THE NORWEGIAN WIND ENSEMBLE
The Norwegian Wind Ensemble dates back to 1734 and is one of the oldest ensembles in Norway. As the oldest cultural institution of any kind with an unbroken history, the ensemble is an important part of Norwegian cultural history. The ensemble, made up of 24 musicians, performs across different musical genres. Based in Halden, a town south of Oslo, the ensemble produces and performs between 60 and 80 concerts each year.
The Norwegian Wind Ensemble maintains two particular areas of commitment: historical music and real time music. The group has found a way to define and present their own sound for music from the Renaissance to the Baroque, and up to the First Viennese School. They combine modern woodwinds with original brass instruments, which breathes new life into familiar works from these periods. The ensemble’s uniqueness has resulted in a recording of Händel’s Messiah with the BBC Singers.
The ensemble’s other focus is real time music. This is improvisation based on classical references – created and played in the moment. During the last years the ensemble has performed over twenty real time concerts with pianist Michael Wollny, in both Norway and Germany, and as of fall 2019 he is the ensemble’s Artist-in-Residence. In collaboration with Professor Geir Lysne, the ensemble has worked purposefully to develop collective knowledge and individual skills. In addition to historical and real time music, the ensemble presents other productions each year, ranging from Christmas concerts to Frank Zappa tributes, and family shows with local children and youth.
The Norwegian Wind Ensemble has also released a number of CD recordings and videos. Sketches of Spain, under the leadership of Maria Schneider has received many favorable reviews. They have also released recordings of the music of Oscar Borg, Norway’s own march king, in addition to Hermeto’s Universe, in collaboration with composer Steffen Schorn on the music of Hermeto Pascoal. Both audiences and the Zappa family alike have embraced the ensemble’s recording, The Brass from Utopia – A Frank Zappa Tribute. The ensemble’s most recent release in 2022 is an album of Beethoven and Haydn works, together with pianist Christian Ihle Hadland and conductor Eivind Aadland.