Part of the renowned Toshiba Grand Concert Series organised by Fuji-TV, the Oslo Philharmonic will tour two programmes in Japan in March under the baton of Chief Conductor Maestro Vasily Petrenko, with soloists Alice Sara Ott (piano) and Akiko Suwanai (violin).
From Grieg to Shostakovich
The ten-concert tour will showcase the orchestra in Tokyo, Nagoya, Hiroshima, Nishinomiya, Fukuoka, Kanazawa, Kawasaki and Sendai and features works by Grieg, Nilelsen, Mozart, Mendelssohn and Shostakovich on the programme.
Says the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra’s director Ingrid Røynesdal to Norwegian daily Aftenposten on the orchestra’s Japan tour: – The Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra is a prime example of a top-notch Norwegian export commodity. The orchestra’s prestigious Japan tour offers exposure in the Japanese public sphere that results in fantastic promotion of Oslo as a city, the nation as a whole and an opportunity to strengthen Norwegian music’s position on the global cultural arena. Classical music is a prized commodity in many parts of the world and Edvard Grieg as a brand remains as strong as ever, perhaps stronger than most other Norwegian export commodities.
From the 1870s to the present
The Oslo Philharmonic can trace its roots back to the 1870s, Edvard Grieg and Johan Svendsen, and was established under its present name in 1919. At its home venue, Oslo Concert Hall, the orchestra is annually giving 60-70 concerts, most of which are broadcast by Norwegian National Radio. The concert programme has a high international profile, as for the repertory as well as the performing artists. The orchestra also has school- and outreach programs, outdoor concerts in Oslo drawing up to 25 000 listeners, and nationwide touring programs.
With Mariss Jansons, Music director 1979-2002, the orchestra achieved great international fame. Touring activities from 1982 and on included regular visits at most of the major venues in Europe, like festivals such as BBC Proms, Edinburgh, Lucerne and Salzburg and residency at Vienna Musikverein, as well as major venues in the Americas and East Asia. In 2002 Mariss Jansons was succeeded by André Previn, and in 2006 the orchestra signed a five years contract with Jukka-Pekka Saraste, later to be prolonged until 2013. With Maestro Saraste, now Conductor Laureate, the orchestra has had highly successful concerts for instance at the BBC Proms (RAH) and Barbican Hall in London, Vienna Musikverein, Berlin and Cologne Philharmonie and European festivals.
In February 2011 Vasily Petrenko was introduced as Chief conductor from the season 2013-2014. The appointment has received great national and international attention, and already in 2011 he and the orchestra did successful concerts in Berlin, Vienna, Bratislava and Paris. In August 2013 they have visited BBC Proms for two concerts, and also Dublin, and in March 2014 they are invited for ten concerts in the Toshiba series in Japan.
Recordings with Vasily Petrenko include Shostakovich’s cello concertos with Truls Mørk (Ondine), Szymanowski’s violin concertos with Baiba Skride (Orfeo) ad Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 (LAWO), all to be released during 2014.