Toowoomba musician Steven Moore has only worked in Denmark for two years, but the country has already given him one of its highest honours.
- Copenhagen-based Steven Moore, from Toowoomba, is chorus master with the Royal Danish Opera
- He has been made a a Knight of the Order of the Dannebrog for his service to the arts
- Mr Moore says the Danish Government is “extremely open” and places a high value on education and the performing arts
Late last year the former University of Southern Queensland student was made a Ridder af Dannebrogordenen (a Knight of the Order of the Dannebrog) for his service to the arts.
Mr Moore moved to the Danish capital Copenhagen after more than a decade working as both a musician and conductor with some of Europe’s most celebrated opera companies, including three years working at London’s Royal Opera House at Covent Garden.
After pursuing conducting jobs across Europe, he landed the role of chorus conductor for the Royal Danish Opera, a development he admits to finding “a bit surreal”.
“I’ve been a repetiteur and I’ve been a conductor, I’ve played in the orchestra, I trained at the Queensland Conservatorium as a singer, but you couldn’t find anywhere on my CV where it said chorus master.
“But it’s just a brilliant place for me to be and I’m loving every minute of it.”
Mr Moore confessed he was “knocked sideways” when he received the email to say he had been nominated for the honour because many of his colleagues with longer careers in the Danish arts community had also done “fantastic work”.
“But actually the support that I got, from every person I spoke to the day I received the award, was absolutely mind blowing,” he said.
A long musical journey
Being made a Knight of the order, an honour which was instituted in 1671, was the highlight of a musical career that began back in his home town of Toowoomba when he began learning the piano at the age of five.
At age seven, Mr Moore pestered his way into the Philharmonic Society Youth Choir a year earlier than the usual admission age.
“My two sisters were already in the choir and I was singing along to everything all the time,” he said.
“So they said, ‘all right, you can come’.”
So began a musical journey that eventually took him all around the world and eventually to Copenhagen’s Amalienborg Palace, where Queen Margrethe presented him with the award in December.
It was another acknowledgement of the importance of the performing arts, by a Danish government Mr Moore described as “extremely open and very social”.
“The way the government deal with education and health care and the university systems, the way it supports the performing arts in the theatres as well as sport, it’s extremely open,” he said.
“It’s a high tax, but you get a lot out of that and I feel like they really work to take care of each other.”
‘I feel at home’ in Denmark
Like Australians, the Danes, Mr Moore said, were a people who enjoyed life and the outdoors even though Denmark’s climate is not always as comfortable as ours.
“Every summer down by the harbour, it’s absolutely jam-packed with people going and having a beer after work, catching up with each other and chilling out in the park,” he said.
“There are a lot of similarities between us which I really appreciate. I feel really at home here.”
Mr Moore said the country’s laid-back nature was particularly evident in its approach to its royal family which, despite being universally revered, were still able to take part in the daily life of the city without fuss.
“The Queen will come to the opera house and to the ballet and, you know, she’ll just be there,” he said.
“Crown Prince Frederick and Crown Princess Mary love to go jogging and at a half marathon here recently, he was out there running with the people.
“They’re very much the people’s monarchy.”