Although Frans Rasmussen has conducted at the Royal Danish Opera and Royal Danish Theater, and has led many prominent Danish and European orchestras, he is probably best known for his choral conducting, particularly with the ensemble he founded, the Canzone Choir. With this group he has made a number of acclaimed recordings for the Kontrapunkt label, including a four-volume series, the Danish Song Treasury. Not surprisingly, Rasmussen's orchestral repertory takes in much Danish music, including works by Carl Nielsen, Niels Gade, Rued Langgaard, Johan Peter E. Hartmann, and countless other notables. But he has also conducted many of the standard classics and championed music by contemporary composers, including Gyorgy Ligeti. Rasmussen's eclectic reach is broader still, extending to big band music and symphonic jazz. Further, he is a professor at the Royal Danish Academy of Music, where he has taught orchestral conducting for many years. Besides Kontrapunkt, Rasmussen has recorded for BIS, Dacapo, and Danacord.
Frans Rasmussen was born in Aalborg, Denmark, in 1944. In his youth he studied piano and continued in that pursuit at the Royal Danish Academy of Music, where he also studied conducting. From 1977, he began appearing as a conductor, both in Denmark and abroad.
In 1979 Rasmussen founded the Canzone Choir (Canzonekoret), often called the Canzone Vocal Ensemble on recordings. From 1980-1986 he regularly led performances at the Royal Danish Opera and Theater. By the early '90s Rasmussen was internationally known, both for his work with the Canzone Choir (their 1990 BIS recording of Gade's The Crusader, with Rasmussen leading them and the Århus Symphony Orchestra, was highly acclaimed) and for his operatic and orchestral appearances, which extended across Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Americas.
From 1992-1996 Rasmussen and the Canzone Choir recorded their popular series of four CDs for Kontrapunkt, The Danish Song Treasury, all of which have been reissued in the new century. From 1994-2000 Rasmussen served as artistic director of the Royal Danish Guard Band.
Rasmussen was appointed chairman of the Danish Conductors Association in 1997. In the new century Rasmussen remained active on all fronts, achieving particular distinction for his recordings: he led the Canzone Choir on an acclaimed 2006 Danacord CD of the complete a cappella works of Carl Nielsen. From 2006, Rasmussen held the post of first guest conductor at the Ho Chi Minh City (Viet Nam) Ballet and Symphony Orchestra.