Risør Chamber Music Festival anniversary tour

Risør Chamber Music Festival celebrates its 20th anniversary with a tour that includes performances with its celebrated artistic leader Leif Ove Andsnes and a long list of lauded soloists for a string of concerts in Brussels, London and New York.

Late November and early December sees the celebrated Risør Chamber Music Festival and its Artistic Director, Norway’s most internationally recognized classical performer, pianist Leif Ove Andsnes, celebrating its 20th Anniversary with a tour that includes performances in Brussels, London and New York.

The tour features the festival’s resident string orchestra and such soloists as Marc-André Hamelin (piano), Henning Kraggerud (violin), Lars Anders Tomter (viola), Torleif Thedéen (cello), Measha Brueggergosman (soprano), Martin Fröst (clarinet), Øyvind Bjorå (violin) as well as Leif Ove Andsnes. The repertoire includes key works by Bartók, Honegger, Berg, Stravinsky, Debussy Mozart, Mahler, Strauss, Grieg, Brahms, Wagner and Honegger as well as more contemporary pieces by Bent Sørensen and Rolf Wallin.

Since 1991 Leif Ove Andsnes has been Co-Artistic Director, with violist Lars Anders Tomter, of the internationally renowned chamber music festival based in the small fishing town of Risør on the southeastern coast of Norway. Each year some of the world’s leading musicians converge there for an intensive period of rehearsals and performances, and this year the special atmosphere of these performances comes to Wigmore Hall in London, Carnegie Hall in New York and Palais des Beux-Arts in Brussels in a series of concerts. Andsnes is now stepping down as the festival’s AD but joins the ranks of Risør as the festival celebrates two decades as one the world’s most celebrated chamber music festivals by bringing a touch of its magic to the audiences of Brussels, London and New York.

More than anywhere else Leif Ove has exercised his artistic freedom at the Risør Festival of Chamber Music. Under the artistic direction of Andsnes and Lars Anders Tomter the festival has been established as one of the best and most popular chamber music festivals in the world, not least among the musicians. Says Andsnes: -I think it is very important and wholesome that musicians take things into their own hands. In the classical world things have a tendency to become very abstract; you travel around the world and work within a framework engineered by others. At Risør everything is very concrete and hands-on.

Leif Ove Andsnes started as artistic director at Risør almost twenty years ago, when he was still very young. In his extremely busy international schedule it has become one of the very few regular events of the year, and a sanctuary.

-Yes, Risør has become an important anchorage for me personally and socially, says Andsnes. Over the years I have met so many people and made so many friends there. Many of the people involved with the festival are like an extended family of mine.

The festival used to take its theme from a composer, but for the past three years they have opted for a more conceptual approach. Last year the leitmotiv was revolution:

-Our notion is to focus on composers that were audacious and made great artistic leaps in their time. The chief character is Beethoven, he is the most revolutionary composer of all, but we also want to present the revolutionary context that he worked within. He was a child of the French revolution: ideas of struggle, uprising and victory permeated the whole of society. We want to exhibit the importance of context and point to the fact that politics and art are always intertwined. At Risør we certainly hope that there will be a lot of yelling and throwing of tomatoes.

Leif Ove Andsnes on Spotify

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