Trumpets and travels

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By: Ketil Mosnes
May 03, 2021

Tine Thing Helseth and her musical marathon.

She is considered one of Norway's greatest musicians as well as one of the world's leading trumpeters of her generation. Since the start of her career, Tine Thing Helseth has performed on all six continents and received great reviews for her soulful approach to her instrument. It is safe to say that the young trumpeter has had a successful and busy career so far, and she won’t be any less busy at this year's festival, where she is involved in five different performances.

I’m incredibly happy about getting to do so many different concerts at the festival, Helseth says in an interview with Bergen International Festival. At this year's festival, she will – among other things - play inside a brand new light rail tunnel.

– What I find really fun and inspiring with a setting like the Bergen International Festival, is that so many different things are happening. As a musician, new experiences are also cool challenges, such as playing inside a tunnel. It’s precisely in such places new magic occurs! I'm really looking forward to all the concerts I’m going to do at the festival, as well as being in a festival mode in wonderful Bergen for two weeks!

– You have previously performed at the top of Oslo City Hall, on mountain tops, and on festival stages and small jazz clubs across the globe. Is your CV still missing places or stages on which you have dreamt of performing?

It’s true that I have played at many cool and weird places. And you never know where you will have that very special experience…playing Carnegie Hall was as magical as was playing high up in the Dolomites. There are definitely a lot of stages that would have been incredibly cool to perform on, like the Sydney Opera House for example. That would have been awesome!

Helseth – who started playing the trumpet at the age of seven - has received many awards and accolades for her work, including Newcomer of the Year at the Echo Klassik Awards 2013, the Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship in 2009 and at the Eurovision Young Musicians Competition (2nd Prize) in 2006. In 2007, she had the honor of being the first classical artist to win the Spellemann Awards (the Norwegian Grammy) in the Newcomer of the Year-category. She is known as an artist who challenges the musical boundaries with a creative and open-minded philosophy, and who varies her repertoire from the classical period to contemporary and completely new works. The trumpeter is also active with her ten women strong brass ensemble tenThing. The idea appeared in 2007 as a fun project she wanted to carry out with some of her closest musical partners, and since then the group has played to audiences in Europe, the United States and China.

– What kind of artistic goals do you have today, and how do you motivate yourself to achieve them?

I enjoy that I can do many so different projects and concerts; that's what drives me and my creativity. My goal is always to further develop myself and my musical voice and identity…to feel the changes that happen as you get older and experience new things. I want to be a musician who dares to be honest on stage…to just be me.

– Was there a crucial moment in your life where you decided to fully focus on your career?

I don’t ever remember thinking that I would do anything else than playing the trumpet! So when I got the chance to go all in at a very young age, it felt like the most natural thing in the world!

Helseth currently lives in Oslo and maintains an active role as, among other things, a TV and radio presenter, as well as a trumpet teacher at the Norwegian Academy of Music. In June 2013, she launched the project Tine@Munch in connection with the celebration of the 150th anniversary of Edvard Munch's birth. The project had a number of performances and guest artists such as Leif Ove Andsnes, Nicola Benedetti and Truls Mørk. Since 2019, she has been part of the artistic management at the Risør chamber music festival.

– A recurring question we ask many of this year’s festival performers deals with adjustment: You are used to having a busy schedule that involves a lot of travelling. How have you handled the new reality during the pandemic?

It has been a different year for everyone… for the whole world! I mean, there’s not much happening, and life is more peaceful. I'm used to traveling around the world all the time in order to perform, so being at home this much has obviously felt very different. But it's also nice! Additionally, I have been incredibly lucky in the way that I’ve had the opportunity to play many concerts and to do many nice projects in Norway. Every concert means a little extra now.

Tine Thing Helseth/facts:
  • Born: 1987 in Oslo.

  • Education: Barratt Due Institute of Music in Oslo.

  • Seven album releases.

  • Has worked with, among others: Bamberger Symphoniker, NDR Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, Gürzenich-Orchester Cologne, Tonkünstler-Orchester Wien, Philharmonia Orchestra, BBC Scottish Orchestra at BBC Proms, the philharmonic orchestras in Warsaw, Rotterdam, Oslo, Bergen and Helsinki, the Danish and the Swedish Radio and Radio Symphony Orchestras, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Baltimore and Cincinnati Symphony Orchestras, Singapore Symphony, KBS Symphony and Hong Kong Philharmonic.

  • A selection of accolades: The Norwegian Talent Award 2004.The International Trumpet competition Theo Charlier 2005, 2nd Prize.Musician of the Year in Norway 2005.Eurovision Young Musicians Competition 2006, 2nd Prize.The Norwegian Soloist Award 2006.Winner of NRK's (Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation) ​​"Virtuos" competition 2006.KORK Prize 2006 (The Norwegian) Broadcasting Orchestra's Talent Prize).Prince Eugene Culture Prize 2006.NRK P2 soloist 2006/2007.Luitpold Award for best and most interesting young artist of the year during the Kissinger Summer Festival 2007.The Spellemann Award 2007 – Newcomer of the year.Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship in 2009.Mozart Award in Dortmund 2010.Echo Classic Price 2013

Supported by Vestland county council

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