Laura Toxvaerd - composer, saxophonist, researcher



Composition of graphic and sonic works through the improvisers’ co-creation

(view on - LINK)

By Laura Toxværd 2015-2016 as an adjunct lecturer at the Rhythmic Music Conservatory, Copenhagen. The project was carried out on the basis of a positive evaluation from the Danish Ministry of Culture’s Committee for Artistic Research and funded by the committee’s pool funds.


Short project description

Taking my compositions as a point of departure, the project investigates the improvisers’ co-creation in the compositional process. The composer (in this case, I) explores how improvisers’ ideas can be integrated in the development of the compositions, and explores what impact the integration has on the works of art. In the project, graphic scores are being designed, through the means of which I am seeking to bring forth new aesthetic forms of expressions.

Along the way in this project, I have been creating new compositions that came to be drawn out as scores, which were continually adapted and re-arranged on the basis of the improvising musicians’ concert performances of the existing compositions. The musicians, besides myself on alto sax and clarinet, were the trio Dødens Garderobe: Jeppe Zeeberg , piano; Nicolai Kaas Claesson, bass; Rune Lohse, drums. 

The working method could be characterized as an iterative artistic developmental process, which shuttled back and forth between my own compositional work, together with the design and elaboration of the graphic scores, and the videotaped rehearsals and performances of my compositions with the collaborating musicians.

Example of a video recording from a process concert during the project held at RMC and organized in collaboration with the composer collective SKRÆP - LINK

A main result in relation to the project’s method (transferable to other practice-oriented art forms) is the development of this collaborative working process where repeated video filmed performances were analyzed and became the new material for the next revision and the next performance.


The artistic result of the project is a multi-modal work which can be heard, read and seen:

  • The art book Compositions - 18 Graphic Scores internationally released and distributed by publisher Forlaget Spring containing the project’s scores together with texts wherein I describe my work process including my reflections on the artistic choices, the methods, the premises and the contexts - LINK
  • The international release and distribution by the indie label ILK Music of the two vinyl/digital albums Compositions Part 1 & Part 2 live-recorded at the project’s final concert in Jazzhouse, Copenhagen, where the majority of the project’s compositions were performed by myself (alto sax, clarinet, vocal), Carsten Dahl (piano), Raymond Strid (drums), Jonas Westergaard (bass, vocal) & by the trio Dødens Garderobe - LINK & LINK


Presentations of the project

05.11.2016: Participant in the panel of discussion, presentation and concert (& co-arranger) at the Danish artistic research network’s Artistic Research Festival, Royal Danish Academy of Music - LINK

09.09.2016: Presentation at the peer reviewed international artistic research conference "Doctors in Performance", Royal Irish Academy of Music - LINK & LINK

20.05.2016: Presentation at the conference "Musikpædagogik - opgaver og udfordringer", DPU, Aarhus University - LINK

13.04. 2016: Presentation at the Rhythmic Music Conservatory consisting of at trio concert, lecture about the project’s artistic choices/methods, critical response from internal and external opponents, discussion with the opponents and questions from the audience. In addition release of the project’s book Compositions - 18 Graphic Scores - LINK

17.03.2016: The double concert Laura Toxvaerd Compositions in Jazzhouse, Copenhagen, where the majority of the project’s graphic scores were performed by two different ensembles - LINK

18.11.2015: Presentation of preliminary research results at the peer reviewed international artistic research symposium "Unfolding the Process", Norwegian Academy of Music, The Arne Norheim Center for Artistic Research - LINK

12.11.2015: Presentation of preliminary research results at the Danish artistic research network’s seminar at Schæffergården - LINK


Further presentations

US tour with performances of the project's graphic scores (Aug 2017): New York City concert video - LINK, concert preview in Chicago Reader - LINK

Royal Danish Academy of Music (summer 2017): Compositions - 18 Graphic Scores exhibited at the library

DownBeat (May, 2017): Artist portrait and interview with description of the project - LINK

"Komposition af grafiske og soniske værker gennem improvisatorers medskabelse" in Haugland, A.G. (ed.) (2016) Kunstnerisk udviklingsvirksomhed - antologi 2016. Frederiksberg: The Royal Danish Academy of Music - LINK

DownBeat (Oct, 2016): Project mentioned in an article about Copenhagen Jazz Festival - LINK

The New York City Jazz Record (Sept, 2016): Project mentioned in an article about Copenhagen Jazz Festival - LINK

Jazzhouse&Global Magasin (Febr./March, 2016): Interview and graphic scores shown - LINK

DownBeat (March, 2016): Interview in an article about the record label ILK - LINK

New York University, Dept. of Music & Performing arts (Febr, 2016): Research visit to Prof. David J. Elliott

Artistic Research Forum, Kristiansand, Norway (Oct, 2015): Nordic guest

The European Platform for Artistic Research in Music Conference in Graz, Austria (April 2015): Participant

Supervisors’ Seminar & Norwegian Artistic Research Spring Forum in Asker, Norway (March 2015): Nordic guest

RMC’s website, interview - LINK

Continuous blogging and video clips at RMC’s website, example - LINK

The project’s artistic results are by The New York City Jazz Record selected as 'honorable mentions - new releases 2016', 'recommended new releases' (Oct & Nov, 2016) and reviewed (Febr, 2017) - LINK. Reviews also in Jazz Journal (Jan, 2017), A Jazz Noise (Jan, 2017) - LINK, Jazzmosaïek (Sept, 2016) - LINK, Lira (Sept, 2016) - LINK, Jazz Special (Sept, 2016) - LINK, JazzNyt (August, 2016) - LINK, salt-peanuts (July, 2016) - LINK, and Weekendavisen (July, 2016) - LINK