2020 will soon be over, and we feel ready to step into the New Year – with a festival! We were the last festival in Norway that could happen as normal before Corona turned our life upside down. Since then we have looked under every stone to find the best ways to arrange a festival in a world where excessive socialising is not recommended. We are ready for the challenge and are super excited to invite you to our festival in 2021! There will be live concerts and delicious physical listening experiences, but also a lot of goodies you can enjoy through the screen, whether you’re at home in Bergen or wherever you are in the world.
Borealis 2021 will be: Safe & Weird Live & Online Home & Away Kind & Wild
The programme for Borealis 2021 will be released in January together with a brand new website – we’ll let you know when it’s ready for you to explore. We wish you a very Happy Christmas whether you’re taking a proper break, working, or if you’re closing your eyes until the new year is finally here.
Digital hugs and a Happy Christmas from all of us in the Borealis Team ❄️
Maybe you also need to rebel a bit during the holidays – in that case you can drop by Galleri Entrée where artist Lin Wang has transformed the gallery into a tattoo shop: Exotic Dreams Tattoo Shop. You pay in personal stories and get a totally real tattoo in return.
If you wish you can then continue over to Bergen Kunsthall where the exhibitionBasically by Nikima Jagudajev is on. This is an ongoing live event where you’re invited to experience choreography, rehearsal, discussion and staging of movement based work. The exhibition is made specifically to work with Covid regulations.
The german music magazine POSITIONEN features a review of Borealis 2020 in its newest issue! A much needed reminder that beautiful things happened in 2020…
“In the city of Bergen, surrounded by the rugged fjord landscape of Western Norway, the festival for experimental music was dedicated to the most urgent and topical social issues, something I have never seen at other music festivals. In the 5 days of the festival trending topics such as the climate crisis, racism, inclusion and gender issues were not sketched out superficially, but had actually influenced the details of the festival planning.”
Borealis 2021 is on its way! We were the last festival in Norway to be held before the lockdown in 2020, and since then we have all had a different year. The situation has influenced us to think in new, local and sustainable ways. We have planned for a festival that can take place even under strict infection control measures, with a digital and physical, indoor and outdoor presence. The volunteers are an important part of what we know as the Borealis atmosphere, and we are very happy that we’re able to invite you along this year too!
In the newest episode of our podcast Borealis Samtale Australian curator Joel Stern discusses the intersection of the sonic and the political, as explored through the Australian curatorial platform Liquid Architecture. Framed by the context of two fundamental and ongoing struggles in Australia – for the recognition of Indigenous sovereignty, and for the rights of refugees in detention – Joel Stern shares ideas and works by artists participating in the curatorial project Eavesdropping, and opens a broader discussion not just about sound, but about the politics, ethics and responsibilities of listening.
For our fourth gathering of the season we will meet up digitally, where we will be exploring Togetherness through music, the digital format and in conversation with the audience.
On the programme this time is an excerpt from South African artist Candice Breitz’s Legend (A Portrait of Bob Marley) from 2005, a dig back into the American folk archives to a recording of the song 47b Idumea from The Sacred Harp, and in our long listen we’ll go back to 1969 and hear Paragraph 2 from Cornelius Cardew’s seminal experimental work for the Scratch Orchestra, The Great Learning.
Transgender Awareness Week is happening in Norway for the first time this week! Organised in Bergen by local organisations SAGA (Sexuality and Gender Acceptance), Queer World West og PKI (Patient organisation for Gender Incongruence) there will be an extra focus on Arabic speaking communities offering both the programme and some events in Arabic. There will be listening sessions, conversations and radio shows – all digital! Follow them on Facebook and Instagram for updates on how you can participate in this important event.
For Transgender Awareness Week we will be taking a dive into our archive and post pictures to amplify the work of trans/ non-binary artists who have performed at the festival in the past; follow our Instagram during the week.
Borealis is a festival for experimental music and has existed since 2004. In adition to organising a festival we put an emphasis on using the platform we’ve been given to contribute to creating the society we want to see in the future. Borealis wants to represent diversity, on and off the stage and in the audience. We salute and support SAGA, Skeiv Verden Vest and PKI who are working to amplify trans related issues and are thrilled that this week is finally being organised in Norway so we can all learn and develop our awareness around transgender issues.
Bergen composer Ruth Bakke and visual and video artist Anne Marthe Dyvi have found each other and are working on a new commission for pipe organ and video projection for Borealis 2021! The project carries the working title De Compositionand is being written for the impressive Storetveit Church, built in 1930, designed by the renowned architect Ole Landmark. Bakke has worked at Storetveit as church organist for 45 years in addition to her impressive career as a composer, and so for her the premiere will be on home turf, but this time in a whole new setting with Anne Marthe Dyvi’s visuals, inspired by nature’s processes and the inner working of the pipe organ, accompanying the music.
Anne Marthe Dyvi discovered Ruth Bakke‘s work back in 2018 when she heard an in-depth interview with the composer on Norwegian National Radio and Borealis is proud to present this fresh collaboration between these two outstanding artists from two different art fields and generations. Bakke, born 1947, made a career for herself in composition and as an organ player. She studied in the USA for a longer period in the 60’s and 70’s and has composed large orchestral works as well as music for brass band and chamber ensembles. Dyvi, born 1979, on the other hand comes from the visual arts field and has had her base in Bergen since 2010 when she finished her Masters degree at the Bergen Academy of Fine Art and Design. Dyvi has a special interest in technology and time, human existence, survival and behaviour, which comes through in her work.
Together Bakke and Dyvi will create a piece where their differences and different expertise – the aural and visual – will meet and grow into each other. Using nature’s circular processes, the wheel of time, geological time and human affected time as their ground structure and inspiration, we can’t wait to see what comes out of this new and exciting collaboration presented in March for Borealis 2021!
Speakerspeaker is a platform for experimental writing, conversation and sound work which explore current themes through a collective voice. On Saturday there’s a double launch of the two most recent books titled Silence og Failure. Check out their programme on the Facebook event!
Borealis Listening Club is back in October to soothe your eardrums and spark your curiosity! This time we’re looking at the theme Isolation through music. A varied soundscape and freshly popped popcorn awaits you!
We’re incredibly happy to announce that Raven Chacon is composing new work for BIT20 Ensemble to be premiered at Borealis 2021 in March!
Using voice, field recordings and moving image, this new commission sees Chacon combining his solo career in noise and electronic music with his extensive experience in composing chamber music – a combination he rarely employs.
Chacon is a composer, performer and installation artist from Fort Defiance, Navajo Nation residing in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He’s the recipient of several fellowships and awards for his outstanding work in composition. As a solo artist, collaborator, or with Postcommodity, Chacon has exhibited or performed at Whitney Biennial and documenta 14 amongst others.
We can’t wait to present his music as part of Borealis 2021 and to work with the versatile musicians of the BIT20 Ensemble!
October is like a cultural dream! We highly recommend you drop by BIFF – you can literally go see whatever film and get smarter, but we specifically recommend the documentary “Other Music” about the legendary record store with same name in New York.
For those of you who are not in Bergen, or have to stay at home, BIFF also offers a selection of their 2020 programme on their own streaming site BIFF+. “Other Music”, “Babyteeth” and a range of other goodies from this year’s programme are possible to rent between 12th and 31st of October. It’s also worth checking out films from their archive on BIFF+, which are out the whole year!
We have expanded our forces on the team! It’s with great pleasure we’re presenting our three new interns Said Abdullahi, Émilie Fanor-Fontaine and Runa Halleraker! With varied backgrounds in music, arts and film they will be working with production, communication and the volunteers towards Borealis 2021.
Runa Halleraker (b. 1995) from Trondheim is currently studying a Master in Art at The Art Academy in Bergen, KMD, UiB, where they work with painting, words and installation. Their first solo exhibition was held at Galleri Fisk in November 2019, and some recent group exhibitions include Kommunikation at Färgfabriken in Stockholm and MERGE at Cafe Gallery Project & Dilston Grove in London. On the side Runa has worked with photography, design and communication for different cultural organisations, for example Stormfestivalen and Pstereofestivalen, and here at Borealis they will be working with communication.
Émilie Fanor-Fontaine (b. 1991) from Paris will be working with our volunteers here at Borealis. With an extensive background in film, philosophy and nordic, she has in recent years been active as guest curator, assisting editor and volunteer for different organisations including Cinemateket, Isme Film and BIFF. She took her Master in Film, heritage, curating and preserving at Université Paris 8 and Stockholm’s University (2015-2017), and aims towards becoming a film director.
Said Abdullahi (b. 1995) came to Bergen from Kenya in 2011, and has in recent years contributed to the music scene in Bergen. He has been part of establishing DJ collective Svette Føtter (2019), has long been part of Fargespill (2012-2018), and here at Borealis he will be working with production. In more recent time, Said has also been building his own DJ name, Said Warya, and had gigs both on radio and for a range of concepts including at Østre and Café Opera.
We need good aural input now that autumn is knocking at our door and the safety of our sofa is more relevant than ever. Check out the new podcast “What’s love got to do with it” curated by film-maker Beatrice Gibson, who took part in Borealis 2019. For this new podcast Beatrice invited renowned contemporary poets like CAConrad, Alice Notley and Precious Okoyomon to talk about nothing less than, LOVE! Also check out the new record Juxtaposition II (Blitzopposition)from the turbulent quartet of Oslo and Bergen-based improvisers Agnes Hvizdalek, Guro Moe, Håvard Skaset and Utku Tavil, bringing the house down with two voices, bass, guitar, and drums.
We’re excited to be part of this newly launched book of interviews: Taking the Temperature: Crisis, Curating, and Musical Diversity edited by Brandon Farnsworth, Anna Jakobsson and Vanessa Massera. It reflects on some of the implications of the current situation for music and the performing arts, and how this connects to issues of curatorial practice and intersectional diversity issues in contemporary music. Read it here!
For the third episode of our podcast, Borealis Samtale, you can hear composer, trombonist and academic George Lewis in conversation with Borealis Artistic Director Peter Meanwell, recorded at the festival earlier this year.
For this month’s Borealis Listening Club we’re thinking about Care – for each other, for ourselves – and how this comes across in different music we listen to. On the playlist: Jenny Gräf Sheppard gives electric guitars to older women with Alzheimer’s; Abdu Ali wants to be free with his body; and Cassandra Miller thinks about healing and gratitude through her new string quartet with voice in our “Long Listen”.
Aslak Bjørge Hermstad, Eva Pfitzenmaier, Hilde Annine Hasselberg and Steinar Yggeseth wrote new pieces for the trio YrrY as part of our Mentor Programme Borealis Ung Komponist. Their music premiered at Borealis 2020 and is now travelling to Øystese for an evening concert at Kunsthuset Kabuso where the yearly art exhibition Vestlandsutstillingen is open.
Fortunately August will not be completely without live events, and so do use Bergen’s cultural spaces – keeping a safe distance.
If you’re in Bergen make sure to catch the one night festival Jazzknappleik at USF Verftet, Friday 17.08, 20.00 featuring local stars Øyvind Torvund and Alwynne Pritchard on stage. If you prefer staying in why not watch the highly acclaimed documentary I am not your negro by Raoul Peck on NRK which takes its inspiration from an unfinished script by author James Baldwin. And for a deep listen check out Bergen local Inish Hedén’s new techno mix featuring a recording of F*Choir from Borealis 2020.
In June we launched our very own Podcast series – Borealis Samtale! Every month we’ll release a new episode, and it’s a deep dive into the Borealis conversations archive.
This month we’ve found a gem from our 2016 festival calledInfrasonic: the politics, production and performance of electronic music where you’ll hear curator Louis Moreno, musician Jlin, curator and musician Paul Purgas and Will & Freya from the duo Yeah You discussing the inspirations, strategies and infrastructures that form both the inside and the outside of their creative processes. LISTEN NOW!
Borealis Listening Club returns for Season 5 asking how music deals with some of the most urgent states of being today. From Protest to Isolation to Care, each month we’ll be picking records, eating popcorn, and listening together. For Season 5 we’ll be moving to our new space, Studio 207, at Strandgaten 207 on the last Wednesdays of the month, and if you want to suggest music to listen to be sure to get in touch on email email@example.com.
From music recorded in the underground American subway systems by Matana Roberts in solidarity with the Standing Rock protests, to feminist protest punk performed at street demonstrations by Deli Girls, we’ll be exploring different modes of politics and music this time. Each month we’ll also have a “deep listen” and for Protest we’ll be spending time with the String Quartets of American composer Wadada Leo Smith.
We’re looking for people who are interested in music, art, theater and other artistic expressions, and who are looking for experience in cultural work and festival production. There are lots of tasks that need solving for Borealis to happen and our interns get a wide range of experiences in different areas. We’re looking for people that will follow our Heads of Communication, Production and Volunteer Coordination. Through this 6 month part-time internship you’ll get a unique look into the inner life of a music festival and invaluable work experience in the cultural field.
We’re very happy to announce the new participants in the fourth round of our mentor programme Borealis Ung Komponist! This year saw a doubling of applicants from the year before and we’re thrilled and proud to be able to deliver a mentor programme bringing together international mentors with emerging local composers and adventurous musicians.
This year’s participants are: Agnes Hvizdalek, Mirte Bogaert, Tord Kalvenes and Vegar Guleng – a bouquet of exciting new compositional voices all with musical investments in Bergen and Western Norway. With diverse backgrounds spanning composition and improvisation, contemporary dance and choral music this will be an exciting group to follow for the next 8 months.
The four participants will be writing music for renowned early music ensemble Currentes to perform at Borealis 2021, and from the autumn will be guided by a team of international renowned mentors: Alwynne Pritchard (UK/NO), Raven Chacon (US) and Øyvind Torvund (NO).
Borealis Samtale is our new podcast diving in to the archive of conversations with composers, artists and musicians recorded at the festival starting 2015 – spanning the musical, social and political. We can’t wait to share all this wonderful insights into the work and thoughts of some of our favourite composers, musicians, curators and thinkers. We’ll be releasing an episode per month – you can find it on our Soundcloud or wherever you find you podcasts.
Our first episode features a conversation between British performer Elaine Mitchener and Dr. Temi Odumosu, Senior Lecturer in Cultural Studies at Malmö University in Sweden following the Scandinavian premiere of Elaine’s work SWEET TOOTH at Borealis 2020. They discuss how music can relate to the history of the international enslavement trade, and the way art can function to evoke and heal this trauma.
After five lovely years in Hordaland Kunstsenter we’re moving on and into new offices! From now on you’ll find us in Strandgaten 207. The office is on street level with a shared space managed by us and our friends in Piksel – festival for electronic art and free technology. The shared space is called Studio 207, and will house both our and Piksels’s events all year round. OUr free monthly listening event Borealis Listening Club will be moved to Studio 207.
Studio 207 is an exciting collaboration and space for experimental music and electronic art run by Borealis – a festival for experimental music and Piksel – festival for electronic art and free technology in Bergen, Norway. This collaboration between the two prime festivals within the field of experimental art and music in Bergen is new as of 2020 and offers up lots of new opportunities and thrilling events in the time to come. Together these two festivals fill the space with anything from workshops and exhibitons to concerts and listening clubs, all year around.
Studio 207 is a 60 m² large space in Strangaten 207 in central Bergen. Borealis and Piksel have their offices on either side of Studio 207 and curate the content for the space in close collaboration. Established concepts that take place in Studio 207 is: Borealis Listening Club, Piksel Fest Spill og Piksel Kidz Lab. Parts of Borealis’ and Piksel’s festival programme is also hosted in the space.
Borealis is closely monitoring advice from national and local public health
authorities in Norway regarding the COVID-19 outbreak, and following their
A decision has been taken in consultation with Bergen Emergency Health
Centre, Norwegian Public Health Institute and Bergen City Council to cancel
involvement in the festival of artists from areas of continuous transmission of
COVID-19. This includes areas in Northern Italy. The artists concerned agreed
to this decision even though none of them have shown symptoms.
The festival will provide antibacterial gel dispensers at ticket desks at
the entrance to all venues for audience use, and information posters about
general handhygiene have been hung in all our venues, and distributed to all
visiting artists and delegates.
We encourage all our audience to keep up to date with the advice of public health authorities.
Doing Not Saying is an artist led project that has brought different perspectives to our organisational structures. Together with artist, activist, musician and choir leader Jenny Moore we’ve looked at how we can make an amazing festival full of great art and music, but that also makes the world less racist and sexist. Read more about Doing Not Saying!
Doing Not Saying at Borealis 2020, is a series of talks, open workshops and physical engagements led by our artist in residence Jenny Moore and her anarchist, intersectional feminist punk choir, F*Choir, that use active methods of engagement to break patriarchal hierarchies and enact queer social structures in our every day life.
Week 6 Borealis will move office to Verkstedet for 1 week. We’ll welcome you with coffee, cakes and a chat about the festival programme! Are you interested in volunteering, or just need some insider info on which shows are gonna be sold out first, dont be shy, come say hi! We are also selling our great festival merch: bottles, t-shirts, gym bags and caps!
*Borealis Open Office* Monday 3–7 February – 10.00– 16.00 Come by for a coffee and a chat. We’ll inform you about this year’s programme + you can get your hands on our amazing merch. You can also just hang out, and work.
Wednesday 5 February – 19.00 Programslippfest Borealis 2020. We’re celebrating the fact that it’s only 1 month left untill the festival kicks off. Come grab a welcome drink and a programme book, there’ll be live music and a guidet tour of the 2020 programme by Artistic Director Peter Meanwell. Special discounted Festival Pass on sale ONLY this evening! Are you curious about Borealis? Then this is the perfect event for you.
*Borealis 2020 Festival Office* During Borealis 2020 the 4–8 March, Verkstedet will house our ticket and festival office, as well as Doing Not Saying: a series of talks, open workshops and physical engagements led by our Artist in Residence Jenny Moore and her anarchist, intersectional feminist punk choir, F*Choir from London.
On March 7th and 8th Borealis is hosting the award winning opera performance Sun & Sea, and we need you to take part!
The setting is a sunny afternoon on a beach, kids play, dogs bark and sunbathers lie around in their swimsuits as singers sing songs about the changing climate around us. As we build our beach (inside!) in Bergen, we need people to join the performance, and spend a day or two on this unique beach. Having won the Golden Lion at this summer’s Venice Biennale, critics around the world have praised Sun & Sea for its mix of ecological awareness and powerful impact – “This year’s showstopper, whose deep ecological engagement comes with irrepressible joy” said the New York Times.
In order to build up the beach community for the Scandinavian premiere of this work, we are looking for a diverse range of people, and if you would like to join this unique project, then please fill out the form below so that the artists can make their casting decisions! The piece needs to represent all of us, so all bodies are welcome, and those with dogs or kids can bring the family too! No skills or experience needed, only your own swimwear. The performances takes place at the Faculty of Fine Art, Music and Design, UiB on the 7th and 8th of March, and run between 11.00 and 16.00. Please tell us a bit about yourself and your availability to take part in one or both of the performances.
Stine Janvin creates SOLD (a dog and pony show) for Borealis 2020 – a comprehensive performance concert with a bombastic and flashy stage show composed by a specially crafted rhythm light organ manoeuvred by Morten John, Sami fashion designer for Ramona Salo, computer graphics by Erik Ferguson, dance choreographed by Stephanie Mowinckel, self-confessed pop star dreams, cynical overtrap, group dynamics, longing, togetherness and love – and of course her “very strong and bright voice” , as she describes it.
“They will remember that we were sold, but not that we were strong.
They will remember that we were bought but not that we were brave.”
– William Prescott, 1937 (former slave).
We are proud to present SWEET TOOTH a dramatic music theatre work by vocalist and movement artist Elaine Mitchener as a new addition to the Borealis 2020 programme. Growing up in East London with Jamaican ancestry, in SWEET TOOTH Elaine uses her personal history to shed light on our collective, ugly history of selling and buying human beings for profit and prosperity.
For our second Borealis 2020 programme release, composers and performers tackle real world issues from climate change to the impact of technology on our lives. From large scale orchestral works to newly invented hybrid instruments, they explore through music the traces we leave on the planet and how we communicate in an ever changing present.
New named added to roster: Therese Birkelund Ulvo, Marius Neset, Ellen Ugelvik, Andreas Ulvo, Edward Gardner, Stein Urheim, Bergen Filharmoniske Orkester, Jørgen Træen, Knut Vaage, John Ehde, Trond Madsen & BIT20 Ensemble.
For our first programme release we present a new commission in collaboration with The Norwegian National Company of Contemporary Dance – Carte Blanche. We’ve brought together some of the most dynamic and visionary artists in Norway to merge experimental pop and contemporary dance, for Borealis 2020. The duo Smerz – Henriette Motzfeldt and Catharina Stoltenberg – have recieved high acclaim for their two albums Okey (2017) and Have Fun (2018), making addictive and experimental pop music that imagines the sound of the future. For the commission Øythey will be working together with Carte Blanche dancer Ole Martin Meland as choreographer. Together they find inspiration in horror, Russian hooligans, chamber music and muscles. Written for seven Carte Blanche dancers the music will be performed live by Smerz.
We’re kicking off a new season with our Borealis Listening Club on the 27th of August! We’ve got two new twists to this season’s club gatherings: Musician Vilde Tuv will be joining Borealis’ Artistic Director, Peter Meanwell, as our new listening host this season and we’re introducing themes for each gathering to give each one a different focus, and to make it easier for you to suggest music that we can listen to togheter. Have suggestions? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org!
The first guest this season joining Vilde and Peter on our very comfortable sofa is Borealis Ung Komponist participant, composer and producer for the concert series Avgarde; Aslak Bjørge Hermstad! The theme this time is “Music for Voice”. Join us!
*About Borealis Listening Club Borealis Listening Club (BLC) is Borealis – en festival for eksperimentell musikk’s monthly get-together where we eat popcorn and listen to and talk about music. BLC is open for everyone, from the first time listener to the seasoned musiciologist, and it’s all about sharing time as adventurous listeners – to make space for listening and talking about music. The club takes place every last Tuesday of the month in the beautiful Hordaland Kunstsenter, Klosteret 17 – which also happens to be where our office is. The events are free. Welcome!
Sunday the 18th of August Borealis – a festival for experimental music brings Mexican vocalist Carmina Escobar up to Bergen’s main attraction, Fløyen, to add a little something extra to the traditional Norwegian Sunday hike. Carmina is an internationally renowned composer, performance artist and singer and visited Bergen earlier this year for Borealis 2019. She made a deep impression on the Borealis audience with her intimate and beautiful performance at that other iconic Bergen spot; Nordnes Sjøbad. This Sunday you’ll find her on Fløyen from 12pm onwards. This is not a traditional concert, but a series of sonic interventions that will take place in the area around the Fløibane Station and playground.
This coming Saturday Bergen Kunsthall starts their season with the yearly one-night-festival: Poekhali! Several of the city’s music organisations, including Borealis, are pitching in with programmes that will wake up any lazy summer body. We grabbed the opportunity to bring Mexican vocalist Carmina Escobar backto Bergen, and can’t wait to see her embody the Aztec goddess Coatlicue in her performance installation, Insatiable Monster on Saturday night! Free for all Borealis Listening Club members – names on list in the door.
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
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 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
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 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
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 music, different ways of being, and collective listening. 5 days of sold out events and an audience who moved through a sea of ideas, emotions 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!
READ AND HEAR ABOUT BOREALIS 2019:
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
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.
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!
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
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.
Friday at Borealis 2019 continues with an exploration of the embodiment of ideas through radical performance – Sounding Bodieswill bea 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.
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!
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.
Do you know someone who would like to do volunteer work? Or maybe you know somebody who knows someone? We need you all! Get up close and get firsthand experience with making a festival. The tasks are everything from ticketing, stage managing and audience liaising to being an artist contact, driver or hanging posters. We don’t stand a chance without you! Sign up today here!
This years participants in our mentor programme Borealis Ung Komponist survived the first intense workshop this fall and are ready for the second round this month. This time with mentor Juliana Hodkinson. We had a chat we each of them to get to know them a bit better, and to talk about the expectations and challenges of being part of a mentor programme.
Borealis: How are you and what are you up to these days?
Alexander Fiske Fosse: I’m great! I’m in a good place these days. Lately I’ve been trying to finish a piece for string quartet, el guitar duo, recorder, different feedback instruments and lots of other fun things that I don’t want to reveal quite yet. The piece will be re-composed by a friend and fellow student at the Grieg Academy. I don1t know what he’ll end up doing with it, so that’s kind of exciting. I guess you could ask, but what about BUK? Well, the two pieces, since they’re both written by me, closely interlinked. Working on the one piece is to advantage for the other piece. I’m also doing a lot of singing in my choir these days.
Stephan Meidell: Can’t complain. Just went through a very inspiring period with a commission we wrote with Erlend Apneseth trio + Frode Haltli. We performed it at Bergen Kjøtt in Bergen and Ultima Festival in Oslo and I got to use a new rig with a mechanically controlled zither. We also performed some new music with Tanzmacher for kids last weekend with machines playing drums. There’s a lot of electricity these days.
Rakel Nystabakk: Really good, thanks! I was just in Gothenburg playing a concert, so my focus has been on that lately. I’m back home now at the farm, so at the moment life is very much about gathering sheep and harvesting potatoes in addition to working on the pieces I’m writing.
Haral Jordal Johannessen: Hello, I’m good! I’m wearing lot’s of hats these days, running back and forth between projects, I’m working on the piece for Saxifraga Quartet, being a student and tinkering with with electronic objects at home, like for example a home made midi controller built from wood.
Borealis: You’re Young Composer’s now – how does it feel?
Alexander: It’s so great! Everyone I meet through the mentor programme are great people. It’s actually GREAT FUN! I recently managed to loose my self-confidence, but the fact that Borealis chose me to be in this project helped a lot. It’s really nice to have found it again, so thanks a lot for that!
Stephan: It’s very exciting and I can’t wait to do more workshops with the amazing composers! The last workshop with Maja S. K. Ratkje was great.
Rakel: It feels really good. It’s such an honor to be working with such great mentors and musicians and composers.
Harald: It feels like a privileged and it really happened at the right time for me. I’m done with my studies next summer and this is a great opportunity to expand my network in Norway outside of Oslo.
“Composing for others only is a big leap for me. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time…”
Borealis: Alexander, you study composition at the Grieg Academy at the University of Bergen, so why did you want to be part of this mentor programme? Isn’t that a bit like buttering your bacon?
Alexander: Mainly there’re two reasons why I wanted to take part. The first being that it gives me new impulses both through the mentors and the other BUK composers, and the other reason is that I get to present a piece to the Borealis audience. As a Vestlending, and a new music lover, Borealis means a lot to me. And the audience at the festival is of the more open and listening kind. I can’t wait!
So, I guess it’s more like butter in the clam soup: the perfect combination.
Borealis: Stephan, at this year’s Borealis you presented your “Metrics” project live, with musicians placed in different rooms with the audience floating around. A lot of people have mentioned this as one of the highlights of Borealis 2018. Why did you as an established musician apply to this mentor programme?
Stephan Meidell: Wow, yeah, it was incredible and I’m very grateful to both the musicians and Borealis for making it happen. I guess that’s exactly it: I’m an established musician. So even though I make most of the music myself, or with others, I always perform it too. So composing for others only is a big leap for me. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time and getting feedback and new points of view from the lovely people in the mentor programme, and four mentors that I respect a lot, is really an ideal way of stepping into the world of composition.
Borealis: Rakel, you just finished your studies in Music Performance at the University of Agder with the somewhat unusual main instrument; laptop – why did you apply for a mentor programme in composition in Bergen?
Rakel: I developed an interest in writing music really early and have written music parallel to all the other things I’ve been doing. The last couple of years I’ve been focusing mostly on performing but I have an urge to write more now. The mentor programme feels like the perfect frame for me right now. Also, I’ve never worked in Bergen before which I find both exciting and inspiring.
“The BUK meetings demand a lot of concentration, with lots of opinions and impressions to process and it’s actually really nice to leave Oslo to be able to concentrate properly about this job.”
Borealis: Harald, you study composition at the Norwegian Academy of Music (NMH) – do you have time to be part of a mentor programme in Bergen in addition to your studies?
Harald: A lot of our time as students at NMH is spent writing music, and the piece I’m doing for Borealis 2019 takes – like all pieces – time to write. I actually chose not to do a similar project arranged by the school so I could to this. The Borealis Ung Komponist meetings demand a lot of concentration, with lots of opinions and impressions to process and it’s actually really nice to leave Oslo to be able to concentrate properly about this job.
Borealis: What is most challenging about being part of Borealis Ung Komponist?
Alexander: So far it’s been waking up, so I can be at the mentor gatherings and participate… That’s been a bit of a challenge so far. I’ve managed so far though. What challenge lies a head, only time can tell.
Stephan: As I mentioned the role of being a composer it totally new to me – it’s a different process than what I’m used to. I can’t shape things in the course of the concert based on situations in the moment. Even though I open up for a bit of improvisation in the piece, I have to make a more set structure – at least if I want it to sound the way I want it to. It’s a challenge to be clear about my ideas, which I have to be since I’m writing music for musicians with completely different references than me and I have to dig deep to find which fundamental elements are important to me and my expression, which are things that I normally take for granted when I play myself. This can be things like timing, sound textures, dynamics and phrasing.
Rakel: Well, I guess it’s the typical things, like dealing with expectations and ambitions, and keeping calm so I can develop ideas without constantly thinking about the end result.
“The most challenging but also rewarding
is the way we work. We’re all sat around
the same table and all challenges and
break-throughs are out in the open”
Harald: The most challenging but also rewarding is the way we work. We’re all sat around the same table and all challenges and break-throughs are out in the open. You get to show who you are as a human being and a composer. For me it is a new and exciting thing to open up the creative and critical process to colleagues but it ‘s also obvious to me that together we are better versions of ourselves.
Borealis: What’s coming out of your speakers these days?
Alexander: I’m listening a lot to Jean Sibelius, Salvatore Sciarrino, Sergei Prokoviev… I really want to listen more to Catherine Lamb, but haven’t gotten to it. She has one of her pieces performed at Borealis 2018. I miss that piece, and think a lot about it actually. Recently I went to a gig at Bergen Kjøtt i Bergen where I heard Erlend Apneseth trio + Frode Haltli. That was really good. I’ve listening to the both of them quite a lot. Other than that I’ve also been listening to Maja S. K. Ratkje’s music lately. Really, really great what she does. And then there’s Johannes Ockeghem and then Sean Shibe’s album SoftLOUD.
Stephan: I’ve been listening quite a lot to Kraftwerk lately and Hans Abrahamsen’s Schnee – recommended to me by composer Ørjan Matre. John Maus’ Screen Memories is fun. And then I always come back to Fever Ray – either the solo album or the one with Knife or Røyksopp.
Other than that there’re a lot of Norwegian and German children songs on repeat on our worn out cassette player. This makes for quite a cool and sea sick flanger effect so our 2-year-old is exposed to a slightly experimental version of Postman Pat.
Rakel: Lately I’ve been listening a lot to Bartók. Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta is a favorite.
Harald: Lately I’ve been putting on MGMT’s latest release. They’ve been making ruthlessly good psychedelic pop for ten years and have really found their core now.
Borealis Listening Club (BLC) is our monthly get-together where we eat popcorn, drink beer and listen to and discuss new music.
With us in the sofa this time was the new appointed Associate Professor in composition at the Grieg Academy Dániel Péter Biró and artist Freja Bäckman – in Bergen to exhibit “I was told I chop wood like a ballet dancer” at HKS 21–30 September.
The Borealis team is a flexible unit that grows bigger as we get closer to March, and shrinks considerably after the festival. Parts of the team though is here all year round and are the inner core of Borealis: Managing Director Tine Rude, Artistic Director Peter Meanwell, Head of Production Mia Julie Wiland, Festival Assistant Gabriela Passos and Head of Communication Irem Müftüoglu.
Don’t hesitate to get in touch, or pop by for a coffee and a chat at our office in Hordaland Kunstsenter.
We can’t wait to talk about important issues at Vill Vill Vest but a good conversation can easily be combined with a great night on the dance floor.
Borealis recommends anyone in Bergen to stop by Victoria Café and Pub when Bergen based feminist DJ collective Konsept X takes over the turntables, Friday the 14th of September.
It’s also time for Ultima in Oslo where we recommend Ensemble Ernst‘s concert, Monday the 17th of September. The concert will feature the world premiere of Bente Leiknes Thorsen‘s piece A Feminist Guide to the Sinfonietta.
We are pleased to present four new composers who will work on creating new pieces for Saxifraga Quartet, to be performed at Borealis 2019.
Many young composers applied for Round Two of our mentor programme, and we are thrilled to announce that we will be working with Rakel Karoline Sætrevik Nystabakk, Alexander Fiske Fosse, Stephan Meidell and Harald Jordal Johannessen for the next year. These four composers are all in the early stages of their career with lots they want to explore and Borealis believes these are composers we’ll be seeing much more of in the future. We have put together a group we think will challenge each other and the musicians in Saxifraga Quartet, and with the guidance and inspiration of the mentors will make a great concert experience at Borealis 2019!
The mentors in this round of Borealis Ung Komponist are known to challenge the traditional concert format and the musicians they work with, and are all composers the festival appreciates a lot. Juliana Hodkinson (GB), Jessie Marino (US), Maja S.K. Ratkje (NO) and Øyvind Torvund (NO) have all been, or will be presented at Borealis.
For this round the young composers will be working with the newly established saxophone ensemble Saxifraga Quartet, consisting of four ambitious musicians who are actively pushing boundaries for new music.
Borealis Ung Komponist 2018/2019 is supported by Morten Eide Pedersens Minnefond, Arts Council Norway, City of Bergen and Hordaland County Council
Meet our new Head of Production! Mia Julie will soon join the Borealis team to make another great festival – and to make dreams come true! She’s been working as a producer for our long-term collaborator BIT20 Ensemble and we’re glad to have found an experienced and smiling new colleague, and we look forward to having her in the office from the 1st September.
Borealis is a festival for experimental music that lasts for 5 days each March in Bergen, Norway. We are a small team that grows bigger as the festival approaches and we are now looking for interns who want to gain experience in all aspects of putting on a festival. We’re looking for interns to work closely with the persons in charge of communication, production and organising volunteers.
We are seeking people who are interested in new and experimental music in all its forms, and have a passion for communicating this music to a wider audience. We want people who will take good care of both our artists and our audience. There´s always lots to do at a festival, and you´ll get experience working on things like: press, communications and social media; working on a production from the first idea, through its development to its performance (and the de-rig!); and you will meet artists, volunteers, musicians and composers, and work with logistics and planning. The most important thing is that you want to be part of a team that shapes a fantastic festival in March 2019. Planned startup October/November.
We are looking for an intern that can assist our head of communication in the making of the program book and how we present the festival to press and audiences. You must be organised and able to work in both Norwegian and English. Picture editing and simple design skills is appreciated.
We are looking for an intern who will get a deep insight in the technical and practical part of festival production. You will work closely with our producer and also on smaller projects on your own. Good technical understanding, data skills and practical common sense is required, and you need to be organised and like a challenge.
We are looking for a positive, engaged, organised person to work closely with our volunteer coordinator. Borealis needs 80 volunteers, and you will help with recruiting, logistics and the planning of parties and fun group activities.
As an intern you commit to 15 hours a week. You will be working alongside our core team, but you will also be asked to run and develop projects on your own, and you’ll gain valuable experience in all aspects of making a festival and cultural work in general. We offer a small stipend to each intern, but can’t contribute to accommodation or travel costs.
For questions contact Managing Director Tine Rude, email@example.com
To apply send an application outlining your skills & CV, which internship you apply for, and also comment on your musical interests and why you want to be part of the Borealis team.
Borealis is looking for a new producer who can plan and realise our fantastic festival in March each year. We’re looking for a person who is efficient, creative, can take responsibility and is eager to be part of an energetic festival team.
The brief is a varied one, so we’ll need someone who is independent, has an eye for detail, works well with others and takes initiative to realise a huge variety of creative projects. The right person will have an interest in and understanding of the music and the art we present and have experience with production, preferably in alternative arenas or art forms. Technical knowledge and experience in the areas of sound and light is an advantage. You must have good written and oral presentation skills in Norwegian and English.
For a full job description see the Norwegian page here
Application deadline: Friday 22nd June, 12pm
Send you application letter with CV to firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information, contact Managing Director Tine Rude on the email above, or phone +47 95 90 53 76
New privacy rules are being introduced by the EU this month to keep your personal information secure. Borealis would like to stay in touch with you in the future and to keep you updated with news, and so we need to ask you to reconfirm your interest in receiving our newsletter! (it’s an easy click on the button below)
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Please note that you’ll need to confirm your interest in news from Borealis below. If you don’t do that before the end of May, we will have to remove you from our list and we will not be able to keep you up to date with our activities.
Also the enigmatic cellist Okkyung Lee (who played Borealis 2017) has a crop of new records coming out this year, the first was recorded in the morbidly erotic Vigeland Mausoleum in Oslo – listen here!
We think that the audiences are as important as the people performing, and so we’d like to know a little more about the kind of people who come to the festival, and the experience they have.
Please be honest with your feedback!
We want to make the festival a place where the art is as exciting as possible, and the audience feels welcome and part of a shared community of adventurous listeners. Your feedback will help us with this.
“The piece is a story of rebirth. There’s an element where the cranes are discovering their own naked beauty.”
Watch more of what Natacha Diels has to say about her piece “Papillon and the Dancing Cranes” premiering at March 11th, 7PM under #Borealis2018
Volunteers are an important part of the festival. It’s hard work, but mostly lots of fun! We turned the spotlight on them and asked some of our past volunteers about their experience working for Borealis. Here’s what they said. Watch here!
What better way to celebrate the arrival of our programme books, than by getting our first taste of the Borealis beer amongst our friends, collaborators and awesome volunteers? We had an amazing time during our Programme Launch party at Landmark Bergen! Do you want to re-live the evening, or did you miss out? Fear not, our photographers captured it all:
In less than three weeks Borealis will take over all of Bergen and fill the city with experimental sounds, talks, films, fun and great people!
Experimental artists from across the world will be bringing their work to Borealis very soon! Artists start coming to Bergen already next week, preparing dancing cranes, live meditation, opera with a twist, late night listening sessions, enchanting electronic dance music, delicious ice cream, rowanberry beer, and talks on film, radio, equality and radical hospitality. All set in the wonderful, and windy Bergen! We bring you artists that break boundaries, try new things, artists that aren’t afraid of failing, and that allow us as an audience to see the world in a different way.
Read more in this year’s programme book – and see you all very soon!
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.
OUTSIDE THE CONCERT HALL
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.
THE NEXT GENERATION
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.
If you’re an aspiring composer in the Bergen region, you’re female, and over 16 years old, then get in touch with Rebecka Sofia Ahvenniemi who is starting a new mentoring scheme! Elsewhere, we recommend this interesting read from Borealis 2017 artist Yan Jun about the connections between the Japanese and Chinese music scenes and the latest edition of the online journal Reflections on Process in Sound, which includes Cathy Lane’s Manifesto For New Listening.
It’s always good when people meet and come up with new ideas during the festival, and John Chantler and Johannes Lunds did just that at Borealis 2016 when they both composed new works for BAS. Endless sky is their new cassette release for saxophone and electronics (also on digital for those who threw their walkman away!)
Borealis is very proud to have an equal gender balance in its programme and we’re really happy to see this great interview with anthropologist Georgina Born about how the conversation is developing around a more diverse and interesting new music community.
As it gets colder we’ll be warming our ears with the new vinyl release from Yeah You, who played the festival in 2016, and recorded this new record in the back of the car whilst driving across Holland.
Borealis is a festival for experimental music that lasts for 5 days each March in Bergen, Norway. We are a small team that grows bigger as the festival approaches and we are now looking for interns who want to gain experience in all aspects of organising and putting on a festival. We’re looking for 3 interns to work closely with the person in charge of communication, production and organising volunteers.
We are seeking people who are interested in new and experimental music in all its forms, and have a passion for communicating this music to a wider audience. We want people who will take good care of both our artists and our audience. There´s always lots to do at a festival, and you´ll get experience working on things like: press, communications and social media; working on a production from the first idea, through its development to its performance (and the derig!); and you will meet artists, volunteers, musicians and composers, and work with logistics and planning. The most important thing is that you want to be part of a team that shapes a fantastic festival in March 2018.
We are looking for an intern that can assist our head of communication in the making of the program book and how we present the festival to press and audience. You must be organised and able to work in both Norwegian and English. Picture editing and simple design skills is appreciated. Planned start-up October
We are looking for an intern who will get a deep insight in the technical and practical part of festival production. You will work closely with our producer and do smaller projects on your own. Good technical understanding, computer skills and practical sense is required, and you need to be structured and like a challenge. Planned start-up November/December
We are looking for a positive, engaged, organized person to work closely together with our volunteer coordinator. Borealis need 80 volunteers, and you will help put in recruiting, logistics and the planning of parties and fun activities. Planned start-up November/December
As an intern, you commit to 15 hours a week, although we can be flexible for the right people. You will be working alongside our core team, but you will also be asked to run and develop projects on your own, and you’ll gain valuable experience in all aspects of making a festival and cultural work in general. We offer a small stipend to each intern, but can’t contribute to accommodation or travel costs.
For questions contact Managing Director Tine Rude.
To apply send an application outlining your skills & CV, which internship you apply for, and also comment on your musical interests and why you want to be part of the Borealis team.
Send the application to email@example.com // 95 90 53 76.
Application deadline 15th September
It’s very exciting for us at the festival when projects that start out here in Bergen go on to exciting new things. It’s All True, an opera in suspension from Object Collection, which premiered at Borealis 2016 will soon be performed in London at Cafe Oto, and is also being released by the excellent SLIP discs. Relive the noisy, chaotic premiere, or hear it for the first time here.
If you want to get a head start on your listening for the 2018 festival, try this recent release of Augmented Study, by Peter Ablinger. He’s a composer that uses noise in his work but devoid of meaning, and questions space, time and place.
And if you ate too much souvlaki over the summer, and are still avoiding the gym, why not read this article from novelist Daniel Ross, about training our ears as well as our bodies, “You have to warm your ears so your brain can decide how best to weather the endurance” he says in his essay for TheQuietus.com
You’re packing for the beach – speedos, flip-flops, sun cream – but what are you going to listen to and read? Never fear. Borealis has some suggestions to elevate your ears whilst sipping that piña colada…
Håkon Stene & Kristine Tjøgersen‘s new album on Norwegian superlabel Hubro asleep, street, pipes, tones is the perfect way to lose yourself in listening, as they explore the works of American composer Michael Pisaro. Think stillness, depth and frozen sound worlds! Perfect for the cabin we think
If your beach time is troubled by thoughts of what the future of music might contain, then we recommend you quell your fears with Robert Barry‘s excellent new book The Music of the Future. It’s not a set of predictions, but rejoices in musical experiments and is a call to arms for everyone engaged in music: “to fail again, fail better.” Borealis even gets a mention!
Meet the composers taking part in Borealis Ung Komponist
After an application process Borealis has the pleasure to announce that we’ve invited Alan Ó Raghallaigh, Kristin Bolstad, Tine Grieg Viig and Øyvind Skarbø to take part in Borealis Ung Komponist – a mentor programme for composers in the early stage of their career and which we believe can shape future music experiences. The program will encourage broader discussion and dissemination of young composers’ work in Western Norway.
Towards Borealis in March 2018, composers Alan Ó Raghallaigh, Kristin Bolstad, Tine Grieg Viig and Øyvind Skarbø will work closely with four internationally renowned mentors and the string quartet Rosella about developing four new works. Norwegian Christian Wallumrød and Øyvind Torvund, American Natacha Diels and English Joanna Bailie are invited as mentors for these young composers to challenge them to think beyond the established musical norms. The mentor program consists of workshops, mentor meetings and discussions for staging of the concert.
When Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho’s opera L’Amour de Loin was staged at the Metropolitan Opera in New York last year, it was only the second opera by a woman to be presented in the company’s history. The first was in 1903. For the Bergen International Festival Peter Meanwell talks with one of Europe’s most prominent composers about a life in music, the role that gender has played in her career, and about the continuing imbalance between male and female composers on the concert stage. The talk will take place on May 29, 19.00-20.00 at Litteraturhuset – you can read more about the event here.
As well as Peter’s talk with composer Kaija Saariaho make sure you don’t miss the performance of her new commission for cello, alongside works by Per Nørgård, Benjamin Britten and J.S. Bach. Stalwarts of the London new music scene, the London Sinfonietta are in town as well, performing as part of the Norsk Komponist Forening’s 100th Anniversary, with works by Eivind Buene and Rolf Wallin, alongside Louis Andriessena and more Kaija Saariaho.
Phonophani – Animal Imagination
Jlin – Landmark – photo by Henrik Beck
In the office this month, we’re getting excited about the forthcoming albums by Bergen local Phonophani and Borealis favourite (and 2015 artist) Jlin.
As part of our annual collaboration with the Utmark concert series at the Bergen Kunsthall, Borealis is excited to add a night of new musical experiments to the festival line-up. Hitting the dancefloor hard, from Philadelphia, Baltimore and Lisbon – Moor Mother, Abdu Ali and DJ Marfox – are artists pushing at the edges of their scenes, receiving growing international acclaim for their often uncompromising art. Always trying to find the sounds that don’t fit easily into one genre or another, this night at Borealis will feature words and music that are as confrontational as they are danceable.
From Philadelphia, USA, interdisciplinary artist Camae Ayewa’s Moor Mother project blends protest and Afro-futurist time-travel in a whirlwind of experimental noise and poetry. Projecting both the cathartic anger of punk and the expansive improvisatory spirit of Sun Ra she uses a variety of machines, field recordings, and analog noisemakers to construct fractured, cacophonous waves for her punishing words to ride. Her latest album, Fetish Bones, released in September 2016, was No.3 in the The Wire magazine’s albums of the year.
Abdu Ali er rå, kompleks og visker ut alle tenkelige forskjeller. Han er en homofil rapper fra den amerikanske byen Baltimore, som legger kraftfulle tekster om rasisme og homofobi på den råeste dansemusikken og på mer eksperimentelle prouksjoner. Han har blitt sammenlignet med Death Grips og andre støyrap-grupper på grunn av sin utrolige energi på scenen, og har skapt sin helt egne sound med grobunn i egne erfaringer og historier, påvirket av punk, støymusikk, afrofuturisme og BMore klubbmusikk. I 2016 slapp han MONGO, som Fader magazine kalte “a pitch-perfect ‘black self-care mixtape’ from Baltimore’s most exciting rapper.”
In DJ Marfox aka Marlon Silva´s hands, Angolan roots meets Portugal today, and kuduro – the electronic music of Luanda – undergoes a twisted transformation as it lands and is reborn in Lisbon’s urban Afro-Portuguese dance scene. As a DJ, producer and now boss of record label Príncipe Discos, he believes claiming ones roots is a crucial impetus for creative, technological, and collective social evolution. His music has acquired iconic status in urban Portugal and diasporic African communities throughout Europe, and helped to create a grassroots network of young, creatives seeking to breach new territory in sound and culture.
Experience Borealis from the inside as a volunteer!
Do you want to volunteer at Borealis 2017? We are looking for people to work with tickets, technical, office, information, transport, catering and other fun tasks. Read more about the tasks here.
By volunteering at the festival you will get the chance to find out how a festival works from the inside, meet a lot of new interesting people and of course plenty of valuable experience. Fill out the form with all the information needed, and we will get back to you shortly. If you have any questions about being a volunteer at Borealis don’t hesitate to contact firstname.lastname@example.org
We’re really excited about our new design and soon you’ll see it plastered across the walls of Bergen. We’ve been working closely with our designer Thomas Bush, and so we asked him to say a few words about it: “The identity for 2017 is stimulated by the multiplicity of spaces, performers, movements, and atmospheres which compose Borealis, and the connections which exist between these things. It is possible that the route it offers is not the most linear or straightforward, but hopefully this gives us the opportunity to make discoveries beyond our expectations. Expression of this comes through what I can only describe as an harmonious cacophany of typeface, colour and line.”
This month we’re also announcing a major new partnership with NEXT, the leading festival of exploratory music in Slovakia – and we’ll be heading to Bratislava at the end of the month to start the development of three projects that will be coming to Borealis in March.
Radical melodies, spontaneous improvisation – the NEXT festival in Bratislava has long been an exciting showcase for the kinds of music that Borealis celebrates, so we’re thrilled to be part of the Fresh Air project, bringing together Norwegian and Slovakian audiences and artists for performances that will feature at both festivals: Drums – a new commissioned piece that explores the limits of the drum kit, bringing together 4 diverse voices in international drumming, and four drum kits; Threnoscope – a spatialised microtonal drone instrument, developed by composer and live-coder Thor Magnusson, which he uses in improvised performance; and Slovakian field recordist and sound enthusiast Jonáš Gruska will be bringing his inventive instruments to Bergen for a special site-specific installation and workshop. Click on the link to learn more about each event.
Borealis is a festival for experimental music that lasts for 5 days each March in Bergen, Norway. We are a small team that grows bigger as the festival approaches and we are now looking for interns who want to gain experience in all aspects of putting on a festival!
We are looking for an intern that can assist our head of communication in the making of the program book and how we present the festival to press and audiences. You must be organized and able to work in both Norwegian and English. We’re looking for someone that can start as soon as possible.
We are also looking for an intern to assist our producer and who will get a deep insight in festival production. Here we’re looking for someone that can start in December or early January.
As an intern you commit to 15 hours a week, although we can be flexible for the right people. You will be working alongside our core team, but you will also be asked to run and develop projects on your own, and you’ll gain valuable experience in all aspects of making a festival and cultural work in general. We offer a small stipend to each intern, but can’t contribute to accommodation or travel costs.
We are seeking people who are interested in new and experimental music in all its forms, and have a passion for communicating this music to a wider audience. We want people who will take good care of both our artists and our audience. There’s always lots to do at a festival, and you´ll get experience working on things like: press, communications and social media; working on a production from the first idea, through its development to its performance (and the de-rig!); and you will meet artists, musicians and composers, and work with logistics and planning. The most important thing is that you want to be part of a team that shapes a fantastic festival in March 2017.
For questions contact Managing Director Tine Rude, and to apply send a short email outlining your skills, musical interests and why you want to be part of the Borealis team to email@example.com // 95 90 53 76.
In August Borealis once again took part in the one-night festival “Poekhali!
Landmark takes off!” at Bergen Kunsthall, bringing composer, cellist and electronic artist Oliver Coates from the UK to play.
Pauline Oliveros is our first guest in this seasons Borealis Listening Club, returning Tuesday 30. August. For a special collaboration with Bergen Assembly and the project WITHIN, we’re heading back to our old haunt of Sentralbadet.
Artistic Director for Bergen Assembly, Tarek Atoui is inviting the Borealis Listening Club in to the unique listening space he has created in the old swimming pool, and together we will be hosting a very special Borealis Listening Club with the electronic music pioneer and pioneer of Deep Listening Pauline Oliveros.
Join us from 8pm, we’ll have the usual popcorn ready, and the bar will be open. Don’t miss the opportunity to hear a living musical legend discuss how we can listen in whole new ways. And entrance is free!
The following last Tuesday in each months Borealis Listening Club returns to our usual residence at Hordaland Kunstsenter. We’ll use these events to look forward to the festival and reveal some of the highlights. And remember – there’s always some good offers for concerts and other events for BLC members.
Peter and Tine both joined Borealis in 2014, and have completed two very successful festivals. Peter Meanwell has accepted a new term as artistic director until 2020. And Managing Director Tine Rude has also accepted a new contract, now as a permanent position.
– “The festival has developed strong artistic projects and international cooperation, and they have had a steady hand on the operation of the organisation. The Board is satisfied with the work and is delighted that both Peter and Tine have agreed to continue in their efforts.” says chairman of the board Tone Tjemsland.
– ”I’m delighted to have another three years to continue to develop exciting, genre-crossing projects, and to work with the expanding audience of adventurous listeners in Bergen, and beyond. Borealis has a growing international reputation as a place to hear forward-thinking new work from Norway and to meet ground-breaking artists from around the world. I’m very proud of what Tine and I, alongside the festival team, have achieved so far, and excited about what we can do together in the next three years”, says British born director Peter Meanwell.
Borealis continues to gain international recognition and has over the past two years initiated several major collaborative projects and acquired financial support from international partners. The festival’s focus on experimental music and related art forms has found an interested and curious audience. The festival’s presence in Bergen is stronger, among others through the new monthly concept Borealis Listening Club.
– “Activity and visibility throughout the year has been positive. We are a small organisation, meaning we can turn around very quickly and test new ideas when they occur. I look forward to continue to surprise and at the same time create good conditions for the festival to grow” says Tine Rude.
Borealis is looking for the right producer who can help us plan a fantastic festival in March.
Duties will be varied and challenging, and requires a high degree of independence, accuracy, initiative and ability to cooperate. You must have interest and appreciation for the music and art we present and have experience in production, often at alternative venues or art forms. You must have good written and oral communication skills in English and Norwegian.
The tasks will go from dialogue with artists, performers, partners and suppliers of technology and equipment, setup of test and schedules, logistics and supervision of projects, working closely with festival teams and venues, and organizing events.
The producer is working directly under the Managing Director, working languages are English and Norwegian.
Irregular working hours may be expected. The work will initiate with training and introduction to projects during September, with the escalation of commitment towards December and the festival in March. Wages, working hours and job percentage agreed with the right person.
Deadline Friday 15 July at. 12:00. Applications with CV to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, contact Managing Director Tine Rude on the above e-mail or phone 95 90 53 76.
Borealis is a festival for experimental music that takes place in Bergen 5 days in March each year. Introducing new musical experiments from Bergen, Norway and the rest of the world on many of its small and large concert halls, art galleries, cultural venues and other weird places you might not have been before. Borealis includes concerts, installations, performances, lectures and films. We are a small team throughout the year, but grow into a festival staff of about 15 people and 80 volunteers up to march. Borealis has offices at Hordaland Kunstsenter.
As part of our 2016 programme, artists such as Object Collection, Natacha Diels and Jessie Marino are presenting works that involve a new use of the body in contemporary composition. We asked Irish composer and artist Jennifer Walshe, whose own works embrace this composed physicality, to write a text reflecting on this way of writing music for our programme book, and what she came back with is a manifesto for a new school of composition, that she calls The New Discipline.
In her text she situates these disparate works as the product of a post-MTV, post-internet generation of composition, but also as one that isn’t entirely dismissive of its deeper roots,
“The New Discipline thrives on the inheritance of Dada, Fluxus, Situationism etc but doesn’t allow itself to be written off merely as Dada, Fluxus, Situationism etc. It’s a music being written when Dada, Fluxus, Situationism etc have aged well and are universally respected. It takes these styles for granted, both lovingly and cheekily, in the same way it takes harmony and the electric guitar for granted. As starting points. As places to begin working.”
This is not a purely theoretical manifesto, but one borne from composers getting their hands dirty, as this new music doesn´t come with the same kind of resources as the dance, theatre, film worlds it draws on. At Borealis this year there will be lots of composers who are also performing their own work,
“And always, always, working against the clock, because the disciplines which are drawn from have the luxury of development and rehearsal periods far longer than those commonly found in new music. Then again, the New Discipline relishes the absence of that luxury, of the opportunity to move fast and break things. In this way, it is a practice more than anything else. And the concomitant: the New Discipline is located in the fact of composers being interested and willing to perform, to get their hands dirty, to do it themselves, do it immediately.”
Taking over the city of Bergen in Norway for 5 days, we´ll be presenting 35 events across 12 venues – a diverse celebration of adventurous music and those who make it, with everything from quiet listening to wild dancing.
The Borealis Listening Club was born yesterday evening! The club meet was a huge success with so many people actively participating. We ate popcorn whilst listening to experimental sound worlds, shared some music and ideas, and so many were unafraid of voicing opinions about the music we experienced.
Club members were also able to get free tickets for upcoming new music concerts in Bergen. This will be the first of many special offers for our club members!
So, if you want to join the club watch for updates on our mailing list and facebook group where we will post some of the music we experienced last night as well as details about our next listening club on the 8th of December! If you have any questions/ suggestions for music we can listen to, you can contact the club directly email@example.com
We would like to invite you to our new and exciting Borealis Listening Club! Together we´ll explore experimental sound-worlds new and old, through listening together, watching short films and performing experimental pieces. Every month at Hordaland Kunstsenter there´ll be our trademark Borealis popcorn, and listening club is open for everybody from the first time listener to the seasoned musicologist from the smallest to the oldest and wisest.
Every second Tuesday of the month, from November to February 2016, we’ll be here at the Hordaland Kunstsenter cafe, to share thoughts and experience in making, working and listening to music.
Borealis is a festival for experimental music that lasts for 5 days each March in Bergen, Norway. We are a small team that grows bigger as the festival approaches and we are now looking for interns who want to gain experience in all aspects of putting on a festival!
We are looking for people to start before Christmas and be able to commit to around 15 hours a week, although we can be flexible for the right people. You will be working alongside the Artistic Director and Managing Director of the festival, but you will also be asked to run and develop projects on your own, and you’ll gain valuable experience in all aspects of making a festival and cultural work in general. We offer a small stipend to each intern, but can’t contribute to accommodation or travel costs.
We are seeking people who are interested in new and experimental music in all its forms, and have a passion for communicating this music to a wider audience. We want people who will take good care of both our artists and our audience. There´s always lots to do at a festival, and you´ll get experience working on things like: press, communications and social media; working on a production from the first idea, through its development to its performance (and the de-rig!); and you will meet artists, musicians and composers, and work with logistics and planning. The most important thing is that you want to be part of a team that shapes a fantastic festival in March 2016.
For questions contact Managing Director Tine Rude, and to apply send a short email outlining your skills, musical interests and why you want to be part of the Borealis team to firstname.lastname@example.org // 95 90 53 76.