Digital concert: Opening of
Oslo Church Music Festival

World premiere of Bent Sørensens' St. Matthew Passion

World premiere of Sørensen's St Matthew Passion

In 2020,
the Oslo International Church Music Festival commissioned a new St Matthew Passion from the Danish composer Bent Sørensen. The premiere was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, but now, one year later, we finally have the pleasure of presenting the work for the first time.

Sørensen is one of the most recognized composers of our time, sought-after in Denmark and the rest of Europe. It is therefore a major event when this commissioned work is presented at the festival's opening concert.

The text of the work is curated by Jakob Holtze. As the title suggests, much of the text material is taken from the Gospel of Matthew. Holtze has also added fragments from the Gospel of John, from traditional mass texts, and poetry by, among others, Edith Södergran, Anna Akhmatova, Emily Dickinson, and Danish lyricist Søren Ulrik Thomsen.

The texts depict the Passion story, in what Sørensen himself describes as "the passion of Jesus, humanity, life and love". The string orchestra and the singers are divided in two groups that are placed far apart in the church. There are also four solo roles in the work, all filled by vocalists from the Soloists' Choir.


Ensemble Allegria

Ensemble Allegria is considered among Norway´s leading music ensembles and are known for combining high artistic quality with spontaneity and flexibility. Ensemble Allegria is comprised of 23 musicians and since its beginning, the orchestra has been managed independently by its own members. Its permanent concertmaster and artistic director is Maria Angelika Carlsen.

The Norwegian Soloists' Choir

The Norwegian Soloists' Choir is an innovative young ensemble, steeped in a rich history. As one of Europe's leading chamber choirs, they perform spectacular concerts in Norway and abroad, in concert halls and churches, in caravans and in abandoned factory venues. The Norwegian Soloists' Choir consists of 26 hand-picked, professional singers who have a tremendous ability to blend their voices, resulting in a highly distinctive choral expression. Along with its celebrated artistic leader Grete Pedersen, the choir achieves ambitious artistic goals through constant development.

Grete Pedersen

Since 1990 the choir has sung under the leadership of Grete Pedersen, one of the most renowned conductors in the international choral scene. She is a demanded guest conductor and has worked with the Eric Ericson Kammerchor, Schwedischen Rundfunkchor, Netherlands RadioChor, Netherlands Chamber Choir, Danish National Vocal Ensemble and Choir, Rundfunkchor Berlin, Pro Coro Canada, Tokyo Cantat, World Youth Choir among others.

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