Audiences from Saffron Walden to Sheffield will have the chance to hear Edward Gardner’s dynamic new partnership with the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra when they make their first UK tour together in January.
One of the world’s oldest orchestras, the Bergen Philharmonic dates back to 1765, celebrating its 250th anniversary in 2015. Edvard Grieg had a close relationship with the orchestra, serving as Artistic Director from 1880 to 1882, so its UK tour in January represents a unique chance to experience Norwegian musical history on British soil.
The British conductor Edward Gardner is now in his second season as Chief Conductor of the acclaimed orchestra, will direct programmes drawn from the core of his Bergen repertoire, embracing everything from Bartók, Grieg and Sibelius to Elgar, Wagner and Walton.
Ed Gardner, Photo: Helge Skodvin
Cellists Leonard Elschenbroich and Truls Mørk and violinist Baiba Skride will join the orchestra for a five-concert series set to open at Saffron Hall in Saffron Walden on Sunday 15 January. Their itinerary unfolds at Symphony Hall Birmingham on 17 January before extending its reach to The Anvil in Basingstoke (18 January), Sheffield’s City Hall (19 January) and Cadogan Hall in London (20 January).
“I can’t wait to bring the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra to Britain,” comments Edward Gardner. “We have created programmes that make big statements about the Bergen Philharmonic and the work that we are doing. Each piece feels just right.”
Bernt E. Bauge, Chief Executive Officer of the Bergen Philharmonic, underlines the importance to the orchestra of touring in general and of returning to the UK with its British chief conductor in particular. “The Bergen Philharmonic is Edward’s musical family,” he observes. “There is an emotional quality to our coming to Britain with him. The chemistry that exists between Edward and the orchestra’s musicians and the administration is such that we are thriving together… This is the time to go with him to the UK, so British audiences can discover the power and intensity of their music-making.”
Photo: Oddleiv Apneseth
The Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra comes to the UK with an outstanding international reputation, one burnished in recent years by a succession of critically acclaimed recordings and overseas tours and the launch of its free online digital concert hall. “The Bergen Philharmonic enjoys a strong civic pride at home,” observes Bernt E. Bauge. “This comes from the orchestra’s very long tradition and also from new initiatives, such as the two open-air concerts we gave in Bergen this summer. Around 20,000 people came to hear Edward conduct the orchestra in a classical programme and a programme of film music. It was a joyful experience for the players and I know they will want to bring that energy and enthusiasm to the UK in January.”
“[Gardner and the Bergen Philharmonic] unleashed the piece’s volcanic passions while never becoming mired in its high-calorific density”, The Daily Telegraph, concert review of Schoenberg’s Gurrelieder, December 2015