February 21, 2005

On Eve of European Tour, Bergen Philharmonic called a jewel

On March 7 Andrew Litton takes the Bergen Philharmonic on an 8 day, 4 country European tour, including a concert in Rome and three separate programs in Vienna. The Orchestra has been performing its tour programs in Bergen's Grieg Hall.

This is what the Bergens Tiedende reports:

Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra - A Jewel

By Nils M. Stene, Bergens Tiedende

In a way, we've sensed and felt it for many years. But now we can hear it. The Bergen Philharmonic is developing into a brilliant jewel in Europe's musical treasure chest.

The Orchestra today not only is a focal point in Norwegian musical life, but also is taking its rightful place in the international arena. It is a growing force soon to challenge those orchestras which, with respect and admiration we describe as divine, possessing artistic qualities previously unattainable by a local orchestra.

As members of the audience, we witnessed over many years dedicated efforts, constantly improving quality, and growing self-confidence by musicians and staff, which today give us an orchestra weekly producing artistic experiences to be admired and applauded.

A great orchestra is made up of individualists, in the best sense of the word. The BPO is no exception. It takes some 100 artistic personalities to communicate together in a way which the listener will understand expresses a common interpretive artistic vision with that of the composer and conductor. The BPO today is an orchestra driven by collective individualism. It approaches its task of artistic expression as a life and death challenge to be met in the best way possible. We all can observe it as they play. The joy of creating quality shows in their faces and in their musical development. Contact among each other inspires the musicians. A wink from one to the other, a nod, a signal of recognition for personal effort, and not the least, when the job is done, the exchange of many handshakes. A good collective environment is distinguished by mutual respect and a readiness to express thanks for a great performance.

When one has followed the Orchestra for more than 45 years, with many excellent conductors, it is a great joy to note that under today's Maestro, the very inspiring and deeply musical Andrew Litton, the time has come for the BPO to be compared with the best orchestras in Europe and the world at large. For me, it doesn't matter whether or not they achieve perfection; I don't know if that really exists. To work to attain the perfect is far more interesting. To be able to follow this process as a listener can be likened to traveling First Class, dining as recommended by the Guide Michelin. There are no compromises here. It's all hard work and the returns can be heavenly when everything falls in place musically. We experience that more and more often. Thank you for what you are giving us. When the applause is over, we part until the next time. I hope you understand that the music and gratitude remain with us long after we leave Grieg Hall.