach Consort Wien, Ensemble Gilles Binchois, and the Huelgas Ensemble. Frederiksen studied voice and lute in New York and Michigan, where he earned his master's degree. Between 1990 and 1999, he was a member of two early music ensembles in the United States, The Waverly Consort and Boston Camerata. His versatile basso-profondo voice and expressive performances have earned him worldwide acclaim.
Joel Frederiksen has devoted many years to his specialty, self-accompanied lute song. After moving to Germany, he founded Ensemble Phoenix Munich (EPM) in 2003 for the CD recording of Orpheus, I am. In 2007, the early music series "Between Mars and Venus" was founded with concerts mainly in the Bavarian National Museum in Munich. In four concerts per season, they have explored English, Italian, French, Spanish and German repertoire from the Renaissance and Baroque periods. Forays into the earliest music of Frederiksen's homeland, the United States, saw the release of the highly acclaimed harmonia mundi France disc Rose of Sharon in 2011.
EPM's debut CD for harmonia mundi France, The Elfin Knight, was released in August 2007 to rave reviews and was re-released on their Gold label in 2018. In 2008, Joel Frederiksen was named Classical Musician of the Year by the Munich Evening News. He received the German Record Critics' Prize (Best List) in November 2008 for his second harmonia mundi release, O felice morire, and the French critics award Orphée d’Or (Academie du Disque Lyrique - Motette von Mikołaj Zieleński mit u.a. Dame Emma Kirkby, DUX CD; Martti Talvela Preis) in 2011. The EPM recording Requiem for a Pink Moon was awarded the German Echo Prize in 2013. He has been honored several times by his alma mater, Oakland University (MA Early Music), Michigan, receiving the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2012.
Frederiksen continues to perform as a guest artist throughout Europe and the U.S. and is under exclusive contract with SONY Records. The 2016 release with SONY/Deutsche Harmonia Mundi, Tell me true love (music of John Dowland) was followed in 2018 by a CD of Spanish and Latin American music for Christmas, Un niño nos es naçido (A Child for us is born). In Hanoi and Saigon, Vietnam, EPM presented German and Italian baroque music as guests of the Goethe Institute in November 2019. In December 2019, Frederiksen toured as bass soloist singing Monteverdi's Marian Vespers together with the Netherlands Bach Society conducted by Andrew Parrott. Highlights of 2020 included Orpheus, I am concerts in Germany, Switzerland, France and Malta, and a U.S. tour with the Boston Camerata of The Play of Daniel as King Darius. Due to the Corona pandemic, almost all other performances in 2020-21, and many in 2022, were cancelled.
Thanks in part to grants from the Goethe Institute and Neustart Kultur, Joel Frederiksen developed and recorded a new program: A Day with Suzanne - A Tribute to Leonard Cohen (French Chansons of the Renaissance meet Songs of Leonard Cohen; CD, SONY/Deutsche Harmonia Mundi, January 2023). Another project, Walther von der Vogelweide - a wandering life (Courtly Songs of the Middle Ages), was recorded in 2022 by the Bavarian Radio. The SONY/DHM CD, and accompanying documentary film about Walther von der Vogelweide, will be released in May, 2023.
In October 2022 EPM was able to mount a production of the monumental work La Pellegrina - the Florentine Intermedii of 1589 with modern dance. Performances were given as part of Munich's Residenzwochen in the Antiquarium, in Augsburg's Golden Hall, and in the Wilhelma Theater, Stuttgart.
For Joel Frederiksen, 2023 includes an exciting mix of collaborations with familiar colleagues and new ones. Performances this Spring with the Belgian-based Pluto Ensemble will bring him to Brussels and Regensburg, and with Vox Luminis he will appear in Paris, Amsterdam and Brussels.
Ensemble Phoenix Munich continues its 20th year anniversary celebration with concerts in Munich, around Europe, and in North America, and the release of a documentary film and two new CDs. In addition, we welcome two new agencies, one in Spain and the other in Canada, to our list of valued collaborators.