Andreas Ihlebæk curates the Piano Chill list at Apple Music

And includes both Norwegian classics and music from contemporary Norwegian composers.

Skrevet av Kristiane Lunde 18.08.2021

Andreas Ihlebaek Live pa Manelanding Foto Mats Hustad
Andreas Ihlebæk (foto: Mats Hustad)

Pianist and composer Andreas Ihlebæk is doing a global campaign for Apple Music where he will front one of the world's largest classical playlists, Piano Chill.

Ihlebæk's modern classical music has been very well received by both national and international press, and he is now praised worldwide by Apple Music.

- The campaign means that I will curate one of the largest playlists in classical music, where Apple fronts me as "Guest Curator", says Ihlebæk.

The Piano Chill playlist contains 50 tracks, and 15 of them will be Ihlebæk's own.

- The rest will be pieces from other composers and pianists, which I am inspired by or are especially fond of. Here I have selected a number of Norwegian pieces, both well-known and lesser-known. It is everything from Norwegian classics to other contemporary Norwegian composers who make piano music in a modern classical context. I hope that compiling such a list also can be positive for other Norwegian musicians, says Ihlebæk.

Apple Music has supported Ihlebæk since the beginning
As part of the campaign, Ihlebæk also produces a number of videos where he tells about the pieces he has chosen that will be used in promotion on both social media and websites.

- Apple Music regularly selects artists they want to promote worldwide with various campaigns. They have already recognized my music by placing tracks on many of their major classical music playlists. Most of the tracks from the album "Northern Lullabies" and the recently released "I Will Build You A House" have been playlisted. Spotify, Amazon and Deezer have also placed the music on playlists, but Apple Music has been involved from the start, so it is terribly fun that they want to take it to a new level with this campaign here, says Ihlebæk enthusiastically.

Ihlebæk is signed by NXN Recordings in Oslo, which is part of the global Naxos Music Group with offices all over the world. The campaign has been developed through close collaboration across Naxos offices.

- NXN Recordings is Naxos Norway's in-house label, and has since its start-up in 2019 been given increasing priority in the Naxos system. Naxos Music Group, which has a large portfolio of own and distributed labels, presents NXN Recordings as Label of the Month and Andreas as Artist of the Month in its upcoming global newsletter, says Tomas Linnes, General Manager of Naxos Norway AS.

Andreas Ihlebaek
(foto: Marius Troy)

Ihlebæk has not always worked with modern classical music, but says that the classical interest grew more and more over the years.

- When I was going to release my first solo album, "The Guest", it became a hybrid of many genres and influences. It was a mixture of the classical influences, along with folk music, jazz and soul. The album received a lot of attention abroad, where the press described it as an interesting innovation, with modern classical music presented in a new packaging, says Ihlebæk.

His second solo album "Northern Lullabies" was nominated for a Spellemann Award, and the album has also received much publicity in Germany and Austria, among others. There they have taken deep dives into his music, and regularly create radio programmes about Ihlebæk on national cultural radio channels.

- I have written a lot of music for piano, and have for a long time wanted to make an album with piano versions of lullabies, but I never expected it to receive such a reception, both nationally and internationally. This album suddenly became a very exciting journey, which we now continue on my recent album "I Will Build You A House", says Ihlebæk.

Released music at the right time
When the pandemic hit, the world stopped for a bit and our normal lives and routines changed. Ihlebæk says that his albums and releases were music people sought out to find peace during this period.

- Several people have come up to me and said that their habits changed after their needs changed, and have told me that they have had more time to sit down and listen. A lot of people have sought out music that is calmer than what they would normally listen to, and that gives them something different than when life just went on as usual. In addition, they have expressed that they have found peace in listening to my music. But this was by no means part of my plan. I have been writing music like this for a number of years.

- Coincidentally, we released both "Northern Lullabies" and started releasing new self-composed piano pieces in parallel with the world going into lockdown, and that really hit the mark.

In conclusion, Ihlebæk adds that he believes modernization and technology make more and more people discover his music.

- There has been a high threshold for many to seek out some genres, like classical music, but you can more easily overcome this by being exposed to it, and feel that something is all right to listen to. My music falls under what is called modern classical music, but this is a genre that hits very wide, that it is not necessarily only the traditional classical music listener who finds my music, but also the young. To me, this appears to be a very exciting time, where many people, through streaming, have easier access to music they might never have sought out or listened to before.

Ihlebæk is curating the playlist from 13-26. August.