TORA AUGESTAD – MEZZO-SOPRANO
Tora Augestad’s versatility inspires composers, theatre directors, conductors, and fellow musicians alike. Her vocal capabilities defy easy classification: she is flexible, expressive yet precise, theatrically convincing with a compelling personality. Augestad (b. 1979) sings a broad variety of genres, primarily devoting herself to repertoire of the 20th and 21st centuries. She regularly commissions new works, amongst them a feministic chamber opera by Cecilie Ore that premiered at the Bergen International Festival in 2015. Since 2010 she has collaborated with the Swiss director Christoph Marthaler, spanning opera projects with music by Handel, Verdi, and Beat Furrer, to the playful combination of classical, jazz, cabaret, and pop music in Marthaler's own projects.
Born in Bergen, Norway, she studied classical music and jazz singing in Oslo and Stockholm before graduating with a master’s degree in cabaret singing from the Norwegian Academy of Music. A fascination with German cabaret led her to Berlin where she has resided since 2007. In 2004 she founded the ensemble Music for a While with exquisite performers from the Norwegian music scene. Her ensemble, BOA explores the landscape between avant-garde and pop music. In 2015 she was nominated for the Nordic Council Music Prize. In addition, she works closely with the composer and saxophonist Trygve Seim. Since 2014, Tora Augestad is joint artistic director of the Hardanger Musikkfest.
Augestad regularly performs with orchestras such as the Bergen Philharmonic, Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, Bamberg and NDR Symphony Orchestras, Ensemble Modern, and Klangforum Wien. In 2019 she will make her debut at both the Philharmonie de Paris and Elbphilharmonie Hamburg with a world premiere by Philippe Manoury.
JOSHUA WEILERSTEIN – CONDUCTOR
Joshua Weilerstein (b. 1987) is the Artistic Director of the Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne. Recognized for his integrity, clarity of musical expression, and profound, natural musicianship, he is committed to performing a wide range of repertoire and aims to bring new audiences into the concert hall.
He maintains a number of close relationships with leading international orchestras, including the Oslo Philharmonic, where he returns each season, the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, Stockholm Philharmonic, and the Swedish Chamber Orchestra.
Weilerstein has also lead the London Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Netherlands Philharmonic, Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, NDR Hannover, SWR Stuttgart, Bamberg Symphony, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Czech Philharmonic, Lahti Symphony Orchestra, West Australian Symphony, and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. In North America, he has appeared with the Vancouver Symphony, National Symphony Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and the New York Philharmonic, where he was Assistant and Associate Conductor.
In 2017, Weilerstein made his debut at the BBC Proms at London’s Royal Albert Hall where he conducted the BBC Symphony Orchestra with his sister, Alisa Weilerstein as soloist.
Joshua Weilerstein believes passionately in programming traditional and contemporary repertoire side by side and aims to include a work by a living composer in each of his concert programs. He is a strong advocate for open communication between the stage and audience. In 2017 he launched Sticky Notes: The Classical Music Podcast, a podcast for music lovers of any level of expertise. He is accessible on social media for further discussion on all aspects of classical music and the experience of concert-going.
CHRISTIAN EGGEN – CONDUCTOR
Conductor, composer, and pianist Christian Eggen (b. 1957) is one of the most influential figures on the Norwegian music scene. His field of expertise ranges from contemporary music via genre-merging projects, installations, television and radio drama productions to film, theatre, jazz, opera, and classical music.
As a conductor, he is known as one of Europe’s finest interpreters of contemporary music and has worked closely with composers such as Morton Feldman, John Cage, and Helmut Lachenmann. As a conductor of the Ny Musikk Ensemble, The Norwegian Radio Orchestra, and later as permanent conductor and artistic director of Cikada and Oslo Sinfonietta, he has developed Norwegian sinfonietta repertoire since the early eighties and regularly appears on the European contemporary music scene with groups such as the Ensemble MusikFabrik and Ensemble InterContemporain. He has worked with many orchestras including the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, the Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala in Milan, and the Royal Philharmonic in London.
He has written music for a vast range of formations and settings. His first opera, Franz Kafka Pictures, received its complete world premiere at the Norwegian National Opera in the autumn of 2013. Sections of the opera have been performed since 2009. As a pianist, Eggen is internationally renowned for his interpretations of Mozart and Carl Nielsen, the latter presented on the recording Carl Nielsen: Piano Music on the Victoria label.
Christian Eggen has collaborated on a multitude of recordings within all aspects of his faceted musical career. He was the Festival Artist of the Year at the Bergen International Festival in 2007 and was appointed Commander of The Royal Norwegian Order of Saint Olav for his contribution to contemporary music in Norway and abroad.
THE OSLO PHILHARMONIC
On 27 September 1919, a new orchestra took to the stage of the old Logan Hall in Oslo to give its first public concert. Conductor Georg Schnéevoigt presided over thrilling performances of Edvard Grieg’s Piano Concerto and Christian Sinding’s First Symphony. After forty years of making-do, the Norwegian capital had at last got the orchestra it deserved. The Oslo Philharmonic was born.
In the eight months that followed, the Oslo Philharmonic gave 135 concerts, most of which sold out. It tackled passionate Mahler, glistening Debussy and thrusting Nielsen. Soon, world famous musicians were coming to conduct it, relishing its youth and enthusiasm. Igor Stravinsky and Maurice Ravel visited Oslo to coach the musicians through brand new music. National broadcaster NRK began to hang microphones at the orchestra’s concerts, transmitting them to the whole of Norway.
Over the next half-century, the Oslo Philharmonic’s reputation grew steadily. Then, in 1979, it changed forever. A young Latvian arrived in Norway, taking the orchestra apart section-by-section, putting it back together a finely tuned machine with a whole new attitude. Under Mariss Jansons, the orchestra became a rival to the great Philharmonics of Vienna, Berlin and New York. It was soon playing everywhere, from Seattle to Salzburg, Lisbon to London. Back home in Oslo, it got a modern, permanent concert hall of its own. In 1986, EMI drew up the largest orchestral contract in its history, ensuring the world would hear the rich, visceral sound of the Oslo Philharmonic.
Three decades after that, the world is still listening. The Oslo Philharmonic retains its spirit of discovery and its reputation for finesse. Under Jukka-Pekka Saraste it cultivated even more the weight and depth that Jansons had instilled; under Chief Conductor Vasily Petrenko, it works at the highest levels of detail and style. Still the orchestra travels the globe, but it has never felt more at home. Its subscription season in Oslo features the best musicians in the business. Outdoor concerts attract tens of thousands; education and outreach programmes connect the orchestra with many hundreds more. In 2019/2020 the thriving city of Oslo will celebrate 100 years of the Oslo Philharmonic, the first-class orchestra it still deserves.