As final exams and projects are winding down, you might be seeking some summer time activities, or just a way to celebrate the end of another semester. Bergen International Festival (Festspillene i Bergen – or FiB) has many offerings that may fit the bill.
FiB is a festival of arts encompassing many different genres including music, dance, opera, theatre and visual art. FiB, established in 1953, is not only the largest festival of its kind in Scandinavia, it’s the longest running music and theatre festival in Norway. The 2015 festival began 27 May and runs till 10 June. A 15-day festival, it contains 250 events in 20 different venues. Read more about the festival here.
You can get a little taste of the types of art being performed in this video from FiB’s site:
The Danish String Quartet
I was lucky enough to attend a FiB event featuring the Danish String Quartet with Christian Ihle Hadland at Håkonshallen. These talented men teamed up to play Piano Quintet in F minor, op. 34 on Wednesday 28 May. Apparently, the Danish String Quartet are known for their intense energy, and they did not disappoint. Norwegian world-class pianist Christan Ihle Hadland matched their intensity with his own ferocity. While not well-versed in classical music myself, I could still appreciate their passion. The Danish String Quartet also played Sting Quartet no. 4 in F minor, op. 44 by Carl Nielsen as well as their own arrangement of Excerpt from Wood Works, traditional Scandinavian folk music (this was toe-tappingly engaging and complete with a rock ‘n roll ending). It may come as no surprise then, that the Danish String Quartet and Christian Ihle Hadland have both been recognized as BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artists. Read the programme for their performance here.
The Danish String Quartet is:
Rune Tonsgaard Sørensen, violin
Frederik Øland, violin
Asbjørn Nørgaard, viola
Fredrik Schøyen Sjölin, cello
Check them out on Spotify. Or check this video of a live performance (linked from the FiB site):
Experience Christian Ihle Hadland‘s piano skills here (playing Mozart’s Piano Sonata No. 9, K.311- final movement, at the BBC’s Maida Vale Studios in London).
Ready to get out and see the arts?
There is still much to see in FiB, whether you’re a fan of the circus, folk-rock, theatre, or opera. And yes, there are reduced cost tickets if you are under 30 years old. Or, keep your eyes peeled for a number of free events, ranging from the refined (classical music in a rock pub 5 June at Apollon) to the absurd (Sheep in Nygårdsparken 31 May) to the badass (free concerts, art exhibits, talks and DJs at the ‘Street Festival’ 3pm to 3am 6 June) and much much more.
And remember, there is an abundance of event choices even outside of FiB because Nattjazz is also on, it began 28 May and ends 6 June. I am showing my hometown bias here, but I’ll be making sure to see fellow Seattle native and all around supergenius Reggie Watts on Saturday 30 May!