Jacob Gade's Grant

When Jacob Gade became a widower in 1950 he began formulating the plan to establish a foundation to assist young musicians. He knew that Tango Jalousie had come to stay and that for many years to come it would continue to earn a lot of money. The chairman of the Board of Trustees, the barrister Ove Bisgaard, who was personally acquainted with Jacob Gade for a number of years, has told of the origin and history of the Foundation:

“In 1956, having come to a decision about establishing a foundation, Jacob Gade deposited 100,000 DK in a bank account and spoke to me about it. His wife Mimi had died in 1950 and he could not find a better way to use the income that he - with good reason - expected that the melody [Tango Jalousie] would earn in the coming many years. The trustees, he said, were to find deserving young musicians (and by young he meant under the age of 23), preferably poor and homeless (“on steps and in hallways”). They should be talented, but not necessarily trained at the conservatory, of which he had had a disappointing experience in his youth. The instrument of foundation was worked out by me after his death in accordance with his wishes. The annual awarding of grants is to take place on his birthday and is to be a festive and entertaining occasion with publicity and the attention of the press, as one of the purposes of the award is to advance the reputations of the recipients.”

The first trustees, appointed by Gade himself in his will, were Karl Bjarnhof, a highly-respected author and organist whom he had first met in Vejle, the music critic and composer Axel Kjerulf, the Assens pharmacist and Gade’s long-time friend Jens Strøyberg and the barrister Ove Bisgaard, with the latter as Chairman of the Board. Gade died in the spring of 1963 and Kjerulf died in the autumn; Kjerulf was replaced by another well-known music critic, Robert Naur.

The Foundation’s programme of granting awards came into effect with Jacob Gade’s death and the first recipients to be nominated were the violinists Elisa Andersen and Anker Buch, to receive 20,000 DK and 3 x 20,000 DK respectively. The first awards ceremony took place with great festivity in Willemoesgården in Assens in 1964. The Foundation’s support of worthwhile musical activities is not restricted to individuals and for the next four years school children from all over Funen and North Slesvig were invited and transported by buses to an annual concert in Assens Hall. Among the recipients of group awards who performed at these ceremonies in Assens were Amatørsymfonikerne [The Symphony of Amateur Musicians] (1965), Jette Tikjøb with children from her music school in Århus (1966), The Danish Quartet and The Copenhagen String Quartet (1966) and Flemming and Vivi Flindt in the first performance of the ballet Tango Chicane, with music by Per Nørgård (1967). Later the awards ceremony was moved to Hotel Phønix in Assens, where the film Don Q, Son of Zorro was shown in 1969.

In the 1970s the Foundation initiated the practice of holding the awards ceremony in other places, mainly in Copenhagen and in Vejle (Jacob Gade’s birthplace), but also in Århus, Odense and Randers. Especially in connection with Tango Jalousie’s 50th birthday in 1975 and Jacob Gade’s centenary in 1979, large-scale television-transmitted arrangements were held.

No awards ceremony was held in 1993 as the event, exceptionally, was moved to January 1994 and for the first time held outside the borders of Denmark; it was decided that the ceremony should take place in Helsinki in Finland, since two of the award winners were studying at the Sibelius Academy there at the time. It was an occasion to recognize the friendly relationship that exists between Denmark and Finland and five young Finns were awarded grants to study in Denmark at the Royal Danish Conservatory of Music. There is, moreover, a certain justice in this, as Finland is the country in Scandinavia in which the tango is most popular: Jacob Gade’s two tangos, Tango Jalousie and Tango Romanesca are played very often there.

In 2000, the 75th year of Tango Jalousie, the foundation held an award ceremony at The Tivoli Concert Hall. On that occasion a symphony orchestra, exclusively with former award beneficiaries, were assembled under the direction of Michael Schønwandt. Soloists were Michala Petri, András Adorjan and Katrine Gislinge. There was awarded 10 grants of each DKR 100.000.

In 2007 there was a special award ceremony in The House of the Nord in Thorshavn in the Faroe Islands. In addition to 2 travel grants to Denmark, a grant of DKR 50.000 was also awarded to the Faroese Symphony Orchestra. In the same year a award ceremony was held in Jacob Gades hometown of Assens.

The award ceremony in 2008 took place at the Art Museum of Bornholm. In 2009 the ceremony and concert was held in DR’s new Koncerthus. DR Big Band performed an entire concert exclusively with new arrangements of Jacob Gades melodies.

In 2010 the award ceremony took place at Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, where Bella and Alexandre Zapolski played together with many of the children they teach. They also received an award of DKR 50.000 for spreading the art of music to the Danish youth.

The regular 1994 awards ceremony, at which three young violinists received awards, took place in connection with a concert of the Sorø International Music Festival, which on that occasion also received a grant from the Foundation. The Trustees have always regarded the general encouragement of musical performance amongst both young people and adults as an important part of their responsibility. Thus already in 1966 Jette Tikøb’s music school had received a grant and in 1996 the Suzuki Institute, and in 1998 Sct. Annæ Gymnasium (home of the Copenhagen Boys’ Choir) were similarly endowed, as have been several other choirs and orchestras as well.

By holding the awards ceremonies at different places in Denmark (and on a single occasion outside the country), by inviting well-known soloists and ensembles to perform at these festive occasions and by maintaining a close contact with the press, radio and television, it has been the purpose of the Trustees to make the Foundation, its source of income (in particular Tango Jalousie) and the talented young musicians who receive its awards as widely known as possible.