At the premiere of Young Euro Classic in the millennial year of 2000, the young Norwegian musicians of the Ungdomssymfonikerne already performed at the Konzerthaus, and they have returned regularly ever since to win the hearts of Berlin audiences with their Scandinavian programmes, most recently in 2015 and 2016. Works by living composers offer interesting insights into Norway’s thriving music scene. The national Norwegian youth orchestra was founded in 1973 to give talented young musicians from Norway and other Nordic music academies the opportunity to gather first experiences with professional working conditions. The annual summer working phase lasts three to four weeks and takes place in Elverum in Southern Norway. Outstanding Norwegian artists, such as the pianists Leif Ove Andsnes and Håvard Gimse, the cellist Truls Mørk and the trumpet player Ole Edvard Antonsen have been the prominent soloists at the final concerts in Norway and other European countries.
The 42-year-old Swedish conductor Johannes Gustavsson began his musical career as a violist before choosing conducting as his main focus. Winning the Sir Georg Solti Competition in Frankfurt and the Toscanini Competition in Parma paved the way, as did the Swedish Conductor’s Prize and the Herbert Blomstedt Award. Ever since, Gustavsson has conducted all the major orchestras in Scandinavia, including the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic and the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, the Oslo Philharmonic and the Philharmonic Orchestras in Helsinki and Turku. Since 2012 the Swede has been chief conductor of the Oulu Symphony Orchestra; since 2015 he has been chief conductor of the Wermland Opera as well. Gustavsson has led world premieres of more than 50 orchestral works by Nordic composers; he also recorded many of these compositions for CD, e.g. works by Anders Eliasson, CFE Horneman, Tobias Broström, Britta Byström and Einar Englung.
Born in 1969 in Molde, Norway, Ann-Helen Moen is a lyric soprano known for her clarity and beauty of tone as well as for the focus of her delivery, whether in concert or on the opera stage. She studied at the Grieg Academy in Bergen and at the Opera Academy in Copenhagen. Ann-Helen Moen started her career as a company member at the Opera Graz, and has appeared at the Hannover State Opera, the Zurich Opera, the Danish National Opera, the Théâtre Paris Villette and at companies in Germany, Sweden and Ireland. Ann-Helen Moen is widely recognised as a significant interpreter of Mozart, and has sung Donna Anna, Zerlina (Don Giovanni), Pamina and First Lady (The Magic Flute) at The Norwegian Opera & Ballet in Oslo. Her repertoire also includes Sandrina (La finta giardiniera), Donna Elvira, (Don Giovanni) and the Countess (The Marriage of Figaro). She has given concerts with such distinguished ensembles as the Bach Collegium Japan and the MDR Symphony Orchestra. In 2000 she received the highest distinction for Norwegian singers, the Esso Award.
The bass-baritone Håvard Stensvold is one of Norway’s leading concert and opera singers and regularly appears throughout Europe, far beyond his hometown of Oslo. In addition to all major Mozart roles, his repertoire includes mainly 17th– and 18th-century operas, e.g. Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea, Handel’s Acis and Galatea and Purcell’s The Indian Queen. On the other hand, Stensvold is a champion of contemporary opera; thus, he appeared in the premieres of Cecilie Ore’s opera Dead Beat Escapement (2008) und in Knut Vaage’s Khairos (2013) at the Norwegian National Opera in Oslo. As a concert singer, Stensvold has appeared with the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin in Bach’s Mass in B-Minor; further engagements have led him to work with renowned Early Music conductors such as Giovanni Antonini, Fabio Biondi, Paul Goodwin, Andrew Manze, Robin Ticciati and Bruno Weil.
“Eleven Gates” (2006)
Songs for Soprano and Orchestra:
“Solveig’s Song” from Op. 23 (1874/1892)
“The Last Spring” Op. 33 No. 2 (1880)
“Near Rondane” Op. 33 No. 9 (1973-80)
“A Swan“ Op. 25 No. 2 (1876)
"Zur Rosenzeit" Op. 48 No. 5 (1889)
"Ein Traum" Op. 48 No. 6 (1889)
Symphony No. 3 “Sinfonia espansiva” in D-Minor Op. 27 (1912)
7 pm: Pre-Concert Talk with Anne Kussmaul at the Werner-Otto-Saal
Free admission for ticket holders at 6:45 pm
From their homeland high up north, they have enthralled the Young Euro Classic audience more than once in recent years. The Ungdomssymfonikerne, the best young musicians of Norway, are compelling with their combination of excellent quality and the joy of their music-making. Moreover, they offer fascinating programmes in which their Nordic home always plays a decisive role. This also applies for this summer, when the Norwegians perform a programme that is Scandinavian through and through! The centrepiece is the imposing Symphony No. 3 by the Danish composer Carl Nielsen, an unconventional work perched on the threshold of modernism, featuring vocal soloists and bearing the sobriquet “Sinfonia espansiva”. The contemporary work this year was written by the Swedish composer Anders Hillborg, whose works are played throughout the world. And last but not least, they pay homage to Norway’s patron saint of music, Edvard Grieg, whose beautiful songs for soprano and orchestra are heard.
This concert is recorded by Deutschlandfunk Kultur and broadcasted nationwide – via FM, DAB +, Kabel, online and app. The date of broadcast is August 17, 2018, 20:03-22:00.
The concert will be streamed LIVE and ON DEMAND on ARTE CONCERT: concert.arte.tv/young-euro-classic