Nordic unity in Berlin

Saturday marks the beginning of the strongest international showcase of Nordic contemporary music ever. Magma 2002 is a nine-day festival held in Berlin with more than 30 events and concerts presenting Nordic composers and performers for a German audience. His Royal Highness Crown Prince Haakon of Norway is the Royal Patron of the festival that runs from November 23 to December 1.

Gunda Djupvik

For the first time in its 114-year history, Nordic Music Days comes to the heart of Europe’s musical culture, states artistic leader Rolf Gupta in Magma 2002’s thorough and beautiful programme book. He continues: We want to show who we are through our music. We are not quite sure, but we think your image of the north might change when you come and listen to us during Magma. Our music reflects a natural, modern and urban individualist approach. Result: a wide range of artistic expression where high risk is of the essence.

The Norwegian contingent to Magma 2002 includes such key figures as Rolf Wallin, Jon Øivind Ness, Eivind Buene, Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, Ingun Bjørnsgaard Project, The Vertavo String Quartet, Oslo Sinfonietta, Sidsel Endresen, Christian Wallumrød, POING, The World Theatre, Peter Herresthal and Eirik Raude. Our Nordic neighbours are equally well represented: the Swedes bring among others Kroumata and Radiokören, the Finns proudly present Avanti! Chamber Orchestra, the Danes showcase the skills of Contemporanea and the Radio Symphony Orchestra while the Icelanders present Caput to the Berlin audience. Magma 2002 runs from November 23 to December 1 and the programme contains far more concerts and events than mentioned here. A full programme and presentations can be found at Magma 2002’s own site.

Says Norwegian Society of Composers project manager Gunda Djupvik: As many as 26 Norwegian composers are featured at Magma 2002, and it is by far our strongest international effort ever. We hope and strongly believe that Magma will lead to increased focus on Norwegian and Nordic contemporary music. We’ve printed no less than 100 000 folders and 40 000 copies of our extensive and impeccably designed programme book is published. Even if Berlin is a huge city with lots of cultural activity, we aim at leaving a mark on the city during the festival.

The Norwegian Society of Composers co-ordinates and administers the festival, and with a share of 4,4 million of the total 8 mill. budget it is a substantial effort for the organisation. Initiated as early as in 1888, the festival is the oldest pan-Nordic artistic collaboration. For the first time the festival, which earlier existed under the name Nordic Music Days, has been relocated outside the Nordic countries. With a wealth of fascinating and grand concert halls and venues such as Tränenpalast, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Liquidrom and Philharmonie Berlin was chosen as the Magma’s appropriate location.

The Music Information Centre Norway’s contribution to Magma 2002 is a comprehensive exhibition prepared by Head of the Information Department Hilde Holbæk-Hanssen. Holbæk-Hanssen who has also co-ordinated the production of the Magma programme book has chosen to profile a selection of Nordic composers at MIC’s exhibition.

Says conductor/composer and artistic leader of Magma 2002, Rolf Gupta: For some of our composers and musicians it’s a serious matter how we relate to the European mainstream – others don’t care. Magma 2002 Berlin brings this unruly crowd together in a weeklong showcase in Germany’s fascinating and rapidly changing capital.

Courtesy of MIC/Ballade’s very own Magma reporter Nicholas H. Møllerhaug’s tireless work, will post updates and news from Berlin throughout the duration of the festival.

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