After a two year hiatus from the concert stage due to a mysterious ailment that has prevented cellist Truls Mørk from touring and performing, the celebrated performer made a triumphant return in Oslo this week, performing Dvorak's Cello Concerto with the Oslo Philharmonic Wednesday and conductor Eivind Gullberg Jensen .
Not only did Mørk return to form, matching past levels of musicianship, he was also awarded the annual Sibelius Prize - a prize awarded to those who have made a major contribution to promote contact between Finnish and Norwegian musical life. Previous winners include conductor Jukka-Pekka Saraste, soprano Randi Stene and pianists Leif Ove Andsnes and Håvard Gimse.
On Wednesday it was Mørk’s turn to be bestowed with the award and a check for NOK 100,000, after violinist Stephan Barratt-Due of the Sibelius foundation called his comeback “historic.”
Wrote Norwgian daily in its review of the Oslo Concert House performance: 'The man is back! Even the almost unplayable passages of in Dvorák's Cello Concerto were playfully delivered. Intensity, intonation, musicality – Mørk still possesses all of his trademark skills. Perhaps it was the circumstances surrounding the event, but still, wasn’t there a new dimension to his performance this night? The solemn passages in the first and second movement were certainly presented with a reflection and sensitivity that captivated the audience and orchestra.'
Mørk fell ill while touring Japan in 2009, and has been unable to perform in the following two years. He was eventually diagnosed with a rare form of encephalitis which was treatable, and after a lengthy rehabilitation, was finally able to perform again.
Truls Mørk initiated his professional career by winning a series of international competitions, among them the Moscow Tchaikovsky Competition in 1982, thus becoming the first Scandinavian musician to win this prestigious contest.
From this bright start Mørk rapidly ascended in the world of international classical soloists and despite some setbacks due to his Norwegian origin –not an asset relating to the big markets of classical music- and the lack of a proper agent, he made his final international breakthrough in 1988.
Since then he has performed with many of the world’s most renowned orchestras and conductors. Established as one of the world’s most sought-after cellists his career now typically sends him travelling around the world –his cello, a 1723 Domenico Montagnana, in the airplane seat beside him- 250 days a year.
Of his many recordings for Virgin Classics several have been awarded, winning him a Grammy as well as other prestigious prizes.
Mørk is famous for the great dynamism of his playing; oscillating from fierce intensity to utmost grace, not only in the music itself but also in the onstage physical performance. This has made him a favourite among audiences, because rather than drawing attention away from the music, watching Mørk play magnifies the experience of the exquisite music that flows from the cello.
Truls Mørk is a Virgin Classics artist and recent recordings include Chopin’s cello sonata together with transcriptions for cello and piano with Kathryn Stott, the Schumann Cello Concerto with Paavo Järvi and the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, and the complete Bach suites. This season will also see the release of the Brahms Double concerto with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra under Chailly with Vadim Repin on the Deutsche Grammophon label and Haflidi Hallgrímsson's works for cello and orchestra for Ondine.
Truls Mørk, Cellist