Anna Laerkesen was raised in Copenhagen, Denmark, and received her early ballet training under Edith Franz. In 1959, Ms. Laerkesen entered The Royal Danish Ballet Theatre as a member of the corps de ballet and was promoted to Soloist in 1962, and Principal Ballerina in 1966. Guest appearances included roles with The National Ballets of Canada and Stockholm, and Eliot Feld Ballet, as well as international tours with The Royal Danish Ballet. Ms. Laerkesen retired from The Royal Danish Ballet in 1984 and started working as a choreographer in 1986. In 1988, she participated in The Northern Choreographic Workshop and also premiered her first major ballet, When I'm in the Air, for The Royal Danish Ballet. She has since gone on to create many works for her native company — Manhattan Abstraction (1989), Polacca (1992), and Patita (1990), which was filmed for Danish television. Her ballet, Kinder Toten Lieder, had its premiere with The Royal Danish Ballet in November, 1992. Outside The Royal Danish Ballet, Ms. Laerkesen has choreographed Sonate for 7 for The Summer Dance Festival at the Thorvaldsens Museum, and Salute to Bournonville, a pas de deux for the Erik Bruhn Competition.
Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) was born in Hamburg, Germany, and became popular as a pianist and conductor. Though living in the days of the romantic composers, his own work was always in the classical mold. He composed almost exclusively instrumental music, including four symphonies, concertos, and a wide variety of chamber music. When Brahms first composed this concerto there were four movements; he later eliminated the middle ones and rewrote the Adagio. The concerto was dedicated to Joseph Joachim, a violinist, composer, conductor, and teacher with whom Brahms had a long friendship; the rondo finale has a slightly Hungarian feel to it in honor of Joachim's origin. The first performance was in 1879 at the Leipzig Gewandhaus with Joachim as soloist.