The Norwegian Soloists' Choir

Grete Pedersen, conductor

Edward Grieg: Vier Psalmen op. 74 (24')

Johannes Brahms: Fünf Gesänge op. 104 (14')

Richard Strauss: "Der Abend" (12')

Francis Poulenc: "La figure humaine" (20')

Weitere Programme nach Absprache.

Grete Pedersen Conductor

Grete Pedersen is regarded as one of the most renowned conductors in the international choral scene. The Norwegian conductor has been Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of The Norwegian Soloists’ Choir since 1990 whose numerous recordings for the label BIS Records were awarded the ‘Choc de la Musique’, ‘Prix d'Or’ and ‘Prix d’Or’ de l’Année from Diapason and a 'Record of the year’ by Gramophone.

Grete Pedersen is a highly demanded guest conductor and has worked with prestigious choirs such as Eric Ericson Chamber Choir, Swedish Radio Choir, Danish National Vocal Ensemble and Choir, Rundfunkchor Berlin, MDR Leipzig Radio Choir, Bavarian Radio Choir, Netherlands Chamber Choir, Netherlands Radio Choir, Chamber Choir Ireland, Pro Coro Canada, Tokyo Cantat and World Youth Choir. Future plans include projects with RIAS Kammerchor and the Latvian Radio Choir.

She has led performances of music by composers such as J.S. Bach, Haydn, Bruckner, Bernstein, Berio with most of the leading Norwegian orchestras and Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Slovenian Philharmonic, Yale Camerata, Oslo Sinfonietta and Ensemble Allegria. Planned concerts include projects with Bergen Philharmonic, Odense Symphony and Orquesta y Coro de la Comunidad de Madrid as well as putting together various ensembles  joined by well-known soloists.

At the start of her musical studies, Grete Pedersen founded the Oslo Chamber Choir in 1984 and worked with them for 20 years particularly with oratorio repertoire and contemporary music. She studied Norwegian folk music and has learnt from folk musicians and their traditions. Today she is considered a pioneer for her work bringing folk music to new settings and for the arrangements based on these roots. This is notwithstanding always challenging the tradition.

As a church musician educated at the Norwegian Academy of Music, Grete Pedersen was a part of the movement of historical informed performances from the beginning of the 1980s and has worked amongst others with the Freiburger Barockorchester, Oslo Bach Ensemble, Norwegian Barokkanerne, Barokksolistene, Drottningholm Barokkensemble.

On the contemporary scene Grete Pedersen is known as an unafraid advocate for new music and has commisoioned and performed numerous pieces by leading composers. One example is Bach in our time– a project  over three years where composers James MacMillan, Lasse Thoresen, and Stefan Schleiermacher composed new music in dialogue with Bach’s B minor Mass. Here Grete Pedersen also worked with the Norwegian Barokkanerne and Norwegian Radio Orchestra.

Grete Pedersen's name stands for planning productions and concepts of wide stylistic variety. She has set new standards with her interpretation of early and contemporary music. Whilst her work encompasses a wide range of vocal repertoire, folk music and work for period instruments, her efforts have increasingly been directed towards orchestral repertoire and larger productions for orchestra and choir.

BIS Records has released numerous recordings with The Norwegian Soloists’ Choir with works by Per Nørgård, Kaija Saariaho, Fartein Valen, Alfred Janson, Knut Nystedt, Nils Henrik Asheim, Lars Petter Hagen, Edvard Grieg, Iannis Xenakis, Helmut Lachenmann, Alban Berg, Olivier Messiaen, Anton Webern, Brahms, Schubert, J.S. Bach and Norwegian Folk Music.

Her albums of Luciano Berio: Coro and J.S. Bach: Motets were awarded the Diapason d’Or in the years 2020 and 2018.

In 2019, Grete Pedersen was appointed Knight 1st Class of the Royal Norwegian St. Olavs Order for her merit and outstanding achievements in the arts. In the same year, she was awarded the distinguished Lindeman Prize to honour her significant contribution to the musical life of Norway.

Grete Pedersen has taught conducting at the Norwegian Academy of Music since 1996. Her reputation as a professor brings in some of the most talented international young conductors to the Academy. She has held masterclasses in conducting on all continents.

Season 2020/21

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The Norwegian Soloists' Choir

The Norwegian Soloists ́ Choir is one of Norway’s leading ensembles in any genre and ranks among the foremost chamber choirs in Europe. Founded by composer Knut Nystedt, the choir is singing under the leadership of the internationally acclaimed Grete Pedersen since 1990 performing many concerts in Scandinavia and internationally.

The choir lately came into spotlight participating in the project 150 Psalms at the Utrecht Early Music Festival 2017, Lincoln Center New York and Flagey Brussels 2018 in cooperation with Netherlands Chamber Choir, Tallis Scholars and The Choir of Trinity Wall Street.

The choir is equally at home in the classical and romantic repertoire as well as contemporary music, making regular excursions into folk-derived music and National Romantic works. Oratorio performances have forged relationships with Freiburger Barockorchester, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Norwegian Radio Orchestra, RIAS Kammerchor, Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, Accademia Bizantina, Oslo Sinfonietta, Trondheim Soloists, Ensemble Allegria and the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra.

BIS Records has released a number of recordings with works by Per Norgard, Kaija Saariaho, Iannis Xenakis, Helmut Lachenmann, Alfred Janson, J.S. Bach, Knut Nystedt, Alban Berg, Olivier Messiaen, Fartein Valen, Anton Webern, Johannes Brahms, Franz Schubert, Edvard Grieg and Norwegian Folk Music which were awarded prizes such as the ‘Choc de la Musique’ and Diapason d’Or. Their album with J.S. Bach Motets with the Norwegian Soloists‘ Choir and Ensemble Allegria was awarded the Diapason d’Or in 2018. The album The wind blows with music by Alfred Janson together with The Norwegian Soloists' Choir Records has been chosen as 'Record of the year 2018' by Gramophone.

In 2012 the Norwegian Soloists’ Choir was named ‘Performer of the year’ by the Norwegian Society of Composers, receiving the Gammleng Award the same year in the art music category.

The choir comprises 26 highly trained singers, all potential soloists in various genres as well as fully embracing the art of ensemble singing.

Season 2020/21

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Press

  • CD Alfred Janson: The wind blows (BIS Records)

    Das Album zeigt hier die zusätzliche Finesse, die Grete Pedersen in ihrem Ensemble im vergangenen Jahrzehnt kultiviert hat. Construction (nach dem Werk des Komponisten, Construction and Hymn for Orchestra, 1963) erzählt, warum der Chor den Namen The Norwegian Soloists' Choir trägt. Wie üblich ist die Mischung der Stimmen exquisit, die Intonation perfekt und die Artikulation brilliant.

    Gramophone, Andrew Mellor, 10/2018

  • CD: J.S. Bach Motets (BIS Records)

    Typically Nordic, the choir’s sound is clear, light and precise, with a sound that finds a happy medium between choral blend and the expressive frisson that arises from occasionally being aware of individual voices (...). Pedersen’s firm concept of the work’s progress is exemplified by a bold but grounded ‘Trotz’ section that travels swiftly but smoothly from defiance to calm confidence – the latter being a term which might indeed be used as a general characterisation of these charming and accomplished performances.

    Gramophone, Lindsay Kemp, 4/2018

    The opening of Komm, Jesu, komm entices. The antiphonal pleas are so lovingly shaped and delectably blended it’s impossible not to surrender. But does beauty of sound and ‘finish’ become an end in itself?...A real tour de force!

    BBC Music Magazine, 4/2018

    This is an outstanding disc of outstanding music. They get to the heart of these magnificent works in what feels a completely natural way, without any of the sense of over-interpretation that can detract. In addition to the standard six motets, Pedersen includes O Jesu Christ, meins Lebens Licht (BWV 118), in which Ensemble Allegria’s oboes find an appropriately mournful yet sinuous tone.

    Choir & Organ, 3/2018