• Borealis 2018 – Programme Launch

Jenny Moore – Photo: Adam Chard

Welcome to five days of world premieres, exclusive performances and conversations across the city of Bergen, Norway for Borealis 2018!

From the opening notes of the festival, when we occupy the new building of the University of Bergen Faculty of Fine Art, Music and Design, to the closing movements of the construction cranes in Festplassen the festival is a journey through different approaches to sound, performance, and listening.

From Peter Ablinger’s new exploration of maximum density sound with Stian Westerhus and BIT20 Ensemble, to queer black underground pop star MHYSA’s electronic fantasies; from artist Sue Tompkin’s elastic vocal gallery performances to asamisimasa and Joanna Bailie’s interpretation of classic cartoons, the festival once again opens its doors to diverse, exploratory sound worlds.

With the premiere of three new Nordic operas and a major new international commission from composer Natacha Diels for construction cranes and large ensemble, premieres from Johannes Kreidler, Catherine Lamb, Daniel Moreira and Laurence Crane, to new works across the festival from 13 exciting Norwegian composers, Borealis 2018 explores the many faces of today’s composed music.

Throwing away the idea of genre, Bergen experimentalist Stephan Meidell presents a new live version of his celebrated Metrics project, Raven Chacon, Jenny Berger Myhre, G. E. K. and NaEE RoBErts take over the Bergen Kunsthall, and DJ Haram and lawd knows fill the dancefloor.

Our Konsertsirkus! returns, presenting experimental music for young and old, we’ll be hosting conversations about Radical Hospitality, Music and Film, experimental Radio, and Gender Balance, and opening exhibitions by Mårten Spångberg, Sue Tompkins and Trond Lossius.

Borealis is also about creating a community – making concerts accessible to as many people as possible, ensuring we have an equal gender balance in our curation, putting an emphasis on discussion and making space for different points of view, and collaborating with creative people across the city, whether they’re school children, ice–cream makers or budding composers.

Borealis 2018 is a five days rollercoaster of sound and music across the whole city… we hope to see you there!

2018’s festival includes some of the most exciting voices in Norwegian new music. Ensembles asamisimasa, Pinquins, BIT20 Ensemble, BIT20 String Quartet, Duo Hellqvist/Amaral, avGardEns, Valen Trio and Rosella all feature. Over five days we’ll be showcasing works by 13 Norwegian composers: Kristine Tjøgersen, Danielle Dahl, Ingvild Langgård, Jan Martin Smørdal, Knut Vaage, Sigurd Fischer Olsen, Øyvind Skarbø, Alan Ó Raghallaigh, Rebecka Sofia Ahvenniemi, Øyvind Mæland, Lars Skoglund, Kristin Bolstad and Tine Grieg Viig. Stian Westerhus performs in a new composed work by Peter Ablinger, Stephan Meidell will be presenting a new live version of his acclaimed Metrics project, and Jenny Berger Myhre and Sandra Mujinga join a line-up of international experimentalists at Bergen Kunsthall

Borealis believes that equal gender balance in programming makes for better festivals. In 2017 the festival management committed to programming Borealis in a way that reflects the rich, diverse community of people making art and music; to present inspirational role models to all of our audience; and to actively work to address infrastructural gender bias within our creative community. In 2017 we were awarded the first Gender Equality Prize, from the Norwegian Society of Composers, in recognition of our work towards equality in the music world. Borealis 2018 has an equal gender ratio in its composers and artists.

Once again the festival attempts to step outside of the concert hall and present music in new spaces. Working closely with composers, artists and musicians we want to engage with the city we live in – its built environment and the people who live here. Borealis 2018 will be taking over the Snøhetta designed UiB Faculty of Art, Music and Design, one of the newest spaces on the cultural skyline for an evening of music. We will be bringing dancing construction cranes and a large ensemble to a free event in Festplassen the plaza at the centre of the city, our family event will take over the temporarily empty galleries of the KODE 2 art museum, and our Radical Hospitality project will explore the public spaces of the city.

Borealis is also committed to providing opportunities for the next generation of Norwegian artists. Borealis Ung Komponist is our new mentoring programme for emerging composers connected to the West of Norway. The programme gives four exciting composers the chance to work intensively with local string quartet Rosella, and be mentored across a year by a mentor team of Norwegian and international composers. Our Future Opera project in collaboration with Bergen National Opera hands the stage over to three exciting Norwegian composers who, alongside a group of mentors have been working with an ensemble cast of singers and musicians to explore the future of opera in three new commissions.

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