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Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra - NOSPR

Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra

photo by Oddleiv Apneseth

The Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra is an internationally renowned symphony orchestra with a rich history that spans more than 250 years. Edvard Grieg was the orchestra’s artistic director from 1880 to 1882. Under the direction of Chief Conductor Edward Gardner, the orchestra has a busy concert schedule, a substantial outreach programme, and a strong international presence through tours, recordings, and the concert streaming service BergenPhiLive. In November 2021 Sir Mark Elder was announced as the orchestra’s Principal Guest Conductor, starting in 2022/23. The ensemble is owned by Musikkselskapet Harmonien, which also runs Bergen Philharmonic Chorus and Bergen Philharmonic Youth Orchestra. Its principal concert venue is the Grieg Hall.
A Norwegian National Orchestra, the one-hundred-and-one strong the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, participates annually at the Bergen International Festival. During the last few seasons, it has played in the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, at the BBC Proms in the Royal Albert Hall, in the Wiener Musikverein and Konzerthaus, in Carnegie Hall, New York, and the Philharmonie, Berlin. In 2015 the orchestra toured Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands, Ireland, and England, giving concerts at the Concertgebouw and the BBC Proms, among others. January 2017 marked the start of Askonas Holt’s working relationship with the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra with a successful five-date tour of the UK, culminating in a performance at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. In August 2017 the ensemble received 5* reviews all-round for their incredible performance of Britten’s Peter Grimes at the Edinburgh International Festival. In November 2019 the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra returned to the UK to perform their acclaimed concert performance of Britten’s Peter Grimes at the Royal Festival Hall in London, to universal critical acclaim. A studio recording of the same work was released on Chandos Records on 4 September 2020. Touring in the 2018/2019 season includes the BBC Proms, Hamburg Elbphilharmonie, as well as concerts in Paris, Utrecht, Cologne, and a three-concert residency in Salzburg. Forthcoming tours will include the return to several of these prestigious venues.
The orchestra has an active recording schedule, at the moment releasing no fewer than four to six CDs every year. Critics worldwide acknowledge the transformation the ensemble has undergone in recent years, applauding the energetic playing style and the full-bodied string sound. The orchestra’s recording of the complete orchestral music of Edvard Grieg remains the reference point in a competitive field. Enjoying long-standing artistic partnerships with some of the finest musicians in the world, the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra has recorded with Leif Ove Andsnes, James Ehnes, Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, Gerald Finley, Alban Gerhardt, Vadim Gluzman, Stephen Hough, Freddy Kempf, Truls Mørk, Steven Osborne, Lawrence Power, Stuart Skelton, Roderick Williams, Lise Davidsen, among others.
With Sir Andrew Davis the ensemble has recorded music by Berlioz, Delius, Elgar, and Sibelius, and other projects will follow. Recent recordings with Chief Conductor Edward Gardner has included critically acclaimed releases of Schönberg’s Gurrelieder, orchestral works by Janáček, Bartók, Grieg, and Berio, as well as Sibelius songs with Gerald Finley. Other notable recording projects have been Messiaen’s Turangalîla-Symphonie, symphonies by Ralph Vaughan Williams, as well as series of Norwegian music. With Andrew Litton, the orchestra has released several acclaimed discs which have received distinctions including Spellemannprisen (the Norwegian Grammy), BBC Music Magazine Award, Diapason d’Or, Clef d’Or ResMusica, and Fono Forum Empfehlung des Monats, as well as being shortlisted for a Gramophone Award.
The Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra has had a long tradition of playing contemporary music. Composers who have conducted their works with the ensemble include Aaron Copland, Carl Nielsen, Jean Sibelius, Witold Lutosławski, Lukas Foss, and Krzysztof Penderecki.

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