At the age of 21, Norwegian violinist Vilde Frang is already in the position most classical soloists can only dream of reaching: firmly established in the upper echelon of performers, sought-after by the great orchestras and collaborating closely with one of the superstars of classical music, Anne Sophie Mutter.
However, being young for her achievements is nothing new for Vilde. She started playing the violin at the age of four and already at eight she was performing with some of the foremost Norwegian orchestras. At twelve Maestro Mariss Jansons invited her to play with the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, and since then there have been highlighted performances, awards and prestigious bestowments too plentiful to enumerate. But the most recent ones are the Grand Prize of the Vera and Oscar Ritter Foundation, in Hamburg and the Boletto-Buitoni Trust fellowship (both in 2007).
From 2004 she has been a holder - one of four current ones- of the special scholarship from Freundkreis Anne Sophie Mutter Stiftung. This has been of principal importance since it has involved touring with Mutter in a duo format, playing Bach’s concerto for two violins in Germany and the Nordic countries. Following the success of this tour, Anne Sophie Mutter has reinvited her for a US tour with Camerata Salzburg in 2008.
Frang first played with Anne Sophie Mutter back in 1998 - only twelve years old- at the Bergen international festival. And already then the international superstar realized that here was a supreme talent. But it was following Frang’s enrollment at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Hamburg in 2003 that the collaboration between the two really got started and Frang came under the aegis of Mutter.
Before going to Hamburg Frang had studied for ten years at the renowned Barrat-Due institute in Oslo, with mentors such as Alf Richard Kraggerud, Henning Kraggerud and Stephan Barrat-Due.
Many things have been said about the uniqueness of Frang’s talent, but the recurring theme is the deep and mature musical understanding she displays. Technical mastery of the utmost kind, handling the most complex pieces with ease, is one thing, but to let such abilities manifest in subtle, strong and personal interpretations is something quite remarkable for such a young performer.
Of her Bartók performance in Copenhagen this summer, the Danish newspaper Politiken wrote that she is: “more than a virtuoso violinist. She is a great and rare artist only 20 years old…not only fantastically unrestrained by Bartók’s tremendous technical challenges; she is also equal to the work’s musical complexity and magnitude. “
And more recently Jyllandsposten, another Danish daily, wrote of her Vivaldi (four seasons) concert:
“Norwegian Vilde Frang is such a powerful talent, that her mentor Anne-Sophie Mutter has to watch out. Or one might claim that Vilde Frang already has found her own space. Although she plays with tremendous surplus, she prefers taking chances rather than playing it safe. She explores every corner of the music and adds to its poetic drama, and she draws her fellow musicians with her in first one direction, then another.”
Next week Vilde Frang returns to Denmark for three concerts, after opening the mini-tour in Hamburg tomorrow (November twentieth). She will be performing works by Shubert, Bartók, Debussy and Ravel, with Jens Elvekjær.
Looking further, 2008 is set to be the busiest and most challenging year for the young prodigy so far, as she makes her debuts with Amsterdam Symphony Orchestra on tour in Holland, Singapore Symphony and the London Philharmonic Orchestra. And then, in addition to numerous other engagements, she embarks on the aforementioned tour of the US with Mutter in the fall.