Masterclasses With Ariane Jebsen Alvestad (Violin) And Balder Hella Mikkelsen (Cello) In 2023. Photo: Synne S.B. Bønes

From talent to professional

February 14, 2024

The Festival is developing its focus on young composers and new voices.

In 2022, the Festival initiated a multi-year programme focusing on young composers: New Voices. This development programme has three levels, starting with a grass-root recruitment effort aimed at primary and secondary school students, a junior initiative, and a senior composer programme at a Nordic level.

Knowledge exchange and audience meetings

The goal of the initiative is to lower the threshold for pursuing a career as a composer, and the Festival serves as both a creative meeting place and an international showcase for newly written music. Here, composers can learn through meetings and collaborations with performers and have their works performed for the first time by young musicians, who are also developing their unique voice together with the music.

During this year's festival, several events in the composer’s programme are open to the public (see list below).

Public events in New voices

Junior composers at summer school

For junior composers aged 10–15, the Festival organises a creative summer school on sound and visual art in collaboration with the BIT20 Ensemble. The summer school has been held for several years, and in 2023, children could sign up for groups in Instrument and Vocal, Visual Arts, or Music Technology. Registration for this year's summer school will open later this spring.

Collaboration between composers and performers

Last year, cellist Amalie Stalheim initiated Classical Link, a mentoring programme that provides emerging classical artists with a platform for further development on the path to a professional music career. Collaboration with young composers is central to Classical Link, with the ambition of bridging different musical eras, including contemporary music.

Stalheim is herself a mentor in Classical Link, and in 2023, Ariane Jebsen (violin) and Balder Hella Mikkelsen (cello) participated in workshops and masterclasses leading up to a festival concert. In 2024, three young musicians under 32 years old will be handpicked for the programme.

This year's edition of Classical Link strengthens the initiative with a dedicated part for composers. During the 2022 Festival, composer workshops were led by American Missy Mazzoli, a former Festival composer, and Norwegian Therese Ulvo, who now contributes to the development of Classical Link through her own workshops and masterclasses for composers.

Spotlight on young composers

The 2024 Festival will also see the premiere of Premiere, the highest Nordic level of the composer programme. This year's composer is Norwegian Jo David Meyer Lysne.

‘Jo David Meyer Lysne is a distinctive composer with a personal and poetic artistic voice that will be interesting to follow. Homemade instruments, microtonality, electronics, and improvisation are all elements in his musical universe,’ says Festival director Lars Petter Hagen.

Lysne will present one piece for cellist Amalie Stalheim and an electronic sculpture to the Festival, in addition to a new work that will have its premiere during the festival.

The Festival also presents young artists at other events. The concert series Drop-in, with students from the Grieg Academy (University of Bergen) celebrates its 50th year in 2024, and both The Festival youth performance and the Master classes by Jiri Hlinka Piano Academy have a long history at the festival.

New Voices is supported by Sparebankstiftelsen DNB and Talent Norge.

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