OPENING CONCERT IN C MINOR
CATHERINE BULLOCK, VIOLA
AUDUN SANDVIK, CELLO
THORMOD RØNNING KVAM, PIANO
As the opening of the 2021 'Grieg in Bergen’ following a year with scarce live performances, few works are better suited than Brahms’ 3rd Piano Quartet.
With its dramatic, long melodic lines, a Scherzo resembling the rock’n'roll of the 19th century and one of Brahms' most beautiful Andante movements, this work is a high point amongst all piano quartets written.
We will also hear Beethoven’s beautiful String Trio – slightly more playful and Haydnesque than Grieg’s underrated Andante con moto. Although this is a programme fully set in C minor, Brahms does surprise us with a major C at the very end – symbolising that we are indeed approaching better times.
Andante Con Moto, EG 116 for Piano Trio
L.v. BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
String Trio, Op 9 No 3
II. Adagio con espressione
III. Scherzo: Allegro molto e vivace
IV. Finale: Presto
J. BRAHMS (1833-1897)
Piano Quartet in c minor, Op 60
I. Allegro non troppo
II. Scherzo: Allegro
IV. Finale: Allegro comodo
of festivals, including The Bergen Festival, the Northern Lights Festival, the Vestfold Festival, Festival Celloarte and Classica & Dintorni. Her concert at the Brighton Festival in 2004 was described by critics as "the most exciting music on the festival." Together with guitarist Martin Haug, she formed the duo A Corda in 1997. The duo has since given a number of concerts at home and abroad and recorded four CDs with repertoire from Spanish and Latin American to classical chamber music. Spanish and Latin American music have given them concerts all over the world, in Europe, China, Brazil and Uruguay. They have performed in prestigious halls such as Rudolfinum, Prague, the Rachmaninov Hall in Moscow and the Salle Cortot in Paris.
In 1998, Birgitte released her debut CD with works by Christian Sinding together with pianist Jorunn Marie Bratlie. In September 2002 she released a CD with 2 new works written for her by Terje Rypdal. In 2003, Stærnes and Bratlie had their debut in Wigmore Hall. Her CD with works by Johan Halvorsen was released in the spring of 2012 and has received excellent reviews, including "The Strad" and other international magazines. In 1989 she won 1st prize in the Rotterdam International Violin Competition. She had her debut concert in the University Hall in Oslo in 1991. Birgitte Stærnes has received the Yamaha Prize for strings (1992), the Ticon Prize (1997) in 1998, she received the Statens 1-year work scholarship for younger artists and in 2015 the Statens 3-year work scholarship. She started playing the violin when she was 6 years old and was first a soloist with an orchestra when she was 12 years old. Birgitte Stærnes is the artistic director of Johan Halvorsen Music Festival. She plays a violin by Lorenzo e Tomasso Carcassi, Florence 1748.
CATHERINE BULLOCK comes from Yeovil, UK. She studies at Chethams School of Music and at the Royal Academy of Music, later at the Norwegian Academy.
She is Principal viola of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra and was Principal viola of the Philharmonia Orchestra. Catherine has performed as a soloist with the Oslo Philharmonic, Kristiansand Symphony Orchestra, the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra and Cameraman Nordica, together with Klaus Mäkela, Andre Previn, Herbert Blomstedt, Ingar Bergby, Terje Tønnesen, Marin Alsop and Vasily Petrenko. She was a soloist with Camerata Nordica in the 2013 Proms, in Cadogan Hall and has also recorded Britten's Lachrymae with them for BIS. She has recorded several contemporary works for Simax.
Most recently,she recorded Don Quixote with Louisa Tuck, Vasily Petrenko and the Oslo Philharmonic for Lawo. Catherine plays on a Guadagnini viola, kindly loaned to her by Dextra Musica.
AUDUN SANDVIK's heartfelt playing and playful performance make him a much-in-demand cello soloist, chamber musician and cello teacher. Together with pianist Sveinung Bjelland, he has brought about international attention due to a CD with sonatas by Shostakovich and Rachmaninov (LAWO Classics, 2017). 2005 – 2019 he held the position of co-principal cello in the Norwegian Radio Orchestra (Kringkastingsorkesteret) Audun is a member of the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra. He is employed as professor of cello at the Norwegian Arctic University in Tromsø, with a class and an environment in blossoming development, which he carries on due to his many years as a cello teacher at the Norwegian Academy of Music. Audun is the artistic director of the classical Gloppen Music Festival. He plays a cello from 1695, built in Rome by Giorgio Taninger.
THORMOD RØNNING KVAM, piano, having recently graduated with a DipRAM award from the Royal Academy of Music, he enjoys the creativity involved in being a musician of the 21st century. He is convinced that the key to success is to explore what really resonates within us—and communicating it.
Launching his first concert series in the midst of the pandemic, 2020 marked a new high point in his career. Further recent highlights include solo and chamber music performances in London's Wigmore Hall, Harpa in Reykjavik, the Norwegian Opera, Stockholm Concert House and at Hardanger Musikkfest. Frequent collaborations with musicians such as Guro Kleven Hagen, Eivind Ringstad, Halvor Festervoll Melien and Philip Zuckerman also reflect an important part of his credentials.
Amongst his current inspirations are composers such as Schumann, Scriabin, Janáček and Sibelius. Music from the tumultuous years of 1910-25 seem more relevant than ever—a parallel Thormod wishes to showcase through several projects this year.
Thormod has been working widely in developing new concepts and audiences for various organisations, amongst these the Risør Chamber Music Festival and the Edvard Munch Ensemble. He is Artistic Director of Aulaseriene, a new year-round chamber music series to which he invites established as well as young artists. Based in the historically renowned Oslo University Aula and at the newly opened Munch-destination Ramme in Hvitsten, Thormod believes that classical music gains from being contextualised and presented together with a variety of arts.
In recognition of his musicianship, Thormod has been granted numerous prizes and scholarships. Recently he won the Musician of the Year prize from the Forsberg and Aulie Foundation, one of Norway’s most acknowledged grants for young artists. He has also been awarded the Fegersten Scholarship and the Dobloug Foundation Scholarship generously supporting his Master of Arts degree, as well as the Yamaha Music Foundation Scholarship. Furthermore, in 2017 he was selected for Talent Norway's extensive ArtEx programme for performers embarking on international careers across music, acting, dance and film, resulting in cross-art collaborations with artists such as Kåre Conradi (The Ibsen Company) and Ola B. Johannessen, amongst others. In 2015 he took on a 2-year development programme designed exclusively for young voluntary leaders, hosted by the Norwegian Bank Savings Foundation.
From 2010, Thormod commenced his undergraduate studies at the Barratt Due Institute of Music in Oslo under Prof. Jiří Hlínka. In 2015 he enrolled at the Royal Academy of Music, studying Master of Arts under Prof. Christopher Elton and Diana Ketler as well as Professional Diploma, graduating with distinction and a DipRAM award in 2019.
Thormod has also studied and attended masterclasses with pianists such as Gordon Back, Leif Ove Andsnes, Jens Harald Bratlie, Liv Glaser, Christian Ihle Hadland, Håvard Gimse, Wolfgang Plagge, Erling R. Eriksen, Hamish Milne, Gabriela Montero, Cristina Ortiz, Simon Trpçeski, Jeffrey Swann, and others.
ArtistsBirgitte Stærnes, violin
Catherine Bullock, viola
Audun Sandvik, cello
Thormod Rønning Kvam, piano
DateMon 12.07 at 7.30 pm