We broke a record in the amount of people applying to our mentor programme Borealis Ung Komponist this year. We’re extremly happy to see the growing interest in this programme. A big thank you to everyone who applied!

The lucky four that get to take part in the third edition of the mentor programme have been selected and we can’t wait to see these strong voices develop over the course the autumn and winter!

Their mentors are Carmina Escobar (MX), Elaine Mitchener (UK), Therese B. Ulvo (NO) and Øyvind Torvund (NO).

The participants of Borealis Ung Komponist 19/20 are:

 Aslak Bjørge Hermstad

Foto: Kristoffer Øen

Aslak is a composer and has his Bachelor in Composition from the Grieg Academy at the University of Bergen. His background is as a punk – and later classic – guitarist. He loves to explore and collect inspiration from different kinds of expressions and has a deep interest in the social and political sides of music. 

Eva Pfitzenmaier

Foto: Klara Sofie Ludvigsen

Eva was born and raised in Germany and studied at the Conservatorium Van Amsterdam. She moved to Bergen 10 years ago. Eva’s work is genre-crossing and multidisciplinary as a vocalist, performer, composer and when she works with text. Her music is inspired by both contemporary, and electronic music, alternative pop and traditional music from all over the world.

Hilde Annine Hasselberg

Foto: Øystein Grutle Haara

Hilde is a classical soprano and a graduate of the Grieg Academy at the University of Bergen. She also added on to her classical training by studying live electronics at the Norwegian Academy of Music. This is also where she started composing. Hilde has collaborated with Transitteateret – Bergen, BIT20 Ensemble and Borealis and has a long track record as an active participant in the new music scene in Bergen, both as a singer, composer and as part of staged performances.

Steinar Yggeseth

Steinar is a composer and has his education from the Norwegian Academy of Music. He often works with sonic relations, and his pieces develop somwhere in between timbre and tone. He often uses elements of improvisation in his pieces, either in the process or incorporated as part of the performance. Steinar’s has composed for both larger ensembles and smaller intimate spheres.

Borealis 2019 – so many new ideas, fresh musical experiences, alternative conversations, important encounters and fun moments. We spent 5 days wandering the city of Bergen filling our heads and hearts with stories that the mainstream do not tell. Here’s 5 days in under 6 minutes – we hope to see you in Bergen next year: 4–8 March 2020

Tine Rude and Peter Meanwell (2019). Photo: Thor Brødreskift

We’re very happy to announce that Peter Meanwell has accepted to stay on for another 4-year term as artistic director of Borealis – a festival for experimental music in Bergen – and will lead the artistic work of the festival until 2024. Meanwell came into the organisation in 2014, the same year as Managing Director Tine Rude. Since then they have produced 5 successful festivals together. Rude’s position was made permanent in 2016, and the strong leader team will continue their work to strengthen Borealis’ postition both internationally and nationally.

«I’m delighted to keep working with Borealis as we develop the festival as a space for adventurous listeners and critical enquiry. It’s been a total joy to work with composers, artists and musicians from near and far as we commission work, instigate projects, and have open conversations together. To see that the audience has responded positively to a festival that is artistically rigorous and values gender equity and diverse voices in its programming is very exciting and I hope that in the next few years we can continue to make Borealis a space that everyone feels they can take part in. Working in Bergen, with the excellent Borealis team and our collaborators across the city, I’m looking forward to a future presenting more projects that push the boundaries of how we listen together.»
Peter Meanwell – Artistic Director, Borealis

Borealis 2019 was an amazing celebration of sound and musicdifferent ways of being, and collective listening5 days of sold out events and an audience who moved through a sea of ideasemotions and sounds, creating connections, having conversations and exploring together.

The five days started with a one-off collaboration with the elnicho festival from Mexico City, featuring new music from Øyvind Torvund performed by the Norwegian BIT20 Ensemble and the Mexican ensemble Liminar, surprising use of the tongue as a musical instrument by Diego Espinosa Cruz Gonzalez, food from the local Bonanza Café Collective and films from Manuela De Laborde, who also presented a new work with Jenny Berger Myhre that took an intimate snapshot of the sounds and feelings of Mexico City – even for those who have never been there.

The festival days continued with engaging conversations and musical and artistic reflections – both full of humour, but at the same time serious – talking about the time and the bodies we live in, consent, erasure and much more. We listened to music, radio art and discussions; witnessed performance and dance; ate ice cream from Hallaisen, drank tea from Tedragen, and Borealis beer from Ekangersmuget; we participated in genre-defying, transformative, emotion-filled sessions with Borealis Artist in Residence Jenny Moore; had our prejudices challenged and inhaled new ideas from all over the world. Music was played and sonic experiments undertaken in 16 different venues across the city of Bergen, from the outdoor swimming pool to the local piano shop, from the multiplex cinema to the public library – all the while the snow, the sun, the rain and the wind were underscoring the ever-changing nature of what we were hearing.

Many thanks to everyone who came, to all the composers and artists, and to everyone who helped create Borealis 2019!

Pictures from those 5 lovely days in March! 

The whole festival on icareifyoulisten.com 
The whole festival on National Sawdust Log.org
The whole festival on Kunstkritikk.no – in Danish
The whole festival on 5against4.com (in two parts)
Sounding Bodies on ballade.no – in Norwegian
♥ LOVE and TIME TIME TIME on Seismograf.org – in Danish
Interviews and music from Borealis 2019 on NRK’s radio programme «Spillerom Søndag» – in Norwegian & English:
17th of March – interviews with Jessie Marino, Jenny Berger Myhre etc
24th of March – interviews with Jenny Moore, Peter Meanwell etc


Jenny Moore: Still Life Still Loud Photo: Kalina Pulit

We’re incredible happy to have Jenny Moore as our Artist in Residence in 2019! For this year’s festival she takes over the room Upstairs at Bergen Kunsthall each afternoon between 3pm and 5pm, inviting anyone who wants to join as she explores being-alone-while-being-together. Her Still Life Still Loud draws inspiration from tremble therapy, poet CAConrad and her own life and each day will end with communal singing! Anyone can join 1, 2, 3 – or all sessions.

For the opening of the festival this year Borealis and elnicho in Mexico City merge to create one big musical adventure! It’s been in the making for years and finally we can see the result of sharing ideas, musicians and resources across the Atlantic. Members of the Mexican new music ensemble Liminar are coming to play, and the local BIT20 Ensemble will perform work by Øyvind Torvund, Marisol Jiménes and Marcelo Toledo. It all happens in the converted Sardine Factory, USF Verftet, that will be filled with the music and taste of Mexico! The evening ends in a world premiere of Jenny Berger Myhre and Manuela De Laborde’s audio visual ghost story from Mexico City!

Cara Tolmie & Stine Janvin

The time has come for you to mark the 6th–10th of March with a big X in your calendar! Borealis 2019 is right around the corner, so clean out your ears, freshen up your playlists and call the baby/dogsitter!

Watch the programme launch video for Borealis 2019 here for an efficient peak into what’s coming!

This year, artists and composers from Norway and around the world are asking questions through their work. Through sound and stories, films and installations they’re inviting us to step outside of ourselves and look at things through another perspective. Borealis 2019 presents concerts, exhibitions, films, workshops, radio and conversations. This year’s festival is full of conversations – conversations about TIME, conversations with plants, conversations across histories, conversations about LOVE…

The full programme for Borealis 2019 with its 25 events in 15 venues over 5 days is now online!

A performance in the central train station, music for military band, a sonic journey into the heart of the oil raffinery in Mongstad and winter swimming in the fjord at the iconic Nordnes Sjøbad are just some of the things happening at the festival this year! Further down you find a selections of events – for the full overview go to www.borealisfestival.no

We can’t wait to see you in March!

psst – we still have room for more volunteers, so sign up, and take part!

Conversation Between Bodies is a collaborative project between Daniel Slåttnes and Sara Rönnbäck, that has been developing since 2015. It has taken the form of an artist book as well as exhibitions in Norway and abroad.

Their exploration of inter-material relationships began between the artists themselves, and extended out to their cat, and to materials in their studio. The objects carry their own story, but also create new connections in the meeting with Daniel and Sara. In Conversation Between Bodies they assume that the art materials also have a will, and so collaborate to give the material the opportunity to express themselves.

Through their explorations they have realised that it is also difficult to communicate between us people. Many shades of meaning within verbal language fall into misinterpretations. Can we learn something about the understanding of «the other» by seeing our cat, a tree, or a stone differently?

As part of the closing night of their Aldea exhibition, Daniel Slåttnes and Sara Rönnbäck present a performance exploring inter-material relationships. Daniel and Sara wear full body suits with electrodes that pick up the electrical signals of the body. In the same manner, the objects are dressed in body suits with electrodes that amplify the object’s signals. These signals are transformed in to sound that fills the room. Together, both visually and sonically, they create a «superorganism» where the boundaries between me and you, this and that are wiped out. In the room we are all bodies or objects, depending on how much free will we are willing to ascribe to ourselves.

Colombian artist Icaro Zorbar’s installation Shaping Lines at Lydgalleriet captures parallel and contradictory situations with recorded, sculptural and live material concerning the experience and endurance of time. Through his work, Icaro consistently questions the nature of being human. In order to navigate this existential labyrinth he composes narratives where different technologies entwine within a certain space. Some of those installations struggle to keep going, and like us, demand specific care. These scenarios he call assisted installations and Icaro will be performing some of these for the opening of his exhibition at Borealis.

These reincarnations of obsolete technologies, like reel-to-reel tape and record players, affirm the unstable physical and sonic analogies where limitations, gravity, electricity, tricks and fragility operate at the same time. His work lies somewhere between works of art, machines, and games consisting of screens, science fiction, and mirrorings, conjuring an uneasy but beautiful world.

Juliana Huxtable Photo: Juri Hiensch

Today we’re announcing 5 more events at #Borealis2019 – and with that we take another step towards 6 March!

Collaborating with Bergen Kunsthall together these events explore the hinterlands where the visual and audible collide through concerts, performances, films, conversations and communal singing. We’re excited to invite an international and eclectic group of artists and musicians: Beatrice Gibson, Phoebe Collings-James and Last Yearz Interesting Negro, Jenny Hval, Colin Self, Bad@Maths, B L A C K I EJuliana Huxtable and Jenny Moore.

The starting point for our collaboration with Bergen Kunsthall has been a joint admiration for filmmaker and artist Beatrice Gibson who will be the focus of an extensive presentation at Bergen Kunsthall in the spring of 2019. In addition to the exhibition we’re collaborating on the Norwegian premiere of Beatrice’s new film Deux Soeurs Qui Ne Sont Pas Soeurs  during the Friday of the festival. The film is based on a manuscript by American author Gertrude Stein from 1929, with new music from Laurence Crane

Beatrice Gibson: Deux Soeurs Qui Ne Sont Pas Photo: Deux Soeurs Qui Ne Sont Pas Souers, Beatrice Gibson, 2018, Courtesy of LUX and Laura Bartlett

Friday at Borealis 2019 continues with an exploration of the embodiment of ideas through radical performance – Sounding Bodies will be a night that teeters on the edge of visual art, music and dance. We’re excited to welcome Phoebe Collings-James and Last Yearz Interesting Negro’s new pieceSound as Weapon, Sounds 4 Survival, a glimpse of a new work by Norwegian musician and author Jenny Hval, and an unexpected combination of choir concert and club concept from the American artist Colin Self.

Sounding Bodies Photo: Sounds as Weapon, Sounds 4 Survival by Phoebe Collings-James and Last Yearz Interesting Negro at Wysing Polyphonic music festival with Yasmine Akim, Onyeka Igwe and Katarzyna Perlak. September 2018. Image by Wilf Speller

Saturday night brings us back to a collaboration with Bergen’s most experimental concert series Utmark. In 2019, the intensity increases with noise rap maverick B L A C K I E from Houston, Texas, idiosyncratic vocal duo Bad@Maths and multi-disciplinary artist Juliana Huxtable who comes straight from Brooklyn to play one of her notorious DJ sets. Read more! 

Juliana Huxtable Photo: Juri Hiensch

But it’s not just late nights at Borealis, there’s a lot happening before the sun sets. In 2019, Jenny Moore will be our Artist in Residence! She takes over the Upstairs at Bergen Kunsthall each afternoon between 3pm and 5pm, inviting anyone who wants to join as she explores being-alone-while-being-together. Her Still Life Still Loud draws inspiration from tremble therapy and poet CAConrad and each day will end with communal singing! Anyone can join 1, 2 or all sessions.

Jenny Moore: Still Life Still Loud Photo: Kalina Pulit

We release the full programme in January 2019! In the meantime: find out more about all the artists and events here , and check out the links below for more!