Norwegian Chamber Orchestra

Terje Tonnesen, violin & direction

20. - 29.08.2021
Performed by memory!

Programme 1:

Edward Grieg: Holberg Suite op. 40
Arnold Schönberg: Transfigured Night op. 4
Dmitri Shostakovich: Chamber Symphony C minor op. 110a


Programme 2:

Dmitri Shostakovich: Chamber Symphony C minor op. 110a
Richard Strauss: Metamorphosen for 23 strings

Programme 3:

Edward Grieg: Holberg Suite op. 40
Solo concerto (not performed by memory)
(soloist upon agreement)
Richard Strauss: Metamorphosen for 23 strings

Norwegian Chamber Orchestra

Since its formation in 1977 the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra has established itself as one of the foremost chamber orchestras on the international classical music scene today. Renowned for its innovative programming and creativity, the orchestra is the only ensemble in the world to memorize some programmes and works, making each concert an exceptional, unique experience.

Through integrating experienced musicians with talented young instrumentalists, the orchestra continuously develops its unique style and innovative culture, thereby greatly contributing to the position Norwegian musicians and ensembles hold internationally.

The artistic directors and guest leaders throughout its history have been Iona Brown, Leif Ove Andsnes, Isabelle van Keulen, Martin Fröst, François Leleux and Steven Isserlis together with current artistic director Terje Tønnesen who has held this role since the orchestra’s formation.

Artist-in-Residence in the season 2020/21 is Lorenza Borrani, concertmaster of Chamber Orchestra of Europe.

The orchestra’s international tours to Europe, Asia and North America have received outstanding reviews at many of the world’s prestigious concert halls and festivals. With nearly 40 recordings to date, the NCO has recorded comprehensive chamber orchestra repertoire with distinguished soloists, including Leif Ove Andsnes, Terje Tønnesen, Iona Brown, Truls Mørk, Lars Anders Tomter and Tine Thing Helseth. Highlights include the Norwegian award ‘Spellemannpris’ winning recordings of Grieg / Nielsen works and Haydn piano concertos with Leif Ove Andsnes.

The orchestra draws on an enviable roster of Norwegian and international soloists and has always been dedicated to presenting contemporary music as part of its concert repertoire.

The NCO currently presents its own concert series at the University Aula in Oslo and performs in major concert venues in Norway.

From 2011 to 2016, the NCO served as the resident chamber orchestra at the Risør Chamber Music Festival.

Season 2019/20

Terje Tonnesen Violin and Artistic Leader

Terje Tønnesen is one of Norway’s most revered musicians, with a career spanning over forty years of music-making as violinist and artistic leader. Praised by public and press alike for his virtuosity and artistic individualism, Terje Tønnensen has established a firm place in the Nordic classical music scene through his position as Artistic Director of the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra and concertmaster of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra. He held the same position with the Camerata Nordica in Sweden for two decades until 2016.

After his critically acclaimed debut in 1972 which Norway’s major newspaper called “a dazzling debut without any parallel”, he furthered his studies with Max Rostal in Switzerland. In 1977, he was appointed Artistic Director to the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra, a position he shared with Iona Brown in 1981-2002. Tønnesen has also maintained a distinguished career as a soloist by making regular appearances with major orchestras in Scandinavian countries as well as making extensive tours to various parts of Europe, USA, China and Russia.

His recordings as the orchestra’s leader have received considerable critical acclaim and have received awards including the Spellemann Prize. Tønnesen has also done a number of recordings as soloist and chamber musician, and recorded several works commissioned for him.

In recent years Tønnesen has composed music for several theatre productions and devoted his time to arranging various chamber and orchestral works. A passionate advocate for finding new ways of presenting classical music, Tønnesen has collaborated with colleagues from across various art forms, including American stage director Bud Beyer and choreographer Ingun Bjørnsgaard.

Terje Tønnesen has won several international awards and recognition such as the Grieg Prize and Lindeman Prize.

In 2015, Terje Tønnesen was appointed Knight First Class of the Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav.

He performs on a 1756 Guadagnini lent to him by Dextra Musica, Sparebankstiftelsen. 

Season 2019/20

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  • Physically vibrating, with a blazing presence that deepens the sound and opens up inner spaces ... everything culminated in Shostakovich's chamber symphony, which was performed with virtuosic sharpness and enormous power in the expressionistically charged passages.

    Magnus Haglund, Göteborgs-Posten, May 2019

    The Norwegian Chamber Orchestra showed its merits with a musical infiltration of Tolstoy's "Kreutzer Sonata," in which the novella mingled with Beethoven's cited violin sonata as a starting point and Leoš Janáček's enthralling string quartet. […] The Norwegians shone in a clever string orchestral version, with glow and precision.

    Die Presse, Walter Weidringer, 28.05.2019