Contemporary meets tradition

One of the undisputable highlights of this year’s Førde Festival is a much anticipated commissioned work penned by Norwegian composer Eivind Buene, performed by the Norwegian Soloists’ Choir and featuring soloists Gjermund Larsen and Berit Opheim Versto.

Eivind Buene_close up

One of the Nordic countries’ finest vocal ensembles, the Norwegian Soloists’ Choir is set to premiere a new commissioned work written by renowned composer Eivind Buene. Joining the choir for the Førde premiere is also fiddler Gjermund Larsen and vocalist Berit Opheim Versto. In addition to Buene’s new work, the choir will perform renditions of traditional Norwegian folk tunes, challenging both themselves and the audience in a setting that fuses age-old vocal traditions with contemporary, post-classical composition.

The Norwegian Soloists’ Choir, led by Grete Pedersen, occupies a unique position on the Norwegian music scene. The choir has given over two hundred premiere performances, more than seventy of which have been works by Norwegian composers. The members of the Norwegian Soloists’ Choir are professionally trained, hand-picked singers all of whom are potential soloists in their respective genres. Over the past few years the choir has performed at such key events as the Bergen International Festival, the Oslo International Church Music Festival, Ultima and Oslo International Chamber Music Festival to name a few. The choir has also toured extensively on the international circuit with hailed performances in Europe, USA, Canada and Japan to their credit.

For the past decade, Eivind Buene has been a freelance composer living and working in Oslo, writing for and collaborating with Norwegian and international ensembles and orchestras. In addition to writing music for soloists, ensembles and orchestras, Buene also frequently engages in collaborations with improvising artists. Improv partners include such heavyweights as pianist Christian Wallumrød, Duo Zach/Grydeland and sax player Frode Gjerstad. Buene has recieved commissions from Ensemble Intercontemporain and Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, as well as the Norwegian Radio Orchestra, The Norwegian Chamber Orchestra and Kristiansand Symphony Orchestra.

Berit Opheim Versto is one of the strongest and most distinct voices on the Norwegian folk scene. She has carved out a niche for herself with a number of releases and extensive domestic touring. Over the last two decades she has also been a sought after teacher and composer. Last year saw her releasing a critically acclaimed solo album, ‘Slåttar på tunga’ (Grappa), and earlier this year she released the massive double-CD ‘Draumkvedet’ in partnership with saxophonist/composer Karl Seglem.

Fiddler Gjermund Larsen is one of the traditional music scene’s busiest performers,
being a key member of such ensembles as Majorstuen in addition to
being a highly respected solo performer and band-leader of his own trio. Read
more on Larsen’s hectic Førde schedule elsewhere in this publication.

Fri 3 July 15.30-16:30 - Kinosalen

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