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Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra

One of the world’s oldest orchestras, the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra dates back to 1765 and thus in 2015 celebrated its 250th anniversary. Edvard Grieg had a close relationship with the Orchestra, serving as its artistic director during the years 1880 – 82. Edward Gardner, the acclaimed Music Director of English National Opera, was appointed Chief Conductor for a three-year tenure from October 2015, in succession to Andrew Litton, Music Director of the Orchestra since 2003, and now its Music Director Laureate. Under Litton’s direction the Orchestra raised its international profile considerably, through recordings, extensive touring, and international commissions.

A Norwegian national orchestra, the one-hundred-and-one strong Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra participates annually at the Bergen International Festival. During the last few seasons it has played in the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, at the BBC Proms in the Royal Albert Hall, in the Wiener Musikverein and Konzerthaus, in Carnegie Hall, New York, and in the Philharmonie, Berlin. In 2015 the Orchestra toured Germany, Sweden, The Netherlands, Ireland, and England, giving concerts at the Concertgebouw and at the BBC Proms, among others. Forthcoming tours will include the return to several of these prestigious venues.

The Orchestra has an active recording schedule, at the moment releasing no fewer than four to six CDs every year. Critics worldwide acknowledge the transformation the Orchestra has undergone in recent years, applauding the energetic playing style and the full-bodied string sound. Recent and ongoing recording projects include a Mendelssohn symphony cycle, Messiaen’s Turangalîla-Symphony, ballets by Stravinsky, and symphonies, ballet suites, and concertos by Prokofiev. The Orchestra’s recording of the complete orchestral music of Edvard Grieg remains the reference point in a competitive field. Enjoying long-standing artistic partnerships with some of the finest musicians in the world, the Orchestra has recorded with Leif Ove Andsnes, James Ehnes, Gerald Finley, Alban Gerhardt, Vadim Gluzman, Stephen Hough, Freddy Kempf, Truls Mørk, Steven Osborne, and Lawrence Power, among others.

Having recently recorded Tchaikovsky’s three great ballets with Neeme Järvi, for Chandos, the Orchestra has also recorded orchestral works, including the symphonies, by Rimsky-Korsakov and four critically acclaimed volumes of works by Johan Halvorsen. A series of the orchestral music of Johan Svendsen has met with similar enthusiasm. With Sir Andrew Davis the Orchestra has recorded music by Berlioz, Delius, Elgar, and Sibelius, and other projects will follow.

The first collaboration on disc between Edward Gardner and the Orchestra was a recording of orchestral realisations by Luciano Berio, which was released in 2011. A series devoted to orchestral works by Janáček is in the making, and two volumes have already been issued.

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