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Industry Talk: Lars Petter Hagen

By Julie Vold Posted: 20. Apr, 2017

Photo: Andreas Turau

Contemporary music from a two sided perspective. Meet the composer and Artistic Director, Lars Petter Hagen

Lars Petter Hagen is not only an award winning composer, he has also been an important influencer in his genre as an industry person. As Artistic Director at Ny Musikk – an organization for new contemporary music, and the festivals Happy Days and Nordic Music Days and most recently as Artistic Director of the renowned Ultima Festival. From October this year, you will see him as a creative adviser and project manager at The Oslo Philharmonic’s 100 year anniversary, which will be arranged in 2019/2020.

What has been your focus lately?
Bruckner. I am rediscovering classical music, and it’s wonderful. Performing classical music means a direct contact and dialogue with history which is very unique, and important in these times.

The most important piece of advice you have ever received?
Don’t feel sorry for yourself. My father told me that.

Your best industry-tip?
If you have a good idea, make sure it is realized.

Whats your golden moment to share with the rest of us?
I think it must be the first rehearsal with Hilversum Chamber Orchestra and Peter Oetvos before the premiere of my piece «Norwegian Archives» in Donaueschingen in 2005. It was a lot pressure and tension beforehand for a young composer, and when I heard the opening and it sounded as I had imagined, I almost started to cry. I had some of the same feeling when we did Benedict Masons «Music For Oslo City Hall» at Ultima in 2010. It had been several years with work and frustrations for a lot of people, and when I heard the first tones three days before the concert, I almost couldn’t belive it. I had to sit down for a moment. I felt dizzy. But this is why I continue to work with music. These moments where artistic vision and hard work from a lot of people suddenly come together in a truly unique and mind-altering experience. It makes you forget all the frustrations for a while.

Why Norway, why now?
It seems to big a momentum for Norwegian music in a number of different genres and styles at the moment. I think there are several reasons for it, among others an open attitude, collaborative spirit and healthy scepticism for conventions and authorities. But it is also obvious to me that of many the successes, even for some one like Kygo, are connected with the long-term political will in Norway to support everything from music schools and local organizations to professional institutions over a long period time. It is easy to forget that we stand on the shoulders of everyone before us, and that the possibilities we have today are because of hard work from generations before us. We should keep that perspective in mind when we make structures for the future.

Who in the Norwegian music industry deserves a high five?
Maybe Eiler Nils Fleischer at the Norwegian Consulate in New York.  He might not be from the music industry, but is certainly someone who has done a lot for Norwegian music the last years, with his passionate interest and big knowledge. Other than that, I would give high fives to all the amazing enthusiasts who work every day with arranging concerts, festivals, making magazines, blogs and you name it, to promote their favourite music and at the same time make sure that we can have experimental music in small places all over Norway. It is a true grassroot-movement, and the art music scene is completely dependent on these people. This is where new ideas are born.

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