Why cellists in Denmark give weekly live concerts – for the cows


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Cattle farmer Louise Haugaard isn’t sure her cows really enjoy watching live cello performances, but she thinks they love it.

About once a week, students from the Scandinavian Cello School in the municipality of Stevns in Denmark come to Haugaard’s farm to play soothing classical music to his cattle.

“Musicians say when they play something [the cows] like many, they relate to musicians,” Haugaard said. As it happens host Carol Of.

“We think we have to [mean] they particularly love music. But we can’t know, because they can’t tell us.”

Shaw and his cello students play classical music in a barn as cows watch. (Julia Severinsen)

The cow concerts are the brainchild of school founder Jacob Shaw. A few years ago, the cellist – who has toured the world performing in the best concert halls – settled near the Haugaard farm.

According to the New York Times, Shaw told Haugaard and her husband how Japan’s famous Wagyu cows are pampered throughout their lives in order to produce more tender beef. Classical music is a key part of this pampering.

So the farmers decided to try it themselves. They set up a boombox in the barn where they keep their 60 heifers so the critters can be serenaded regularly. Then, about once a week, the cows are treated to intimate live performances by Shaw and his students in residence.

“We think it’s good for the animals,” Haugaard said. “They’re relaxing and enjoying a lot – we’re guessing.”

Shaw serenades cows in a barn on a farm in Lund, Denmark. (Julia Severinsen)

Cows are not the only ones to benefit from this unique collaboration. Over the weekend, Shaw and his students performed several concerts on the farm, for both humans and livestock.

Haugaard and Shaw saw it as an opportunity to promote both the farm and the school, which attracts elite young musicians from around the world who come to study music and learn practical skills such as booking gigs, preparing competitions and promoting their work online. .

Due to coronavirus restrictions, performances have been limited to 35 people, outdoors and in a tent with the cows nearby.

Danish Culture Minister Joy Mogensen was among the attendees. She told The Times she was grateful for the chance to see live music for the first time in six months.

“I’ve witnessed a lot of creativity over the past few months,” she told the newspaper. “But digital just isn’t the same. I hope that’s one of the lessons we learn from corona, how much we all – even the cows – miss being together for cultural events. .”

Attendees were also invited to sample beer and burgers from the farm while enjoying the music.

Asked how the cows might feel about people eating their brothers during the show, Haugaard replied, “I hope they didn’t know. They didn’t know, I think.”

Written by Sheena Goodyear. Interview conducted by Katie Geleff.


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