Oslo Philharmonic

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Oslo Philharmonic
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Concert hall Oslo Concert Hall
Principal conductor Vasily Petrenko
Website www.oslofilharmonien.no/

The Oslo Philharmonic (Oslo-Filharmonien) is a Norwegian symphony orchestra based in Oslo, Norway. The orchestra was founded in 1919, and has since 1977 had its home in the Oslo Concert Hall. The orchestra consists of 69 musicians in the string section, 16 in the woodwinds, 15 in brass, 5 in percussionists, 1 harpist, and 1 pianist. The orchestra gives an average of sixty to seventy symphonic concerts annually, the majority of which are broadcast nationally on the radio. The orchestra also performs chamber concerts frequently throughout the year.

Oslo Place in Østlandet, Norway

Oslo is the capital and most populous city of Norway. It constitutes both a county and a municipality. Founded in the year 1040 as Ánslo, and established as a kaupstad or trading place in 1048 by Harald Hardrada, the city was elevated to a bishopric in 1070 and a capital under Haakon V of Norway around 1300. Personal unions with Denmark from 1397 to 1523 and again from 1536 to 1814 reduced its influence. After being destroyed by a fire in 1624, during the reign of King Christian IV, a new city was built closer to Akershus Fortress and named Christiania in the king's honour. It was established as a municipality (formannskapsdistrikt) on 1 January 1838. The city functioned as a co-official capital during the 1814 to 1905 Union between Sweden and Norway. In 1877, the city's name was respelled Kristiania in accordance with an offical spelling reform – a change that was taken over by the municipal authorities only in 1897. In 1925 the city, after incorporating the village retaining its former name, was renamed Oslo.

Norway constitutional monarchy in Northern Europe

Norway, officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic country in Northern Europe whose territory comprises the western and northernmost portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula; the remote island of Jan Mayen and the archipelago of Svalbard are also part of the Kingdom of Norway. The Antarctic Peter I Island and the sub-Antarctic Bouvet Island are dependent territories and thus not considered part of the kingdom. Norway also lays claim to a section of Antarctica known as Queen Maud Land.

Oslo Concert Hall concert hall in Oslo, Norway

Oslo Concert Hall is a concert hall located in Vika, a part of Oslo city centre in Norway. It is the base of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra (Oslo-Filharmonien), but it also aims to be one of the premier music venues for the general musical and cultural life of Norway, offering a broad variety of musical styles from classical, world music, and popular entertainment by both Norwegian and international artists and groups. It presents more than 300 events yearly and receives more than 200,000 visitors.



The Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra's roots go back to 1879, when Edvard Grieg and Johan Svendsen founded the Christiania Musikerforening (Christiania Musical Association), as a successor of The Philharmonic Society (Det Philharmoniske Selskab, 1847).

Edvard Grieg Norwegian composer and pianist

Edvard Hagerup Grieg was a Norwegian composer and pianist. He is widely considered one of the leading Romantic era composers, and his music is part of the standard classical repertoire worldwide. His use and development of Norwegian folk music in his own compositions brought the music of Norway to international consciousness, as well as helping to develop a national identity, much as Jean Sibelius and Bedřich Smetana did in Finland and Bohemia, respectively.

Johan Svendsen Norwegian composer and conductor

Johan Severin Svendsen was a Norwegian composer, conductor and violinist. Born in Christiania, Norway, he lived most his life in Copenhagen, Denmark. Svendsen's output includes two symphonies, a violin concerto, a cello concerto, and the Romance for violin, as well as a number of Norwegian Rhapsodies for orchestra. At one time Svendsen was an intimate friend of the German composer Richard Wagner.

The orchestra was later conducted by Ole Olsen, Johan Selmer, Iver Holter and Otto Winter-Hjelm. Under Holter, the orchestra was merged with the Christiania Theatre Orchestra, which was on the verge of reductions. Holter suggested the founding of a city orchestra which could play at municipal festivities, concerts and in the theatre, and as a result of this, the orchestra gained municipal support from 1889.

Ole Olsen (musician) Norwegian conductor, composer and musicologist

Ole Olsen was a Norwegian organist, composer, conductor and military musician.

Iver Holter Norwegian composer

Iver Paul Fredrik Holter was a Norwegian composer. He was conductor and music director of the Oslo Philharmonic for a quarter century.

Otto Winter-Hjelm composer

Otto Winter-Hjelm was a Norwegian musician, conductor, writer, composer and music critic.

In 1899, the Nationaltheatret, which was to present both theatre and opera, was opened. Here the orchestra expanded to 44 musicians, and it was conducted by Johan Halvorsen.

Johan Halvorsen Norwegian composer, conductor and violinist

Johan Halvorsen was a Norwegian composer, conductor and violinist.

The orchestra served the Nationaltheatret in two roles: providing music for the new theatre, and symphony concerts for the Music Society. During the First World War, the desire for symphonic music grew, along with inflation, leading to a dispute between the orchestra and the Nationaltheatret and a temporary collapse of the Musikerforening's concerts. Thus, in 1919, the orchestra was reformed as the Filharmonisk Selskaps Orkester (Orchestra of the Philharmonic Company) by private shareholders and initiative. The first season was shared by three conductors; Johan Halvorsen, Georg Schnéevoigt and Ignaz Neumark.

Georg Schnéevoigt Finnish musician

Georg Lennart Schnéevoigt was a Finnish conductor and cellist, born in Vyborg, Grand Duchy of Finland, which is now in Russia.

Filharmonisk Selskaps Orkester's first concert took place in Logen (Store Sal) on 27 September 1919, with 59 musicians on stage and with Georg Schnéevoigt as conductor. On the repertoire was Rikard Nordraak's Ja, vi elsker dette landet , Johan Svendsen's Fest polonaise, Christian Sinding's Symphony No. 1, Edvard Grieg's Piano Concerto in A minor, and finally Landkjenning, with the singer Erik Ole Bye as baritone soloist.

Rikard Nordraak Norwegian composer

Rikard Nordraak was a Norwegian composer. He is best known as the composer of the Norwegian national anthem, "Ja, vi elsker dette landet".

Ja, vi elsker dette landet de facto national anthem of Norway

"Ja, vi elsker dette landet", also known by the title "Song For Norway", is a patriotic anthem, which has been commonly regarded as the de facto national anthem of Norway since early 20th century, after being used alongside Sønner av Norge since the 1860s. The lyrics were written by Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson between 1859 and 1868, and the melody was written by his cousin Rikard Nordraak sometime during the winter of 1863-1864. It was first performed publicly on 17 May 1864 in connection with the 50th anniversary of the constitution. Usually only the first and the last two verses are sung.

Christian Sinding Norwegian composer

Christian August Sinding was a Norwegian composer. He is best known for his lyrical work for piano, Frühlingsrauschen. He was often compared to Edvard Grieg and regarded as his successor.

Among the guest musicians of this first season were the conductor Arthur Nikisch, the pianists Eugen d'Albert, Edwin Fischer, Wilhelm Kempff, Ignaz Friedman and Artur Schnabel, and the violinists Bronisław Huberman and Carl Flesch. Between September 1919 and May 1920, the orchestra gave 135 public concerts, most of them sold out.

The next decades featured various economic problems, which led to the resignation of 15 musicians in one season. In spite of this, the orchestra continued to attract notable musicians and conductors, such as Richard Burgin, who later became concertmaster for Serge Koussevitzky in Boston; Max Rostal; Ernst Glaser; Robert Soetens, for whom Sergei Prokofiev's 2nd Violin Concerto was written; and others who were driven out of Germany by the Nazi regime - Igor Stravinsky, Fritz Busch, Erich Kleiber, and Bruno Walter.

The first Norwegian radio broadcast started in April 1923, and shortly after, the first radio concert with the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra. From 1925, there was a contract between the orchestra and the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK), ensuring weekly live broadcast concerts. This contract with NRK saved the orchestra from bankruptcy in the 1930s. Issay Dobrowen joined the orchestra in 1927; when he left in 1931, the position of chief conductor was divided between two Norwegians: Odd Grüner Hegge and Olav Kielland. After 1933, Kielland became sole chief conductor until 1945.

In 1953 Oslo hosted the ISCM Festival, which brought further international contacts in the awareness of new repertoire, which many of the Scandinavian countries had been deprived of during the years of World War I and World War II. The first performance of the Oslo Philharmonic outside Scandinavia took place in 1962. Since then, the orchestra has much international acclaim.

Oslo Concert Hall Oslo Konserthus 01.JPG
Oslo Concert Hall

In 1979, the orchestra formally changed its name to Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra. In 1996, an act of the Norwegian parliament made the orchestra an independent foundation.

Although the orchestra has maintained high standards of quality since its inception and under various renowned musical directors, many consider that it saw its largest leap forward during the tenure of Mariss Jansons from 1979 to 2002. During this time the orchestra recorded readings of Tchaikovsky's symphonies, and went on international tours. The Oslo Philharmonic won international acclaim with its Tchaikovsky cycle and a very successful series of recordings for EMI. In 2000 the orchestra completed a cycle of Bartók for Simax. Other awards won by the Oslo Philharmonic include Grand Prix du Disque, Diapason d’Or, and the German Classical Music Award.

Subsequent music directors have been André Previn (2002-2006) and Jukka-Pekka Saraste (2006-2013). Saraste now has the title of æresdirigent (conductor laureate) with the orchestra. In February 2011, the orchestra announced the appointment of Petrenko as its next chief conductor, as of the 2013-2014 season, with an initial contract of 4 years. [1] [2] In November 2015, the orchestra announced the extension of Petrenko's contract through 2020. [3] Petrenko is scheduled to stand down as chief conductor of the orchestra at the close of the 2019-2020 season. [4]

In May 2018, Klaus Mäkelä first guest-conducted the orchestra. [5] On the basis of this appearance, in October 2018, the orchestra announced the appointment of Mäkelä as its next chief conductor, effective with the 2020-2021 season, with an initial contract of 3 seasons. [6]

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  1. "Vasily Petrenko Oslo-Filharmoniens neste sjefsdirigent" (Press release). Oslo Philharmonic. 18 February 2011. Archived from the original on 24 July 2011. Retrieved 2011-02-20.
  2. Laura Davis (2011-02-17). "Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra's Vasily Petrenko appointed chief conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 2011-02-20.
  3. "Vasily Petrenko extends Oslo contract to 2020". Gramophone. 2015-11-09. Retrieved 2017-01-04.
  4. "Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Announced Vasily Petrenko as Music Director from 2021–22 Season" (Press release). Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. 2 July 2018. Retrieved 2018-07-02.
  5. Hilde Bjørhovde (2018-10-03). "Klaus Mäkelä (22) blir ny sjefdirigent i Oslo-Filharmonien". Aftenposten. Retrieved 2018-10-03.
  6. "Klaus Mäkelä ny sjefdirigent fra 2020/21-sesongen" (Press release). Oslo Philharmonic. 3 October 2018. Retrieved 2018-10-03.