Strong Norwegian contemporary presence at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival

Oslo Sinfonietta, Poing, SISU Percussion Ensemble and Dhafer Youssef backed by an all-star Norwegian band are set to play the central Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival later this month. The varied programme also includes performances of works by Norwegian composers Cecilie Ore, Rolf Wallin and Maja Ratkje as well as a unique contemporary Hardanger fiddle focus.

POING 2003

The Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival which takes place between 19-28 November features a diverse and well rounded programme spanning from cutting-edge jazz, orchestral, choral and electro-acoustic performances, along with film, dance and music theatre. In its 27th year, the festival packs in 40 events over 10 days making it one of the UK’s most central festivals of its kind. This year the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival runs a strong focus on Norwegian performers and composers.

On 20 November Poing are set to perform a number of Norwegian works at the St. Pauls Hall. Poing which consists of Frode Haltli on accordion, Håkon Thelin on double bass and Rolf-Erik Nystrøm on saxophones will premiere a brand new work composed by Maja Ratkje as well as her 1999 work Essential Extensions. For their Huddersfield concert, the trio is augmented with central Norwegian composer Rolf Wallin who will play live electronics for a performance (and UK premiere) of his Phonotope II. Poing will also premiere a new work by Danish composer Karsten Fundal.

Click here to listen to and legally download Rolf Wallin’s Phonotope II.

Led by conductor Christian Eggen, the Oslo Sinfonietta will also play the St. Pauls Hall on 20 November. With accordionist Frode Haltli as the featured soloist, the ensemble will perform works that range from Anton Webern’s Six pieces opus 6, Cecilie Ore’s Nunquam non (UK premiere) as well as a premiere of British composer Sam Hayden’s work for virtuoso accordion.

Click here to listen to a selection of Cecilie Ore’s works.

The contemporary Hardanger Fiddle is the title of yet another exciting event on 20 November. Three true masters of Norwegian folk music’s most central instrument, Liv Merete Kroken, Nils Økland and Lars Underdal will present a new and fresh take on the traditional instrument with performances of new works written for the Hardanger fiddle by composers Michael Finnissy, Kunsu Shim and Kevin Volans.

Click here to check out Nils Økland’s playing on his Rune Grammofon solo album Straum (2000)

‘The kind of gig you watched and prayed would never end, charged with such magic that you knew you would be telling people about it in years to come’ the quote is from a recent Straight No Chaser review and leaves no doubt that this is a gig not to be missed. The gig in question is Dhafer Youssef, Tunisian born oud player who’s supported by an all-star cast of Norwegian musicians; trumpet player Arve Henriksen (of Supersilent fame), guitarist Eivind Aarset (Jazzland recording artist), bass player Audun Erlien and drummer Rune Arnesen (Nils Petter Molvær side-men). Improvisation, electronica and Arabic lyricism is fused together into a seamless, unified groove that’s utterly dynamic and progressive. The Huddersfield concert marks the UK debut of this new combo, featuring new material alongside arrangements of some of Dhafer’s earlier work. Youssef & co. play the Lawrence Batley Theatre on 21 November.

Arve Henriksen recently released his second solo album on noted Norwegian independent label Rune Grammofon. Click here to listen to and download it.

The highly acclaimed and very virtuosic percussion ensemble SISU make their UK debut with a strong and varied programme that features the UK premiere of Volans’ monumental work Chakra, along with Xenakis’ equally spectacular Okho. The concert also features Maldoror, an extraordinarily powerful, epic work by Norwegian composer Olav Anton Thommessen for narrator and percussion. A work penned by central Norwegian composer Rolf Wallin will also see its UK premiere performed by SISU who play St. Pauls Hall on 23 November.

Click here to listen to a selection of Thommessen’s works, while a selection of Rolf Wallin’s works are found here.

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