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Erindringsbilder – Risør Chamber Music Festival 2023

Welcome everyone!

The title of this year’s festival can give rise to many associations. It points to what has been. Some can experience that it has within it something fragile and beautiful. Perhaps a little longing? It is about remembering – or, not forgetting. Erindringsbilder (images of reminiscence) contain many different sides, and we experience that they open more than they limit.

And hopefully, trigger curiosity!

For example, the concert we have chosen to call The Three Giants is about the meeting between Brahms, Grieg and Tchaikovsky on New Year’s Day 1888. And the concert Friends of Munch, about Edvard Munch and his musical friends. Risør celebrates its 300th anniversary this year, and the concert Romantiske Risør creates a picture – a reminiscence – of the new Romantics in Risør, with Agathe Backer Grøndahl, Arne Garborg, and Gustav Mahler.

Magical Risør

If I myself reminisce back to 2009 and my first festival in Risør, I have a clear picture that I am traveling to the coolest festival in the world Now some years have past, and I have become older and richer in experience, yet still feel Risør Chamber Music Festival is the world’s coolest. I can’t find the words to express just how incredible it’s been to be the artistic leader for the festival.

The town of Risør has such a unique atmosphere, and is the perfect place to create a festival, full of both grand and intimate concert experiences. I love that the musicians and I can get together for a chat with the public, while we walk across the town square in the sun with an ice cream in the hand, on the way to the next rehearsal or concert!

We are close to each other here, and that’s where the magic happens.

Musicians from all over the world

Every year going forward, I will have with me a guest leader and sparring partner, someone to play ball with, bounce ideas off of, and who will take responsibility for some of the year’s concerts. This year that person is the pianist Alice Sara Ott. We got to know each other when I lived in Berlin, and she is not just an inspiring and unique musician, but a good friend. Alice is greatly looking forward to coming to Risør!

There will be concerts in Risør Kirke (Risør Church), Hollanderhagen (The Dutch Gardens), on Torvet (The Square), “at home with…” concerts, and not least a big anniversary concert on Stangholmen island! There will be night concerts, children’s concerts, and a festival pub. This festival is for everyone! Experiences stand in line, one after the other, and the whole thing finishes off with Beethoven’s Third Piano Concerto with Alice Sara Ott and the Risør Festival Strings. An event not to be missed!

I am very enthusiastic about this year’s musicians. One of the greatest joys of being artistic leader is the ability to invite good colleagues and musicians I love to play with. Musicians I admire, and who I want all of you to experience as well. Karen Gomyo, Mari Eriksmoen, Isata Kanneh-Mason, Julia Hagen, Enrico Pace and Benjamin Appl are coming. There will be authentic tango with Cuarteto SolTango, and unique experiences with Marit Larsen and Ingrid Bjørnov. And the Risør Festival Strings. And I haven’t even mentioned them all.