The Norwegian Soloists’ Choir has a busy festival season ahead with concerts being held at festivals both at home and abroad, the release of a CD and the celebration of Knut Nysted’s 100th anniversary. Welcome to our exciting autumn season which will include concerts featuring both old and completely new music, as well as recordings which will evoke the experiences acquired at these concerts – again and again.
Festival profile at the St. Olav Festival
The Soloists’ Choir will have the pleasure of opening the St. Olav Festival in Nidaros Cathedral next week (1900 hrs on Tuesday 28 July) with the première of Ståle Kleiberg’s Mass for a Modern Man. This work will be performed by the soprano Mari Eriksmoen, the baritone Johannes Weisser, the Norwegian Soloists’ Choir and the Trondheim Sinfonietta, conducted by Eivind Gullberg Jensen. The Soloists’ Choir will also have a key role during the festival’s closing concert at 2230 hrs on Saturday 1 August: a seven-hour long night concert where John Tavener’s mammoth sacred work, Veil of the Temple, will be performed by more than 200 choristers and around 20 musicians under the direction of Stephen Layton. The Soloists’ Choir will also be holding a separate Recital with guest conductor Stephen Layton and the Baroque musicians Christian Kjos (organ) and Gunnar Hauge (cello) in the Church of Our Lady (Vår Frues kirke) at 1600 hrs on Wednesday 29 July. Please visit the St. Olav Festival’s website for more information about the programme and ticket sales.
Première during the Oslo Jazz Festival
During the Oslo Jazz Festival the Soloists’ Choir will also be involved in another première. The percussionist Paolo Vinaccia has composed a work at the request of the Festival entitled Dommedag – ifølge Paulus (Judgement Day – According to St. Paul). This work will be performed by the Soloists’ Choir, Vinaccia himself, the guitarist Eivind Aarset and the conductor Grete Pedersen in Oslo Cathedral at 2200 hrs on Wednesday 12 August. Audun Aschim Steffensen has written the choral arrangement and Vinaccia has also invited David Solheim (sound), Tord Knudsen (visuals) and Erlend Sæverud (video/images) along in order to take full advantage of Oslo Cathedral for their video and sound projections. Dommedag – ifølge Paulus will be a unique audiovisual experience. They will be presenting the première of a work composed by a visionary musician and composer, with a visual expression tailored for the occasion.
Concert in Milan and Jukebox at the Castle
During the last week of August the Soloists’ Choir will be performing in two completely different arenas in Milan and in Oslo. In 2014 the Norwegian Soloists’ Choir held a concert with the renowned Italian chamber ensemble Accademia Bizantina and their artistic director Ottavio Dantone during the Oslo International Church Music Festival. This joint venture is now being revisited with a concert to be held during the Milano Arte Musica Festival. The programme includes the St. John Passion by J. S. Bach. The concert will take place in the Basilica Santa Maria della Passione on Friday 28 August. The Soloists’ Choir has been awarded a Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs travel grant by Music Norway for this venture. On the following day a quartet from the Soloists’ Choir will participate in Verdens Kuleste Dag (the World’s Coolest Day) at Akershus Fortress. This is a day of activities for families with children organised by the DNB Savings Bank Foundation where people can learn more about the projects that are supported by the Foundation. The Soloists’ Choir will be accompanied by its caravan which is better known as the Jukebox: 4 vocalists will hold mini concerts in the caravan, singing songs which the audience can freely select from the Choir’s jukebox menu. The event will take place between 1100 and 1600 hrs on Saturday 29 August and all the activities are free of charge. All the activities are presented on this website where you can also put together your own activity chart for Verdens Kuleste Dag.
Anniversary celebrations and CD launch
Knut Nystedt’s 100th anniversary will be celebrated during the following week. The Soloists’ Choir will celebrate the fact that the Choir’s conductor was born on 3 September 1915. He conducted the Choir for 40 years, from the time when it first started in 1950 and right up until 1990. In this connection the Soloists’ Choir will be releasing a CD entitled Meins Lebens Licht with works by Knut Nystedt and his huge source of inspiration, Johann Sebastian Bach. The anniversary celebrations will start with a concert in Levanger Church at 1730 hrs on 3 September. They will continue in Jeløy Church at 1900 hrs on Friday 4 September and conclude with a concert in the University Aula at 1800 hrs on Saturday 5 September with an introduction by Arild Erikstad at 1715 hrs. The Norwegian Soloists’ Choir, the string orchestra Ensemble Allegria and the conductor Grete Pedersen will be present throughout the tour ,and the Concentus Women’s Choir from Sandnes, which collaborated closely with Knut Nystedt during the 2000s, will also perform during the concert in Oslo. In addition to the release of the Choir’s anniversary CD Meins Lebens Licht at the concert in Oslo, an anniversary book about Mr. Nystedt will also be launched. This was written by the former Secretary General of the Norwegian Choir Association, Kåre Hanken and the publisher Leif Dramstad (Norwegian Music Publishers). Further information about programmes and ticket sales can be found on the Soloists’ Choir’s website. These concerts are included in the Soloists’ Choir’s Oslo Series.
Première during the Ultima Festival
The Norwegian Soloists’ Choir will also be holding its own concert this year during the Ultima Festival in the University’s Gamle Festsal at 1300 hrs on Saturday 19 September. The Soloists’ Choir is looking forward to presenting a new work by the exciting composer Jan Erik Mikalsen who earlier on this year won a prestigious competition called the International Rostrum of Composers. Mr. Mikalsen was commissioned by the Norwegian Soloists’ Choir to write the work entitled Sonette for Choir which will be premièred at the Ultima Festival. The Choir will also be performing a work by Edvin Østergaard entitled Unpredictable Moments and a piece by Maja Linderoth entitled Sonatform denaturerad prosa. The concert will be conducted by Grete Pedersen and in addition to the Norwegian Soloists’ Choir it will also feature Håkon Thelin and Dan Styffe on the double bass. The concert will be included in the Ultima Academy symposium and in this context it will be introduced by the scientist Alf Bjørseth. Mr. Bjørseth is a doctor of chemistry, a founder, an industrial developer and an inspirational promoter of research. For further information about the concert and ticket sales please visit the Soloists’ Choir’s website.
Cooperation with guest conductor James Wood
In October the British percussionist, composer and conductor James Wood has been invited to Norway in order to conduct two concerts with the Norwegian Soloists’ Choir. Mr. Wood specialises in the interpretation of the Italian Renaissance composer Carlo Gesualdo and he has gained wide international recognition for his recordings of Gesualdo’s works. During the concerts with the Norwegian Soloists’ Choir Mr. Wood will present works by Gesualdo in combination with two dramatic works from the 1900s entitled Cries. This title reflects the drama played out in the music which is to be performed. Part of the 1969 work Cries by the Andalucian composer Maurice Ohana forms the core of this concert programme – and the title of the concert was also inspired by it. Maybe singing originally developed from such a cry? The cries in the work entitled Nuits by Ohana’s good friend Iannis Xenakis reflect the latter’s experiences with the Greek resistance movement during the 2nd World War and refer in particular to the fate of six political prisoners as well as “thousands of others whose names are lost” – a phenomenon which is becoming increasingly more relevant in today’s violent world. In addition to the two works mentioned, two works by Egil Hovland will be performed: Jerusalem and Agnus Dei. The first concert will be held during the Egil Hovland Festival in Østre Fredrikstad at 2000 hrs on Saturday 10 October. The second concert will be held in Gamle Aker Church at 1800 hrs on Sunday 11 October.
“Thursday Live” and Christmas tour
In November the Norwegian Soloists’ Choir will be involved in the Norwegian Armed Forces’ commemorative service in Akershus Castle Church on Sunday 1 November. The Norwegian Broadcasting Orchestra and its Peruvian conductor Miguel Harth-Bedoya have invited the Soloists’ Choir to appear on Thursday Live in Grønland Church at 1930 hrs on Thursday 3 December. During the concert Mr. Bedoya will be presenting the audience with new, exciting Latin American music in combination with Peruvian Baroque music and works from our Norwegian musical heritage. The following week the Soloists’ Choir will start touring with the Ensemble Allegria string orchestra and conductor Grete Pedersen. The programme will include folk songs from the Soloists’ Choir’s critically acclaimed Christmas CD Rós – Songs of Christmas in combination with works by J. S. Bach. The 2015 season will be rounded off with these concerts as well as the project designed to perform all of J. S. Bach’s motets during the Oslo series. The Soloists’ Choir is planning to hold three Christmas concerts during the period 11-13 December with a closing concert in Oslo at 1900 hrs on Sunday 13 December. Concert locations and information about ticket sales will be advertised on the Soloists’ Choir’s website.