March 22, 2011

Andrew Litton and the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra renew their commitment until 2015

American conductor to lead Bergen Philharmonic to its 250th anniversary celebrations.

One of the most successful creative partnerships in the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra’s long history is set to grow with the extension of Andrew Litton's term as Chief Conductor and Music Director until October 2015. The conductor, the first American to hold the position once occupied by Edvard Grieg, has agreed to lead the Norwegian orchestra for an additional four-year term and oversee its 250th anniversary celebrations in 2015. Litton became Music Director in 2003 and has since enhanced the Bergen Philharmonic's worldwide reputation through their international touring schedule and acclaimed work in the recording studio. His commitment to the orchestra’s long-term development and artistic vision will continue in coming seasons, propelled by appearances in Spain and at Amsterdam's Concertgebouw in 2012 and a tour of England the following year.

The announcement of Andrew Litton's new contract comes within days of his 11-concert, two-week tour with the Bergen Philharmonic to prestigious venues in Sweden, Germany and Austria, including the orchestra's debut at the Berlin Philharmonie and the Alte Oper in Frankfurt and return visits to the Vienna Konzerthaus and Munich Philharmonie (March 26 to April 7, 2011).

Before he came to Bergen, Litton served as Music Director of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and Principal Conductor of Britain's Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. He is now in his ninth season as Artistic Director of the Minnesota Orchestra Sommerfest and remains Conductor Laureate of the Bournemouth Symphony. Litton's discography, which contains a Grammy Award-winning account of Walton's Belshazzar's Feast with the Bournemouth Symphony, will soon exceed 100 recordings. In addition to his work in Bergen, Litton maintains an active guest conducting schedule around the world. Important appearances this season include his engagements with London's Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Australia's Sydney Opera in Strauss's Rosenkavalier and at the Deutsche Oper, Berlin in the same composer's Die Liebe der Danae.

"I am thrilled by the prospect of my continued partnership with the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra," comments Andrew Litton. "In the years leading up to the orchestra’s great 250th jubilee we will strive to communicate our passionate enthusiasm for the beauty and energy of symphonic music to everybody in Bergen and throughout Norway. I also look forward to being able to share Bergen’s unique musical heritage and the very high artistic level of this orchestra with the greatest number of people worldwide, through our tours and recordings."

Under Litton's leadership, the Bergen Philharmonic has appeared at Carnegie Hall, made its debut in 2007 at the BBC Proms in London and has regularly toured throughout Great Britain and Europe. Their account of Mendelssohn's Second Symphony for the BIS label won a BBC Music Magazine Award in 2010; the partnership's recording of Prokofiev Piano Concertos Nos. 2 and 3 with Freddy Kempf, meanwhile, was nominated for a Gramophone Award. Litton’s BIS recording of Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring and Petrushka is released this month.

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