This season, the multidisciplinary Norwegian Bergen International Festival turns its head toward America May 26–June 9. It’s an invitation to international audiences to tune in to Bergen’s over 30 online concerts available to stream this season. So, Americans and Canadians can join in on the conversation without hopping on a plane.
Brooklyn-based composer and electronic musician Missy Mazzoli is this year’s Festival Composer. If audiences are still unfamiliar with Mazzoli’s work, Bergen appears to be a wonderful introduction. The concert on June 2 – “Music to capture the American soul” – promises to be a highlight as Mazzoli makes a rare appearance as a performer of her Grammy-nominated work Vespers for Violin with violinist Peter Herresthal, plus the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra performs the world premiere of the orchestral version of Mazzoli’s Dark with Excessive Bright. The rest of the program features works by George Walker, John Adams, and Charles Ives.
Additionally, Mazzoli guest curates an evening of music on June 5. That program features music by young composers of the Luna Composition Lab – Mazzoli’s mentoring program with fellow composer Ellen Reid in partnership with New York’s Kaufman Music Center – plus a composition from Mazzoli herself (Enthusiasm Strategies) and John Adams’ Shaker Loops.
By going digital, the Festival offers the opportunity to get a taste of Norwegian music (yes, even with this year’s theme) from the comfort of one’s own home. Many audience members are familiar with renowned Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes, who performs Dvořák’s Piano Quintet with young Norwegian string players on June 3. Another sure highlight is the May 29 concert as Grieg will be performed on the Hardanger fiddle; that’s not something that you hear every day!
The Bergen International Festival’s digital offerings are robust, but one can’t help but wish to attend the festival in person to enjoy the hammock concerts and sail-in performances. It is rare for such a festival to encourage arrival by boat or swing in a hammock.
Tickets are on sale now. If you can’t catch a concert’s premiere, recordings are available until June 23. Explore the digital offerings here.
Photo Credit: Marlene Mey, courtesy of Bergen International Festival