Léonie Sonning Talent Prize 2019

Christine Bernsted

Art and culture help Christine find the passion of music

When Christine Bernsted starts rehearsing a composition, she often dives into the period when the composition was made. She visits museums and looks at art or reads literature from the same place and period as the composition.

When visiting Vienna in connection with her studies, the architecture, atmosphere and history of the city very much characterise the music she plays. Art history helps her find the feeling of the music and brings the expression into perfection making it as natural as possible.

“It is the process of perfecting the expression and the feelings and sentiment of the music that I find exciting to work with.”

Comes from a home with art

Christine Bernsted grew up at Østerbro in a home filled with art and culture. Her parents worked with art preservation, and even though they were not performing artists, they wanted Christine to play an instrument.

“Learning to play the violin was a project filled with joy. It had to be fun and put meaning into my life as a child. And it continued to do so.”

At 4, Christine started at the Suzuki Institute and, from the beginning, she chose the violin because it was of a practical size and could be taken along on camping holiday. At the Suzuki Institute, you are taught to play by ear without notes so, after a few years, Christine needed challenges.

At 7, she got a new teacher who introduced her to notes which sky-rocketed her musical development. But even though music was now in the young talent’s blood - she only got better and better throughout school - she put music aside at a professional level when starting at Ingrid Jespersens Gymnasium. She needed a different input in life, and it was an active choice to concentrate on other things than music.

You have to be true to yourself

She nevertheless caught up with music later on and, since then, she has studied at the Royal Danish Academy of Music and privately with Professor Boris Kuschnir in Vienna, and she has won a large number of prizes and awards all over the world.

Christine says this about her future: “If you are true to yourself in the decisions you make along the way, you hopefully end up being satisfied with the final result.”

So, it is important to Christine that she is present in everything she does, whether participating in competitions, as a soloist or in a chamber or symphony orchestra.

Christine Bernsted in brief

Born in 1994. Raised in Copenhagen Ø.
Bachelor at the Royal Danish Academy of Music under Professor Tim Frederiksen in 2017.
Master studies at the Royal Danish Academy of Music under Professor Eszter Haffner in 2017.
Private lessons with Professor Boris Kuschnir in Vienna.

The scholarship from the Léonie Sonning Music Foundation

Christine will spend the scholarship from the Léonie Sonning Music Foundation on continued lessons with Professor Boris Kuschnir in Vienna. And Christine’s French violin from 1836 needs to be maintained and improved.