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Leif Ove Andsnes Launches Norway’s Inaugural Rosendal Chamber Music Festival in August 2016

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As the six-time Gramophone Award-winner announced, the annual Rosendal Chamber Music Festival will take place in the picturesque setting of Western Norway’s historic Rosendal estate, where Andsnes – a Rosendal regular for more than 20 years – will serve as Founding Director. Boasting a stellar roster of guest artists that includes Vilde Frang, Sol Gabetta, Matthias Goerne, and the Brentano String Quartet, the inaugural festival is scheduled for August 11–14, 2016.

Set in a green valley beneath dramatic mountains, the village of Rosendal may be reached by boat from Norway’s Bergen airport. The Baroniet Rosendal Manor House and Gardens date from 1661, when Ludwig Rosenkrantz and his young wife Karen created the lavish estate that would, 17 years later, be designated Norway’s sole Barony by King Christian V of Denmark and Norway. Today the house and its beautifully kept gardens offer visitors a glimpse of Norwegian history in one of the country’s most spectacular natural settings.

August 2016 marks not only the inaugural Rosendal Chamber Music Festival, but also the opening of Rosendal’s new concert hall, which was converted from an original barn on the estate, and seats 400. Alongside performances in the manor house, the four-day festival will feature concerts on the new stage and in the whitewashed 13th-century Kvinnherad Church. Complementary lectures and open discussions will also be on offer.

Andsnes gave his first concert at Rosendal in 1992, and since 1995 he has performed at the manor house at least once each summer. He comments:

“Baroniet Rosendal is a very special place and music has been a part of its cultural life for generations. It’s incredible to think that artists and musicians have been crossing the fjord for over 300 years and amongst them were apparently both Edvard Grieg and Ole Bull – our Bergen musical legends. The idea for an intimate festival running over a long weekend grew from my love of Baroniet Rosendal and has been made possible by the addition of the new concert hall.

 “We have also been extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to purchase two Steinway grand pianos that I happened to come across whilst they were being restored. One of them, dating from the 1980s, I actually played on for my first Schubert recording (the Sonata in A major, D.959) nearly 15 years ago, so it will be special to see it housed in the Manor House alongside the existing historical instruments collection, which includes an 1860 Pleyel piano.”

At the inaugural festival, the pianist will be joined by other Norwegian and international artists, including pianists Bertrand Chamayou and Jie Zhang, violinists Vilde Frang and Guro Kleven Hagen, violist Eivind Holtsmark Ringstad, cellists Sol Gabetta and Frida Fredrikke Vaaler Wærvågen, double bassist Marius Flatby, soprano Mari Eriksmoen, baritone Matthias Goerne, clarinetist Sharon Kam, bassoonist Peter Whelan, horn player Ragnhild Lothe, and the Brentano String Quartet.

For the first festival’s theme, Andsnes has chosen the year “1828.” Franz Schubert died on November 19, 1828 at just 31 years old, leaving behind him an extraordinary legacy of more than 1,500 works. Despite being severely ill throughout the last year of his life, the composer’s creativity continued to flow and he produced some of his most remarkable works in his final months. Each festival concert will feature at least one of the works Schubert composed during his final year: Schwanengesang, Piano Trios Nos. 1 & 2, the String Quintet in C, Fugue in E minor and Fantasie in F minor for piano four-hands, and the touching and life-affirming “The Shepherd on a Rock.” Other repertoire will include John Harbison’s haunting piano quartet November 19, 1828 (1988), which depicts the day of Schubert’s death and imagines his journey to “the other side,” and Jörg Widmann’s Idyll and Abyss (2009), an intriguing contemporary piece inspired by Schubert’s piano writing and expressive style.

To complement the festival, in collaboration with Bergen’s KODE Art Museum, Baroniet Rosendal will present an exhibition of paintings by legendary Swiss artist Paul Klee, an active amateur musician whose work had a profound impact on many 20th-century composers. The opening concert will include Arne Nordheim’s Partita für Paul (1985), comprising five pieces for solo violin inspired by particular Klee paintings. Throughout the weekend, the festival will host lectures about the last year of Schubert’s life and the musical inspiration of Klee.

Rosendal Chamber Music Festival extends deep thanks to the Kristian Gerhard Jebsen Foundation, whose meaningful financial support has made the festival’s ambitious artistic goals attainable.


First Annual Rosendal Chamber Music Festival, Aug 11–14, 2016
Founding Director: Leif Ove Andsnes

Thurs, Aug 11 at 7pm
Great Hall, Baroniet Rosendal
Schubert: String Quartet “Death and the Maiden,” D. 810
Nordheim: Partita for Paul (1985)
Schubert: Schwanengesang, D. 957
With Brentano String Quartet; Guro Kleven Hagen, violin; Matthias Goerne, baritone; Leif Ove Andsnes, piano

Fri, Aug 12 at 5pm
Great Hall, Baroniet Rosendal
Schubert: Deutsche Tanze, D.790
Ravel: Valses nobles et sentimentales
Berg: Vier Stücke, Op. 5
Schubert: Piano Trio No. 2 in E-flat, D. 929
With Bertrand Chamayou, piano; Sharon Kam, clarinet; Leif Ove Andsnes, piano; Vilde Frang, violin; Sol Gabetta, cello

Fri, Aug 12 at 10pm
Kvinnherad Church
Harbison: November 19, 1828 (1988)
Schubert: String Quintet in C, D. 956
Leif Ove Andsnes, piano; Guro Kleven Hagen, violin; Eivind Holtsmark Ringstad, viola; Frida Fredrikke Vaaler Wærvågen, cello; Brentano String Quartet; Sol Gabetta, cello

Sat, Aug 13 at 11am & 1pm
Red Room, Baroniet Rosendal
Schubert: String Trio movement, D. 471
Schubert: Arpeggione Sonata, D. 821
Schubert:  Sonatina No. 1 in D, D. 384
Schubert: From 3 Piano Pieces, No. 2 in E-flat, D. 946
With Guro Kleven Hagen, violin; Eivind Holtsmark Ringstad, viola; Frida Fredrikke Vaaler Wærvågen, cello; Eivind Holtsmark Ringstad, viola; Jie Zhang, piano; Leif Ove Andsnes, piano

Sat, Aug 13 at 6pm
Great Hall, Baroniet Rosendal
Schubert: Fugue in E minor, D. 952
Widmann: Idyll and Abyss (2009)
Ravel: Piano Trio in A minor (1914)
Schubert: Octet in F, D. 803
With Leif Ove Andsnes, Bertrand Chamayou, and Jie Zhang, piano; Vilde Frang, violin; Sol Gabetta, cello; Marius Flatby, double-bass; Sharon Kam, clarinet; Peter Whelan, bassoon; Ragnhild Lothe, horn; Brentano String Quartet

Sun, Aug 14 at 12:30pm & 2:30pm
Red Room, Baroniet Rosendal
Schumann:  Märchenerzählungen, Op. 132
Schubert: Piano Trio No. 1 in B-flat, D. 898
With Sharon Kam, clarinet, Eivind Holtsmark Ringstad, viola; Leif Ove Andsnes, piano; Guro Kleven Hagen, violin; Frida Fredrikke Vaaler Wærvågen, cello; Jie Zhang, piano

Sun, Aug 14 at 6pm
Kvinnherad Church
Schubert: Fantasie in C, D. 934
Schubert: Suleika 1, D. 720
Schubert: Sei mir gegrüsst, D. 741
Schubert: “The Shepherd on the Rock,” D. 965
Debussy: Cello Sonata (1915)
Schubert: Fantasie in F minor for piano four-hands, D. 940
With Vilde Frang, violin; Bertrand Chamayou, piano; Mari Eriksmoen, soprano; Sharon Kam, clarinet; Leif Ove Andsnes, piano; Sol Gabetta, cello

Getting there: The village of Rosendal is connected by buses, boats and roads from Bergen, Oslo and Stavanger. An express boat leaves Bergen airport and city center twice a day for Rosendal, with a journey time of just under 2 hours.


Where to stay:
Rosendal Fjordhotel, 5470 Rosendal
Rosendal Avlsgård, 5470 Rosendal,
Rosendal Turisthotell, Skålagato 17

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© 21C Media Group, November 2015

(photo: Oezguer Albayrak)

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