GEST – Gothenburg English Studio Theatre

  • Sarah Surgey
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  • 15th February 2016
  • Nordophile enjoys promoting the arts which come from all Nordic regions and bringing them to our English-speaking audience with a similar passion. So imagine our delight when we stumbled across a theatre group in Sweden which performs in English. This is certainly a must when heading over to Gothenburg for a cultural holiday! GEST – Gothenburg […]




    Nordophile enjoys promoting the arts which come from all Nordic regions and bringing them to our English-speaking audience with a similar passion. So imagine our delight when we stumbled across a theatre group in Sweden which performs in English. This is certainly a must when heading over to Gothenburg for a cultural holiday!

    GEST – Gothenburg English Studio Theatre is an award-winning English-speaking theatre located in Gothenburg, Sweden and is the only professional English-speaking theatre in western Sweden. We bring the very best of British contemporary drama in its original language to Sweden.

    GEST is run by Executive Artistic Director Kristina Brändén Whitaker and Co-Artistic Director Gary Whitaker. Actors are recruited in Britain before every production whilst a superb Swedish production team takes care of set and light design, music and administration.

     

    (Photo Lina Ikse taken from 2015 play YEN)

     

    It was founded in 2005 with the aim of providing quality, contemporary and award-winning theatre in the English language.

    GEST works with professional actors and directors from Britain and Sweden and aims to produce theatre of the highest standard, which is accessible to everyone. As well as performing in Sweden, GEST also performs internationally and are always keen to collaborate with theatres abroad. We also collaborate closely with schools, colleges and universities, offering specially reduced student prices, workshops and after-show discussions with the actors. (See Teachers’ page)

    Gothenburg has a large English-speaking population and is the home to a variety of nationalities where English is the second language. GEST also seeks to cater for these people, who may long for an enjoyable night at the theatre.

    At present nearly all the great English-speaking plays that are performed in Gothenburg are translated into Swedish. GEST are proud to be able to show the plays in the language that they were originally written.

     

    What’s on

     

    The Events

    Gothenburg English Studio Theatre presents the Swedish premiere of the award-winning and critically acclaimed play  The Events by David Greig. Music by John Browne. Directed by Gary Whitaker.

    8 April- 30 April at Gothenburg English Studio Theatre

    4 May – 14 May at Kulturhuset, Stadsteatern Stockholm

    (Photo: Lina Ikse)

     

    Featuring local choirs, The Events tells a story of obsession, grief and forgiveness

    Claire, a liberal church minister, runs a community choir in a small seaside town.
    “…a choir that brought together vulnerable people, old people, asylum seekers, immigrant men, young mums and so on – it was a – the idea was – you can imagine. ”

     Claire, a liberal church minister, runs a community choir in a small seaside town.
    ”…a choir that brought together vulnerable people, old people, asylum seekers, immigrant men, young mums and so on – it was a – the idea was – you can imagine.”

    One day a boy with a gun walks in during a choir rehearsal resulting in devastating consequences. Claire becomes obsessed with the boy and the reasons for his actions. She looks for answers among the politicians that the boy associates himself with, his father, old classmates and, in the end, the boy himself. It’s a journey that takes her to the edge of reason, science, politics and faith.

    The Events has a strong relevance to today’s development of far right extremism in Sweden and Europe whilst also exploring how far forgiveness can stretch in the face of brutality. Different local community choirs will join the cast on stage for each performance in this rare, daring and beautiful new play.

    To find out more about GEST and upcoming theatre productions head to GEST.se

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    Finnish artist & photographer – Milla Koivisto

  • Sarah Surgey
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  • 5th February 2016
  • Kaikubanner

    Nordophile was very excited to come across Finnish artist & photographer, Milla Koivisto. Not purely just because of her breath-taking artistic view of the Nordic landscape but also because of her natural intensity when relating back to her audience her vision. Milla Koivisto is an artist, photographer and author from Finland. Her focus is on the […]




    Nordophile was very excited to come across Finnish artist & photographer, Milla Koivisto. Not purely just because of her breath-taking artistic view of the Nordic landscape but also because of her natural intensity when relating back to her audience her vision.

    Milla Koivisto is an artist, photographer and author from Finland. Her focus is on the natural world and our connections and relationship with it. Milla studied both illustration and visual communication at the Arts University of Bournemouth. She also studied classical flute and music theatre in Finland. She works with several artistic disciplines and her interest lies in narrative structures and storytelling. She currently divides her time between Finland and the UK.

     

    Kaiku

    We were keen to understand more about the Kaiku project from this Finnish artist and find out how this would translate to peak the interest of Nordophiles, with a certain attraction to the Nordic arts, in all genres.

    Kaiku is an audio-visual project, structured around a core narrative. Set in and inspired by the Nordic landscape of the Finnish archipelago, Kaiku tells the story of a reclusive Shaman, a flute playing girl called Aino and her echo Kaiku. The protagonists of the story face the harshness and the isolation brought by the landscape and each of their lives is a manifestation of learning and surviving by the stipulations of nature. Music and sound in the natural world become ways of connecting, coping and conveying feelings in the dialogue-less story of Kaiku.

    In the Kaiku project traditional storytelling is combined with modern narrative technique. The project combines words, images, recorded sound, compositions and video. The Kaiku project will be released in a series of exhibitions, events and talks during 2015-2017.

     

    The Kaiku Series

    The first short film in the Kaiku series, ‘The Old Woman’ is an exploration of solitude through sound and image and portrays the landscape of an old woman called Aino’s soul. The film was shot during a three month stay on a treeless lighthouse island of Bengtskär in the Baltic Sea in Finland.

     

     

    The Kaiku book

    The first part of the Kaiku project is an illustrated, fictional book. Set on a small island where the winter days are short and the summer sun never sets and life must adapt to the changing seasons. A vision of two women with the same face sets a reclusive shaman on a journey from his dark forest cabin to the barren, windswept shores of a lighthouse.

    In Kaiku our relationship with nature is explored through sounds and seasons. Set over the course of a year in the isolation of a small island Kaiku  is the result of a long-running fascination with traditional narrative, folklore and the natural environment.

     

    To order the book and find out more about Milla Koivisto head over to Millakoivisto.com

    Milla talks about the origins of the Kaiku project on her site which gives us an insight into her thought process and how the idea was born.

    “A story had been brewing in my mind for some time, not leaving me alone. On the last day of December 2012 I sat down at my desk in my apartment in Brighton and started to write. I have always been writing stories, but never been mature enough to sit still long enough to finish a longer piece. Writing a book is of course more then just an endurance sport -it is about finding a story you believe in, are passionate about and know is true. For me there was only one thing I could write about. I had to write about the sea and the island I grew up on. The project became a love letter to the landscape I knew. I was brought up on a small island called Kemiönsaari in the south coast of Finland, in the Baltic Sea. At the time I started writing Kaiku I had been living in the UK for seven years. I realised how little was written or known about the Finnish culture outside Finland. It became clear to me that the story needed to be written in English, so I added this on to my challenge and started writing in my third language.

    I started to write about an island, about a Shaman, a girl called Aino and her echo Kaiku. Kaiku in Finnish is both a name and the event of a sound caused by the reflection of sound waves from a surface back to the listener – an echo. What I wanted to portray in the story was the interconnection with the natural world and the people. It was important for me to show the integral connection between the people and their land. It also became a story about solitude, isolation and loneliness, themes I feel are close to the Finnish people through our characteristics, the geographical location of the country and perhaps even through the dissimilarity of our language compared to most other European languages.

     

     

    From the very beginning I wanted to create a whole world around the story of Kaiku. I wanted to not only to tell a story with words but also to make it come alive with sound and images. Kaiku became a multidisciplinary project structured around a core narrative. It is a project combining words, image, sound and music and video. So far the project has taken me to three small islands in Finland. In Summer 2014 I spent a month on the island of Kökar, in the Baltic Sea in Finland, living in the old post office that was converted in to an artist residence. My purpose was to compose and collect natural sounds for the project. I returned to the island in January 2015 to further compose and collect, this time the sound world of the Nordic winter. In summer of 2015 I divided my time living in Kemiönsaari and the small lighthouse island of Bengtskär at the Baltic Sea where I filmed and recorded natural sounds.

    Kaiku is an ongoing project which will be completed in 2017. The first part of the project, is a book titled Kaiku.”

    Contact Milla here

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    Njord Biennale – Colour of Sound

  • Sarah Surgey
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  • 29th January 2016
  • Great news! After a very long Christmas break, Nordophile is back for 2016 and will continue to introduce to Nordophiles many different Nordic talents. But we aren’t the only ones who are are here! Last year in the summer we featured the up-and-coming Njord Biennale – Copenhagen Festival and in 2016 it’s arrived! From 28th January […]




    Great news! After a very long Christmas break, Nordophile is back for 2016 and will continue to introduce to Nordophiles many different Nordic talents.

    But we aren’t the only ones who are are here! Last year in the summer we featured the up-and-coming Njord Biennale – Copenhagen Festival and in 2016 it’s arrived!

    From 28th January to 1st February Copenhagen is going to explode with Colour & Sound from Nordic contemporary artists.

    “With a focus on timbre in music and color tones in the visual arts, the biennale brings together a number of cross cultured composers, visual artists, musicians, directors, etc. in Nordic collaboration on a number of cross artistic projects.”

     

     

    Programme

     

    NJORD Biennale has a clear aim to focus on the interaction between the tonal colors of music and colour tones of visual art. To live up to this aim, we have gathered a group of composers, artists, musicians, and directors etc. to create cross-artistic projects with a common Nordic tone.

    The festival´s programme offers five nights of concerts and three exhibits that will unfold the vision of this year´s theme. The programme is broad in scope  – both the well known and established as well as the new generation of composers are represented in NJORD´s diverse selection. Concert formats and content varies; from grand opera productions over experimental ensemble concerts with visuals, to intimate solo and duo performances.

     

    Featured Artists

     

     

    photo; Maarit Kytöharju

     

    Aliisa Neige Barrière (b. 1995) was born into a French-Finnish family in Paris, where her music studies have included violin, piano, chamber music and choral as well as orchestral conducting.

    The passionate chamber musician has participated in projects and master classes throughout Europe and America, and moving musical from the Baroque to the latest music.

    In Denmark Aliisa Neige Barrière helped to create the new Hindsgavl Nordic Chamber Orchestra and has participated in chamber music festival Open Strings.

    In the year 2011-2012 she studied violin with Renee Jolles in New York at the Preparatory Division of Mannes College of Music, as well as orchestral conducting and chamber music. As a winner of the Concerto Competition she played the first movement of the Khachaturian Concerto in March 2012 at Symphony Space, New York.

    After having received her Performance Diploma at the Conservatoire à Rayonnement Régional, she returned to New York in 2013 where she was awarded a full scholarship for four years of studies at Mannes College of Music, where she studied for 2 years with Lewis Kaplan and Laurie Smukler (violin), Michael Adelson and David Hayes (conducting) playing also in the Mannes Baroque Players under the direction of Nancy Wilson.

    As a passionate chamber musician, Barrière has participated in a great variety of projects and masterclasses throughout Europe and the United States, and is interested in all music from baroque to contemporary.

    Her recent engagements have included solo, conducting and chamber music appearances. She most recently conducted Stravinky’s L’Histoire du Soldat at Mannes College and is also a founding member of the new Hindsgavl Nordic Chamber Orchestra in Denmark and has participated in the Open Strings Chamber Music Festival both as a performer and in assisting in artistic programming.

    Since her move to Norway, her projects have included taking part in the celebration of the 80th birthday of pianist Liv Glaser in an all Mozart program on period instruments, under the direction of Bjarte Eike, and also producing and leading a special project, For Peace We Stand meant to unite musicians against barbary in the world.

    Aliisa Neige Barrière plays a 1717 violin by Claude Pierray.

     

    Avanti! Photo: Marco Borggreve
    Avanti! Photo: Marco Borggreve

     

    Finnish Avanti! Chamber Orchestra is a quite extraordinary artistic powerhouse! The ensemble was founded in 1983 on the initiative of Esa-Pekka Salonen, Olli Pohjola and Jukka-Pekka Saraste, and since 1998 clarinettist Kari Kriikku has been artistic director.

    Today Avanti! is renowned as one of the best ensembles for new music in the world. The ensemble specializes in no particular genre; rather, it is proud to be a specialist in all styles with a strong sense of responsibility for the music of today.

    Avanti! works in close partnership with front-line international conductors, soloists and composers, and has won many prizes and widespread acclaim from audiences and critics all over the world.

    The concerts at NJORD Biennale 2016 are the first time ever Avanti! Chamber Orchestra will perform in Denmark.

     

    photo; Nikolaj Lund

    photo; Nikolaj Lund

     

    Bjarke Mogensen (b.1985) This Danish accordionist at the age of 13 made his debut as a soloist in a German TV broadcast with the Munich Symphony Orchestra.

    In 2011, Bjarke Mogensen had his solo debut at Carnegie Hall, New York, and in 2012 he received 1st prize in the prestigious European Broadcast Unions “New Talent” competition in Bratislava.

    Bjarke Mogensen studied at the Royal Danish Academy of Music as a pupil of Geir Draugsvoll and today he teaches chamber music at the same place.

    He has given solo concerts all over the world from New York to Moscow, from Iceland to Turkey. He has performed chamber music with violinists Augustin Dumay and Gidon Kremer and cellist Andreas Brantelid. As a soloist he has worked with orchestras such as the Moscow Virtuosi, Kremerata Baltica, Slovak State Philharmonic Orchestra, The Tiroler Symphony Orchestra, the Danish National Symphony Orchestra and the Copenhagen Philharmonic, conducted by maestros such as John Storgårds, Francesco Angelico, Rafael Payare, Lan Shui, Rolf Gupta, Leos Svarovský, Beat Furrer and Vladimir Spivakov.

    A long succession of collaborations with prominent living composers has resulted in many new compositions – concertos, chamber music and solo works – dedicated to Bjarke Mogensen.

    Bjarke Mogensen’s repertoire is almost unlimited, with a span ranging from folk music and accordion classics over his own arrangements and transcriptions to brand new works for accordion.

     

    asa_gudjonsdottir_photo_guðmundur_ingo-lfsson (1)

    photo; Guðmundur Ingólfsson

     

    Asa Gudjonsdottir from Reykjavik, Iceland, came into a family devoted to the arts. Beginning her studies at the age of 3, and instantly became mesmerized with the instrument. At the age of 12, Asa was admitted to the Reykjavik Conservatory, ultimately leading up to her acceptance at the prestigious Icelandic Academy of the Arts where she studied with Auður Hafsteinsdottir. Asa has cultivated her talent with wonderful musicians, of which includes Routa Kroumovitch at Stetson University, Boris Kuschnir, in Vienna, and Anton Miller at the Hartt School of Music where she graduated with Masters in violin performance.

    Asa regularly performs in concerts and music festivals in Europe and United States, as a soloist and as a chamber musician. Her recent performances have included appearances at Scandinavia House in New York, Lincoln Center in New York, Icelandic embassy in Berlin and Washington D.C. She is a recipient of the Visa cultural award in Iceland, Fulbright Foundation and the American-Scandinavian Foundation.

    Asa’s latest concerts feature performances at the contemporary music festival, “Dark Music Days” in Reykjavik, Iceland, the “Mostly Nordic Concert Series” in Seattle in May with her duo, the Amaranth Duo, Mendelsohn Violin Concerto with the Icelandic Youth Orchestra and a premiere of Depo Flux, concerto grosso by Ken Steen at Lincoln Theater in Connecticut.

     

    jakob_kullberg_foto_charlotta_miranda

    photo; Charlotta Miranda

     

    Jakob Kullberg has been praised internationally for his performances of the modern cello concerto,  living in Paris, he is one of the most active and diverse young Danish instrumentalists.

    Jakob studied in a.o. Amsterdam, London, Zagreb, Vienna and Copenhagen, with Harro Ruijsenaars, Dmitri Ferschtman, Valter Despalj, Mats Lidström, Morten Zeuthen and Anner Bylsma.

    Top prize winner at international solo and chamber music competitions, twice winner of the Danish Grammy, most recently in 2013 for his concerto CD ’Momentum’ which was also nominated for the coveted Gramophone Award in London and chosen for ’Album of the Week’ with Q2 Music, New York.

    In 2011 he was awarded the ’Gladsaxe Music Prize’ and has been artist in residence for, amongst others, the Tivoli Garden Concert Hall, the International Carl Nielsen Violin Competition and New Music Orchestra, Poland.

    Jakob’s recent debut with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London as well as with Ensemble Intercontemporain at one of their inter-sessions in Paris received excellent reviews, and he looks forward to concerto debuts with the Bergen Philharmonic and the BBC Philharmonic Orchestras. He is scheduled to record Per Nørgård’s Remembering Child with Sinfonia Varsovia in December 2014. In the 2016/17 seasons he will embark on a two-CD recording project with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by John Storgårds comprising concertos by Saariaho and Nørgård as well as the two cello concertos by Shostakovich.

    He has returned frequently to prestigious international festivals such as the Aldeburgh Festival, the Warsaw Autumn Festival, the Huddersfield Festival and Bergen International Festival.

    Jakob enjoys a unique working relationship with the Danish composer Per Nørgård, who has composed and dedicated numerous works for him; the two have developed a rare dialogical collaboration in which the composer utilises the creative potential of the cellist in an experimental composition process. He is also a notable interpreter of the work of Bent Sørensen and in 2011 he moved to Paris to focus on his collaboration with Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho.

    As a teacher Jakob has garnered attention giving masterclass internationally at for instance, the Royal Academy of Music in London, the Norwegian Academy of Music and the Karol Szymanowski Academy of Music in Poland, and has held a teaching position at the Royal Danish Academy of Music since 2005.

    In 2013, he was appointed to the Norwegian Artistic Research Fellowship Programme and has been the artistic director of the Open Strings Cello Academy since 2004.

    For more information and other featured artists head over to njordbiennale.com

     

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    Lights in Alingsås

  • Sarah Surgey
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  • 14th October 2015
  • The Lights in Alingsås festival opened on September 25th and runs through to November 1st. Just 40 minutes outside of Gothenburg, this light festival is definitely a must see this Autumn. Visit the festival to see and witness some incredible light displays and installations around Alingsås.   Photograph Patrik Gunnar Helin   It started in 1999 […]




    The Lights in Alingsås festival opened on September 25th and runs through to November 1st. Just 40 minutes outside of Gothenburg, this light festival is definitely a must see this Autumn. Visit the festival to see and witness some incredible light displays and installations around Alingsås.

     

    Photograph Patrik Gunnar Helin

     

    It started in 1999 when students from HDK, Jönköping University and Gothenburg University gathered in Alingsås to experiment with different lighting designs for public buildings. The following year, the municipality entered into agreements with the Professional Lighting Designers’ Association – PLDA, who have brought the international world of lighting design to Alingsås every October since then. The result is an educational and fun lighting event which has grown annually.

    – Already in the early years the Municipality of Alingsås showed a huge interest in lighting, which was matched by interest from an international audience. Today, Lights in Alingsås welcomes more than 85 000 visitors annually. “We are obviously very proud,” says Kjell Hult, Development Manager at Alingsås Municipality and one of the initiators of Lights in Alingsås.

     

    Photograph Patrik Gunnar Helin

     

    Children are our future

    Children Lights is running for the third year in a row.  The 2015 overall theme is notoriously Evolution of Light, and the Children’s Future Park is a part of it. The installations kids create symbolizes their own thoughts about the future, what they hope for and what they imagine.

    – Our heart burns for Alingsås, and we totally support everything that makes it better to live here. Brilliant Children, Children’s Future Park and Children’s bright are exciting new features of this year’s light festival. As the main sponsor of the Lights in Alingsås we are extremely pleased with this year’s children’s initiative, says Klas Fresh, Sparbanken Alingsås.

     

    Photograph Patrik Gunnar Helin

     

    Bright children

    New this year is the “Bright Child” – a playful place for all children to experience this scene, where Malin Wallin, designer and drama teacher has created a playful place for all children. Malin Wallin explains:

    “Children have gathered at the lit up trees and house. Here they have started to play. There are light fairy tales and houses which can dance. This illuminates the play and everyone can join in. Everyone gets to be a part of the light from now and into the future, from the heart to the world. ”

    The scene Bo

    Malin Wallin has also created an interactive scene in the park in the form of the creature Bo, where children can create shadows in the gap at Bo. With the stage, she has wanted to attract up to play on the scene, one can create shadows in the gap and from there to become part of the installation. Future bright for Malin is the children’s own lighting force, to light today and into the future is a material to play with, able to create and shape of. A material to experiment with, discover and enjoy.

    Photograph Patrik Gunnar Helin 

    Light Designers

    A new group of lighting designers have gathered in Alingsås to start the creative work of Lights in Alingsås in 2015. The theme is “Evolution of Light” and will take visitors on a journey through time in light characters and highlight major finds of all time. Together with Professor Jan Ejhed working at KTH, Royal Institute of Technology, the designs do a deep dive into the history of light to find interesting finds and phenomena to work along with this year’s loop. Audio will also this year be part of the installations and composer Sebastian Studnitzky from Germany will lead the creative process of creating the right sound with this year’s designs.

     

    Photograph Patrik Gunnar Helin

     

    This year’s lighting designer is Anna Sbouko from Greece, Kevan Shaw from Scotland, Roberto Corradini & Marco Palandella from Italy, Reinhard Germer from Germany, Katja Winkelmann from Germany, Andrea Hartranft from the US and Catherine Hennig from Sweden.

    Another exciting year of creation has begun in Alingsås which you will get to enjoy during the month of October.

    You will also find a workshop at the festival.

    The workshop teaches the theoretical and practical knowledge in lighting design. The main objective is to have a professional lighting designer who will guide participants through the entire lighting process with a fair and full-scale projects. Workshop Week lasts for seven days and supported by the industry with advanced lighting equipment.

     Photograph Patrik Gunnar Helin

    This year’s workshop is now full, but there is the possibility to get information about next year’s workshop in advance, please send an email to lights@alingsas.se with contact details and we will contact you when we open registration for in 2016.

    Welcome to Lights in Alingsås in the Autumn! Lightsinalingsas.se

    Thank you to Lights in Alingsas for text and pictures.

    Featured image Robert Persson

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    ARoS Aarhus Art Museum

  • Sarah Surgey
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  • 13th October 2015
  • Whilst exploring the Nordic countries you can’t ignore the amount of Art and Cultural events and premises which indulge visitors in some of the most innovative and exciting art. Denmark is no acception and in its second largest city, Aarhus, you will find  ARoS Aarhus Art Museum. ARoS is a house of art where guests can […]




    Whilst exploring the Nordic countries you can’t ignore the amount of Art and Cultural events and premises which indulge visitors in some of the most innovative and exciting art.

    Denmark is no acception and in its second largest city, Aarhus, you will find  ARoS Aarhus Art Museum.

    ARoS is a house of art where guests can be pleased, enlightened and challenged. The architecture is of international class. The same is the art. And both offer experiences of high carat: from light to thrill, from attitude to entertainment, from joy to challenge.

     

     

    THE GALLERIES

    The art museum contains four large exhibition galleries of just under 1,100 square metres and The West Gallery with its 350 square metres.  Each gallery shows special exhibitions with both national and international artist such as Bill Viola, Olafur Eliasson, Wim Wenders, Paul McCarthy, Shirin Neshat and Robert Rauschenberg. Besides the special exhibitions the galleries give the opportunity to view works from the museum’s own collections featuring work dated from 1770 until today including contemporary works by international artists such as Tony Oursler, Carsten Höller, Mona Hatoum, Miwa Yanagi and James Turrell.

    In addition international light-, video- and installation art are presented in the special exhibitions section “The 9 Rooms” in the basement.

     

    ARoS FOCUS//NEW NORDIC
    NEW NORDIC EXHIBITION SERIES AT ARoS

    On the 7th March 2015, ARoS opened its doors to a new exhibition series in the West Gallery: ARoS FOCUS//NEW NORDIC. The series is directly focused on Nordic contemporary art and will be running for a period of three years. A total of nine young Nordic artists will be presented.

    ‘We want to present the kind of art to our museum visitors that they won’t normally have access to. Art by interesting international artists. Art that is largely unknown, but relevant, appealing and to the point. ARoS FOCUS//NEW NORDIC is an interesting option intended to meet the ever rising expectations of our visitors and expanding their horizons even further,’ says Erlend Høyersten, museum director, ARoS.

     

    NATHALIE DJURBERG &; HANS BERG – 22 OCTOBER 2015 – 22 FEBRUARY 2016

    Taking their point of departure in especially the visual artist Nathalie Djurberg’s (1978) personal fantasies and notions, the artist couple attempt to visualise the often less flattering aspects of the human psyche. This they achieve via integrated installations consisting of large modelled sculptures, video animations and atmospheric music. Nathalie Djurberg and the composer Hans Berg (1978) provide a space in their works for frustration, fear, desire, violence and imagination in a very private and symbolic manner coinciding with a specialzeitgeist characterised by a strong focus on the individual and on identity.

    Exhibition manager for ARoS FOCUS//NEW NORDIC: acting senior curator Lise Pennington.

     

    CURRENT EXHIBITIONS & EXHIBITORS

    The 9 Spaces

    The 9 Spaces is a designated exhibition space at the subterranean basement level of ARoSAarhus Kunstmuseum, reserved to and specially designed for international light art, video art and installations. For the most part, new acquisitions has been funded from the Carlsberg Foundation’s donation to ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum of DKK 40m over a ten year period.

    The following works are currently installed in The 9 Spaces:

     

     

    TONY OURSLER, USA, 2004
    Unk, 2004

    A solid glass tank measuring 2 x 2 x 2 metres filled with water is the setting for a large human head, cast in glass fibre, onto which a face is projected. The darkened space that surrounds the tank adds to the eerie atmosphere. The work is thus a further development of Tony Oursler’s (b. 1957) previous productions where he brings dolls to life by means of projected video images.

     

    JAMES TURRELL, USA

    Milkrun III, 2002

    James Turrell’s (b. 1943) light work is contrived by artificial light. The viewer confronts a smouldering red light field which is fractured by a blue and yellow light that slit-formingly cuts into it, thus introducing tridimensionality into a diffuse opal-hued light. Instead of a spectacular effect, this shimmering field of colour produces a sense of thoughtful, reticent drama.

     

    PIPILOTTI RIST, SCHWITZERLAND
    Dawn Hours in the Neighbour’s House, 2007

    Swiss Pipilotti Rist (b. 1962) has created an installation especially for The 9 Spaces where the guest in just 8 minutes can experience 24-hours. Her unique video/sound installation is staging one of daily life’s banal, yet magic moments: the dawn of light. Rist has established a living room with furniture, wall paper, windows and plants. Video, sound and light create different atmospheres in the dawn of light. She seems preoccupied with the seemingly ordinary, well known aspects of life. But there is a twist. There is something strange and unfamiliar about the house –underlined by the fact that the artist has created a home in something as unnatural and alien as the space of a museum.

     

     

    OLAFUR ELIASSON, DENMARK/ICELAND
    Surroundings, 2007

    The Danish-Islandic Olafur Eliasson born 1967 is a well established, modern artist. Eliasson has earned his fame making large scale artworks that combine natural science with art. In The 9 Spaces at ARoS Eliasson combines these two elements yet again with great effect inSurroundings. By confronting the viewer with different physical experiments he challenges the sense of sight and makes our eyes see something which is not there. Eliasson thereby seek to create a disorientation in how we interact with the world and how we create the idea of ourselves by interacting with the things that surrounds us.

     

    MARIKO MORI, JAPAN
    Tom Na H-lu,2006

    Mariko Mori’s work is in elegant and fitting manner combining spirituality and cyber technology. Tom Na H-lu was the name given by the ancient Celts to the place where the human soul took up abode before being reborn. To the Celts, Tom Na H-lu was in the shape of a tall monolith. Mori has recreated this monolith in matt glass. The glass sculpture contains a computer-controlled LED light source, which changes colour whenever a star dies and when the celestial bodies known as neutrinos, which are elementary particles created by a fusion between sun and star, move in space. Via the internet, this work is linked to a supercomputer in the Super Kamiokande Observatory in Tokyo University.

     

    OLAF BREUNING, SCHWITZERLAND
    First,2003

    In our initial encounter with the Olaf Breuning’s (b. 1970), work we see a video projected on to a white sheet. However, the white sheet turns out to be the reverse of an E.T. figure the size of a child, the likeable little space creature from Steven Spielberg’s film from 1982. The main figure and narrator in the video is that of Brian Kersetter, a young man who in the course of a video lasting seven minutes takes us along with him to various geographical locations with widely different stories to tell – from the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas through the Wild West to Amish Pennsylvania in the USA. The video makes great use of echoes from the commercial film industry, including both films and advertisements. We are repeatedly told in the video how bored the narrator is, and how this boredom seems to provide the stimulus for the succeeding actions.

     

     

    A New Dynasty – Created in China

    A Chinese view on China and a new monumental installation created for ARoS by the legendary artist and system critic Ai Weiwei. These are some of the things awaiting the visitor when ARoS opens its doors on 21 November 2015 to the exhibition A New Dynasty – Created in China.

    ARoS has hand-picked 25 Chinese contemporary artists for the exhibition A New Dynasty – Created in China who will be showing a colourful array of paintings, installation art, video, sculpture, and photography. The exhibition breaks with Western cliché-ridden ideas of China as a Made in China culture by presenting the participating Chinese artists’ view on China. Weighty subjects such as Chinese national feeling and freedom of expression run as undercurrents through the spectacular works of art.

    ’With A New Dynasty – Created in China, ARoS wishes to combine the external gaze on China with the internal. We want to present Chinese contemporary art that does not exclusively look for inspiration within a Western frame of reference, but also in its own history, including early dynasties and China’s actual social and political context’, says museum director and curator of the exhibition Erlend G. Høyersten, ARoS.

    ‘China is facing a time of upheaval. The country is an elite economic and cultural superpower whose structural changes take place at a dizzying speed. China’s development means a lot more to our lives in the West than we care to admit. China’s future is our future, and this is why the exhibition is relevant’, adds Erlend G. Høyersten.

     

    Sui Jianguo, Motion And Tention, 2009 Mobile Studio , 2012, Photo Installation. Photo: ARoS

     

    ABOUT THE EXHBITION

    A New Dynasty – Created in China is a visual, thought-provoking, and inspiring encounter with China as a present-day superpower. The works of art will give visitors unique keys to the understanding of a world which is both familiar and strange at the same time; the complex and multi-faceted phenomenon of China.

    With this exhibition, ARoS focuses on the artists’ work methods and unusual approaches to Chinese reality, accentuating the political and social discord characterising China: the social elite contra the masses and the Communist ideology contra the fast growing market economy this country is experiencing.

    A LEGENDARY SYSTEM CRITIC VISITS AARHUS

    ARoS is particularly proud to be able to present Ai Weiwei at this exhibition. He just had his passport returned from the Chinese authorities and is now, for the first time in four years, free to travel. Quite exceptionally, Ai Weiwei has consented to participate in the group exhibition and he will create a new monumental installation for A New Dynasty – Created in China.

    ‘The fact that a notable artist and proponent of freedom of speech such as Ai Weiwei shows an interest in A New Dynasty – Created in China says something about the topicality and quality of this exhibition. We want to raise questions such as: what exactly fascinates, engages, and challenges contemporary Chinese artists? Where is Chinese society going in a national and an international sense?’, says Erlend G. Høyersten.

     

    Zhan Dali, Man And Beast, 2008

     

    A SELECTION OF ARTISTS AND THEIR WORKS

    Ai Weiwei (b. 1957):

    In his installation Yu Yi, 2015, Ai Weiwei links past and present. The work of art is a figure, 12 m in length and plaited in bamboo, that will float eight metres above visitors’ heads. The figure is a reference to a specific jade funeral garb from the Han Dynasty (c. 2000 years ago). At the same time, Yu Yi is a flying superman referring directly to China as the ultimate world superpower.

    Xu Bing (b. 1955):

    Xu Bing’s installation 1st Class, 2011, consists of 500,000 Chinese cigarettes laid out in an intricate pattern so that, from a distance, the cigarettes resemble a huge tiger’s skin. The tiger is central to Chinese culture as the symbol of health, strength, and prosperity. In this way, Xu Bing constructs a contrasting relationship between the symbolism inherent in the installation – the powerful tiger – and the actual content of the art work – the cigarettes presenting health risks. China is the world’s largest consumer and producer of tobacco. 43 per cent of all cigarettes in the world are produced in China. Add to this the fact that more than 300 million Chinese from all social classes are smokers.

    Maleonn (b. 1972):

    I his project Mobile Studio, 2012, Maleonn used the social medium Weibo to invite the whole country of China to orchestrate itself. The project resulted in 1,600 pictures and Maleonn spent one year criss-crossing the People’s Republic of China. Mobile Studio manages to bring a global social trend into focus: the culture of self-orchestration while the democratic nature of the project suspends Chinese class divisions allowing the meeting of high and low in this fictional project. Mobile Studio presents China in a series of creative, imaginative, and humorous individuals whose dreams, thoughts, and imagination are universal.

    Yin Xiuzhen (b. 1963):

    Yin Xiuzhen often uses recycled materials in her sculptures and art installations. As part of her project Portable Cities, Yin Xiuzhen will create a new work for the exhibition A New Dynasty – Created in China, namely a 3D travelling suitcase installation of Aarhus city sewed in local second-hand textiles. Yin Xiuzhen is fascinated with personal recollection. She sees memory as man’s most important roots in a modern world – especially in a country such as China where social and structural changes take place at a fast pace.

     


    WANG YUANZHENG
    150×200cm, Oil On Canvas 2015, Credit: ARoS

     

    COMPLETE LIST OF ARTISTS TAKING PART

    Ai Weiwei, Peng Wei, Chen Danqing, Sui Jianguo, Shao Fan, Zhang Xiaogang, Li Songsong, Zhang Dali, Jing Kewen, Wang Yuanzheng, Chen Fei, Miao Xiaochun, Zhang Xiaotao, Xu Bing, Guan Fengdong, Liu Jianhua, Maleonn, Chen Xiaodan, Ji Wenyu, Zhu Weibing, Feng Feng, Yin Xiuzhen, Lam Laam Jaffa, Mao Tongqiang, Song Dong

    The exhibition A New Dynasty – Created in China is showing from 21 November 2015 to 22 May 2016 in the exhibition galleries at levels 1 and 6.

    Curator: Erlend G. Høyersten, museum director, ARoS
    Curator: Pernille Taagaard Dinesen, curator, ARoS

    External curators:
    Curator:  Feng Boy
    Curator: Bjørn Inge Follevaag
    Curator: Wang Dong

    Featured image; The world-famous Danish-Icelandic artist, Olafur Eliasson, has created Your rainbow panorama and it was officially opened in May 2011 on top of ARoS. 

    For more information about exhibitions and the ‘Whats on’ head to aros.dk

    Thank you to ARoS ART Museum for text & photos

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    Nordic News Round Up

  • Sarah Surgey
  • Leave a comment
  • 9th October 2015
  • We’ve started looking at Nordic interests and stories which are making their way into our news throughout each week. We know Nordophiles have an interest in all areas when it comes to Nordic genres so are taking this opportunity to let you know about some things which have caught our attention this week and probably […]




    We’ve started looking at Nordic interests and stories which are making their way into our news throughout each week. We know Nordophiles have an interest in all areas when it comes to Nordic genres so are taking this opportunity to let you know about some things which have caught our attention this week and probably yours!

     

     

    We couldn’t end the week without talking about the passing of the legendary and hugely respected Nordic author Henning Mankell. Monday 5th October many woke to the news that he had lost his fight with Cancer. Instantly the respectful outpouring for this author was in some ways unprecedented because not only was this Swedish man one of the most popular authors within the Nordic Noir genre but he was an absolute writer, dedicated to his talent, right until the end.

    He documented his fight with Cancer through his writing for The Guardian, with his last entry being posthumously printed the next day. He wrote about his humanitarian causes which saw him take an active role over the years in trying to right what he believed in and he spoke often through his written words to convey his love and belonging in Mozambique. Henning Mankell brought us Wallander, the Swedish Detective which was equally popular in literature as it was on our TV screens and for many this is where their love and first interest in Nordic crime fiction came from.

    Henning Mankell was a man of substance, a man of passion and beliefs and his work and activity will live on for many years to come.

     

    This week Cinemascandinavia launched the NORDI Awards! After a few years of reviewing, documenting, interviewing and showcasing to us Nordophiles everything to do with Nordic Film we are pleased to announce that this week they decided to let you have your say aswell with regards to the Nordic films and dramas that have got you through the year, and the actors who have made them so great. This is a good opportunity for you to be involved from the very beginning and have your say. Whether you have watched Pilou Asbaek from Borgen to ‘A War’ or have been taken by the performance of  Ane Dahl Torp in 1001 Grams. This is your chance to vote. Did the Norwegian disaster film ‘The Wave’  ignite a new interest in Nordic film in you, or are you waiting with much anticipation for the new series of ‘The Bridge’?  Now is the time to vote! The Nordi Awards Voting Form

     

     

    Nobel Prize in Literature was announced on Thursday 8th October by the Swedish Acadamy. Belarusian author Svetlana Alexievich took the coveted prize making her the 14th woman to win since it began in 1901. She was noted for her “polyphonic writings” by the Swedish Acadamy and praised for her work with her books which they described as “monument to suffering and courage in our time”.

    The Nobel Prize in literature was founded in 1901, 5 years after the death of Alfred Nobel a Swedish Chemist and Engineer. Alfred Nobel was the inventor of Dynamite and an elected a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. After death, it was found that Alfred Nobel had left much of his wealth and assets in a trust which he planned would be used to fund the Nobel Prizes.

     

     

    #NordicDayUSA was filtering through this week on Twitter and it’s all about Combating Climate Change! The five Nordic embassies in Washington DC ( Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, Norway) are attending the first ever Nordic Day on October 21st, where they will “discuss common goals and challenges in light of the upcoming Climate Change Conference in Paris.” It’s going to be all about Nordic solutions and fresh thoughts.

    The Nordics are normally at the forefront of innovative ideas and thinking outside of the box to move forward with World concerns, so it will be an interesting Nordic Day to watch and see the outcome of.

     

     

    Nordic Playlist is the place to go for your Nordic music interests. Each week they give us a recommended playlist, interviews, and features which bring us sometime relatively unknown Nordic artists to add to our list.

    This week they interviewed the Norwegian songstress ‘Aurora’. She talks about her upcoming performances in the UK in November and how it feels to finish her album recently. Read the interview here Nordic Playlist – Aurora 

     

     

     

    Finally, we couldn’t let this weeks mentions go by without talking about Nordic Food! With the furore over the Great British Bake Off final this week, Nordophiles yet again looked towards the Nordic food alternatives which we would replace certain British foods with. Cinnamon Bun Day was still fresh in our mind and maybe we’ve carried this National celebrated day on a bit too far into the week with at every opportunity taking a Fika where possible but in our defence it was spurred on after we read the interview in The Sunday Times with Swedish chef Magnus Nilsson.

    The interview starts off with telling us the correct way to pronounce Copenhagen and how so many are saying it wrong, it then delves into the reasons behind Magnus decision to write a Nordic cookbook. He has been described as both “extraordinary” and “acclaimed” so we very much recommend you take a look at the Nordic chefs thoughts and ideas which will only feed your Nordic passion even more! Sunday Times interview

    Well, that’s it for a roundup of Nordic News. Nordophile always welcomes input from our fellow Nordophiles, so if you have a story to tell or information on any Nordic talents/events let us know!

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    Swedish inspired artist Ange Mullen Bryan

  • Sarah Surgey
  • 1 Comment
  • 7th October 2015
  • A few months ago we showcased a British artist whose work is inspired by the Swedish landscape and the Nordic light which brings her subjects to life. We have been following Nordophile Ange Mullen-Bryan this year and as we are now firmly into Autumn we wanted to highlight some of her exhibitions which you may want […]




    A few months ago we showcased a British artist whose work is inspired by the Swedish landscape and the Nordic light which brings her subjects to life.

    We have been following Nordophile Ange Mullen-Bryan this year and as we are now firmly into Autumn we wanted to highlight some of her exhibitions which you may want to attend and see her work for yourself.

    For Nordophiles with an interest in art or the landscape of the Nordic lands these exhibitions may be of interest to you.

     

    Photo credit; Åsa Höjer

    She has been selected as a finalist for the National Open Art Prize 2015 and her painting Dark House will be hung in the subsequent exhibition of finalists at the Royal College of Art in London, starting in late October.

    Ange’s new painting Semblance has also been selected to hang in the 163rd Royal West of England Academy Autumn Open competition exhibition in Bristol which has opened in the last few days.

    NOA 2015 EXHIBITION at THE ROYAL COLLEGE OF ART
    21 October to 1 November 2015
    Monday to Saturday – 10am to 6pm
    Sunday 11am to 4pm

     

    My paintings are inspired by the lakes, forests and skies of a vast Swedish landscape and a very particular and illuminating Nordic light. I paint often remote and unpeopled wilderness. These paintings plot points on a journey; be it a physical or emotional one. As if I were looking for a map to navigate my way through this landscape, I let the act of painting lead me. I give myself up to the chaotic and emotional journey, compelling and uncertain.

    Red barns and homesteads; sharp and crackling branches lash against smooth snow with long red shadows and fierce pink skies.Hot lupins, dark pines, slippery, dripping lakes and quiet fires. Distant echoes of the groaning, warping and thumping of a lake trapped under ice.

    This is a land that becomes something closer to a scene from ancient myth or folklore, where the imagination runs away and the uncanny resides. Where the real and imagined co-exist and are often difficult to determine from one another. Here you find yourself beginning to believe that the little people of folk tales do come out at twilight.

    I am often enticed by precarious boundaries, where land meets lake and light meets dark. In these unsteady places, you are neither safe nor at risk but feel both at once.

    In the wilderness, I feel vulnerable in the face of nature and that seems rare and unusual in such a convenient world. You learn to respect nature and listen to it. This is both humbling and profound and it forces you to engage with forgotten instincts. I love feeling that intensity, it reminds me of the ancient nature of our evolution which shapes us.

    I work on coloured linens and canvases, leaving vast stretches unpainted, I drip and patch the thin veils and thick strokes of paint together. Colour and form knock, jar and rest against each other, a tangle makes a whole.

    I invite an escape into a kind of utopia, where you can smell freedom and pine in the air, a place I think I know. Yet I nod to the nagging impossibility of it and remind you that good fairy tales have a lesson within them. I tell darker tales and dress them up in the fabric, the costume, of colour and light. 

     

    Ange Mullen-Bryan 2015

    For more information head to angemullenbryan.com

     

     

     

     

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    ‘What’s On’ SATC NYC

  • Sarah Surgey
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  • 1st October 2015
  • Nordophile has been keeping in touch with our friends at the Scandinavian American Theater Company based in New York and wanted to share with you some very important upcoming events which are very much keeping Nordic theatre alive!   Kwasi Osei and Zenzele Cooper from SATC’s Off-Broadway production “Bastards of Strindberg”, photographer Kait Ebinger   […]




    Nordophile has been keeping in touch with our friends at the Scandinavian American Theater Company based in New York and wanted to share with you some very important upcoming events which are very much keeping Nordic theatre alive!

     

    Kwasi Osei and Zenzele Cooper from SATC’s Off-Broadway production “Bastards of Strindberg”, photographer Kait Ebinger

     

    Firstly, we spoke with one of the actors, Christiane Seidel (from Boardwalk Empire) and found out from her what it is like to be part of not only SATC in New York but the Nordic community as well.

     

    Photo credit Christopher St. George.

     

    How did you first become involved with SATC?

    As a half-Dane, I had excitedly been following SATC for a while and was quite impressed with their consistent body of work, especially since the company had only been around for a couple of years. While I was shooting Boardwalk Empire, our casting director Meredith Tucker had asked me if I could recommend any Norwegian men for a role she was casting. I reached out to Albert Bendix, SATC’s Co-Artistic Director and a fellow Dane, to see if he had any suggestions and we ended up meeting for coffee. We hit it off, kept in touch and this spring SATC reached out to me if I was interested in possibly becoming a member. Because this company doesn’t mess around, I even had to come in for an interview (a very nice one with coffee and Scandinavian cookies) with the entire company. Albert even skyped in from Denmark as he was on tour. Somehow I was able to prove myself worthy and now I’m responsible for Audience and Press Coordination.

     

    Have you seen an equal interest by both the Nordic and New York audience?

    Absolutely. SATC has a large audience following our productions, our SATContemporary Reading Series, and on our social media. For example, we have approximately 80-100 audience members per reading and that includes all ages of Scandinavians, Americans with Scandinavian roots, and Americans with an interest in new Nordic theater and contemporary culture.

     

    Rikke Lylloff and Albert Bendix from SATC’s Off-Broadway production “Bastards of Strindberg”, photographer Kait Ebinger

     

    Nordic eateries are popping up all over New York and the attendance to exhibitions by Nordic artists is high. Do you feel Nordic drama productions is on the same level of acceptance?

    There is definitely a surge in interest in all things Nordic. Especially, since Scandinavian tv shows like The Killing, The Bridge, or Borgen as well as Scandinavian literature have become widely popular (in their original or their US remakes) and Scandinavian actors like Mads Mikkelsen, Joel Kinnaman, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau or Birgitte Hjort Sørensen are being cast on American tv shows and films. We can feel that this definitely has an effect on the interest in what Scandinavian storytelling looks like on stage. Especially, when we’re inviting some of these actors to join us for readings. However, contemporary Scandinavian plays and playwrights are still relatively unknown stateside. So with SATC we’re in an exciting position to be able to bring these plays to New York for the first time. In a sense we’re educating the New York audiences about their existence while filling that increasing interest in Scandinavian culture. There are so many edgy, interesting, and widely different plays that are a cultural representation of what Scandinavia is today. I might be biased, but I definitely feel that we’re approaching the same level of acceptance very fast.

     

    Finally, you are performing a couple of  readings for SATC, can you tell us a bit about what we can expect.

    Our audience is definitely in for a fun (and free!) evening. We’ll have wine, guest actors and we’ll have up-and-coming playwright Marius Leknes Snekkevåg flying in from Norway. Our readings always take place at the beautiful Scandinavia House on Park Avenue. We’ll be presenting two short plays from Marius – one dramatic and one comedic. There’ll be a short Q&A with everyone and usually, we go out for drinks at a nearby bar, which is fun as we get a chance to chat with our audience. Personally, I’m extra excited as this will be my first time performing for SATC.

     

    Readings by

    Marius Leknes Snekkevåg (playwright, reading #1 on Oct 5, Norwegian plays)

    Courtesy of SATC

    Christiane Seidel (actress, reading #1 on Oct 5, Norwegian plays). www.christianeseidel.com

     

    Tomas Lagermand Lundme (playwright, reading #2 on Nov 9, Danish play “The Sauna”).

    Courtesy of SATC

    What’s On

    We’ll be kicking off our upcoming season with a new concept called “Shows in Development”. Here we invite audiences to follow and experience our process of creating an off-Broadway production at an early stage to give our audience the opportunity to ask questions and bring their thoughts to the table. The first show in development is titled “The Remember Me Project” and our first audience interaction will be on Sept 21, 2015 at 7:30pm with a pre-reception at 7:00pm. The play we’re working on is titled “Remember Me” (original title “Muista minut”) by Finnish writer Minna Nurmelin.

    We’re also continuing with our popular SATContemporary Reading Series. This is the sixth season of the series where we present five staged readings – one from each of the Nordic countries Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden. The readings are one-night-only events, free to the public.

    The first reading will be on Oct 5, 2015 presenting two plays by the Norwegian playwright Marius Leknes Snekkevåg: “I Love You, Let Me Go” and “We Are The Voice of Our People”.

    The second reading will be on Nov 9, 2015 introducing Danish playwright Tomas Lagermand Lundme and his play “The Sauna”. For this reading, we’ll also have a guest star (TBA) joining us.

    The dates for the remaining readings are Jan 25, 2016, Feb 29, 2016, and May 2, 2016. We’re currently in the process of deciding on the individual plays.

    All our readings and “Show in Development” projects take place at Scandinavia House (http://www.scandinaviahouse.org/ at 58 Park Avenue, 10016 NYC) at 7:30pm with a 7:00pm pre-reception.

    In 2016, we’ll present the US-premiere of Norwegian playwright Arne Lygre’s play “Then Silence” as an Off-Broadway production.

    Head over to satcnyc.org to find out more
    Featured image Full cast from SATC’s Off-Broadway production “Bastards of Strindberg”, photographer Kait Ebinger
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    Nordophile attends Norwegian Night in Utrecht

  • Guest
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  • 29th September 2015
  • A Nordic fairytale in…Utrecht? As a Dutch copywriter – editor – journalist I don’t usually write in English, but when Nordophile’s Sarah Surgey – whom I ‘met’ on Instagram – asked me to cover the Nordic Delight Festival in my hometown Utrecht I thought: why not give it a try! The undiscovered culture of Northern […]




    A Nordic fairytale in…Utrecht?

    As a Dutch copywriter – editor – journalist I don’t usually write in English, but when Nordophile’s Sarah Surgey – whom I ‘met’ on Instagram – asked me to cover the Nordic Delight Festival in my hometown Utrecht I thought: why not give it a try! The undiscovered culture of Northern Europe brought to an innovating local music venue in the centre of a historical university town. It might be a positive new experience to a middle-aged guy (54) like me, normally covering city development and architecture. Well…I can tell you now, it was an experience more than worthwhile.

    Utsolgt’

     

     

    Not only did the unexpected request from Nordophile’s Sarah Surgey to cover the Nordic Delight Festival trigger my interest, I was also intrigued as to the fact that the festival at first did not get any attention in what’s called ‘Uitagenda Utrecht’, which claims to give full insight in cultural events across the city. Woud this affect the success of this relatively small festival, still unknown to many? Probably not, with around 300 visitors the 2014 edition in EKKO was ‘utsolgt’, Norwegian for sold out! Not a mainstream festival, Nordic Delight isn’t the first that brings high-caliber performers to the picturesque city of Utrecht. Until recently it was Summer Darkness that turned Utrecht gothic-black in a more than special gathering of spirits once every year since 2003. And November this year it’s Le Guess Who? that again welcomes international upcoming bands and artists as well as international visitors. The initiative for a Nordic Delight Festival in Utrecht started in 2013. Founding fathers Arne Dee and Ad Pontier successfully organized two festivals and several events in Utrecht since then, always focused on Scandinavian music and culture. This September 26 Nordic Delight again offered a chance to experience the most talented upcoming music acts, from Norway this time, for the first time in the Netherlands.

     

    DSC_7247

     

    Getting tuned

    Not being much of a Nordophile myself the complete line up was unknown to me. Live performances by Fay Wildhagen, Emilie Nicolas and Bloody Beach, names that did not ring any bells to me. Then again, set to play their first shows in the Netherlands it would probably also be a first acquaintance to many. I decided to check them out before visiting the festival and doing so l had to adjust all of my (somewhat mainstream) musicality to tune into the styles of music they represented. In that way, and perhaps in many ways, covering Nordic Delight promised to be like discovering an entirely new world. Seeing some YouTube vids of the young but already eccentric Emilie Nicolas for instance, made it clear to me that she could bewilder me even more performing live at our local music venue EKKO, famous for its widely renewing agenda. Nicolas’ enchanting, melancholy and sometimes ecstatic songs made one shiver inside. ‘Amazing work on sound, vocals, electro-pop arrangements and a great richness of colours, true emotion and sensibility’ someone strikingly defined her music. For instance ‘Psterio‘ from her 2014 debut album ‘Like I’m a warrior’ (released in the Netherlands June this year) brought Northern Europe straight into my living room the way only Volvo did before with their ‘Made by Sweden’ campaign.

     

     

    Different dimensions

    Besides prizewinning Nicolas, without any doubt the most famous act in the Nordic Delight line up, the other acts deserve some special attention as well. Fay Wildhagen, the young singer-songwriter and guitarist with her impressive band brings songs with an organic mix of folk, rock and other genres. Straight from the heart and with a wide range of emotions, from small and modest, melancholy at times (as in this beautiful song), too loud and extrovert. Not always easy listening but pure, intense and very vivid. Her promising debut album ‘Snow’ was recently released in the Netherlands. And then there’s the five-piece band Bloody Beach with their self-proclaimed ‘tropidelica’, a colourful and warm cocktail of rock, psychedelia, dub, afrobeat, disco, punk, reggae and pop. Awaiting their final breakthrough with the release of their second album next year, performing at Nordic Delight might warm us up for what’s to come. But it’s not only the main acts that draw attention. The program contains music, a wonderful selection of short films and a Norwegian dinner. So, hungry in many ways, I headed for EKKO on this Saturday night.

    Stunning and ecstatic

    There I was in the midst of a mostly young, alternative audience that at first seemed to be more in place. The atmosphere was relaxed and friendly and obviously everyone was curious for what the night would bring. None of us, however, seemed prepared for the impact of this evening. Where the sit down Norwegian dinner appeared to be reserved for other limited guests and was not open for all of the media, I arrived just before the stage opened at 20.00 hours. With the short films and musical performances programmed at the same time, for me it was more than logical to focus on music this evening and I’m glad I did. Almost traditional at times it was the stunning and sometimes ecstatic performance of the beautiful Emilie Nicolas and her impressive band that brought up a variety of emotions to probably every single visitor this night. What can one say about an overwhelming first acquaintance with this group of very modest young artists that in my opinion deserve a world stage. I’m convinced we’re gonna hear more of them soon…

     

     

    A warm embrace

    Also impressive was the first Dutch performance of the somewhat unordinary but charming Fay Wildhagen and band. Don’t ask me why, but to be honest, I was not expecting them to be as convincing as they were this evening. I was wrong there! Coming in from Hamburg/Germany, where she and Emilie Nicolas performed the night before at Reeperbahn Festival, Wildhagen rocked the house in many ways. Modest and fragile, folky at times and then up-tempo, loud and strong with a great sense of musicality and impressive guitar playing by Wildhagen herself. It felt like a warm embrace with this talented and promising young artist. And then, closing up Nordic Delight, there was Bloody Beach that finally made the audience move with their down to earth mix of music styles. In many ways a somewhat peace loving hippie style, dreamy rock perhaps, rather than the heavy metal appearance they seem to have. They did great on stage and knew how to take the house along with their infectious music.

    Catching up

    Looking back on the overwhelming experience that Nordic Delight was, it seems I’ve been missing out on the fast growing interest in Nordic culture. Working on this article, for instance, I discovered NordicVibes.com, a Dutch version of Nordophile.com which is, to my surprise, based in Utrecht. So without any doubt I’ve got some catching up to do and writing this article might be just the start of that!

    Maurice Hengevel Twitter 

    All photos credited to Wim Pontier

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    Norwegian/British band – Sun Up

  • Sarah Surgey
  • Tagged , , , , , 1 Comment
  • 24th September 2015
  • Nordophile is always on the lookout to bring you fresh Nordic music sounds which are creating ripples on the music scene. Occasionally known for its darker melancholy sounds running alongside with upbeat electronic pop, the acts coming out of the Nordics are certainly welcomed in countries fixated on the Nordic genre right now. We were […]




    Nordophile is always on the lookout to bring you fresh Nordic music sounds which are creating ripples on the music scene. Occasionally known for its darker melancholy sounds running alongside with upbeat electronic pop, the acts coming out of the Nordics are certainly welcomed in countries fixated on the Nordic genre right now.

    We were very excited to learn about a London/Norway mixed band called ‘Sun Up’ and wanted to find out more about this group whose track has been shared on Soundcloud this week.

    Listen to the ethereal dreamy voice from Frøydis Erås backed by upbeat pop music.

     

    Frøydis Erås – Voice
    John de Smet – Keys, Samples & Voice
    Maxim Fernandez – Guitar
    Howard de Smet – Bass
    Andrew Lusher – Drums, Samples & Voice

    If you tipped a scoop of Scandinavian snow, a handful of Hackney muck, and five friends in a blender, you’d get Sun Up, a new electro-speckled pop band hailing from Norway and London. Led by frontwoman Frøydis Erås, this five-piece uniquely weave together the introspective quirk of rural Scandinavia with the Technicolor clatter of metropolitan life.

    Sun Up’s first track ‘Machines’, a bedroom demo recorded and uploaded with minimal fanfare, immediately caught the attention of music tastemaker blogs such as Crack In The Road, Breaking More Waves and Gold Flake Paint.

    At their third ever gig, Sun Up were spotted by veteran booking agent Dave Chumbley at Primary Talent (Lana Del Rey, Alt-J, Wolf Alice) and spent the remainder of the year supporting the likes of Childhood, The Joy Formidable, and Phoria.

    Sun Up’s official debut track ‘Anchors’ is the crystallization of the band’s distinctive Anglo-Scandi DNA. Recorded during the pre-dawn hours of studio downtime by up-and-coming producer Neil Tollitt (Låpsley, Swim Deep, Pussy Riot), ‘Anchors’ is a glittering pop Trojan Horse hiding a bleak, broken heart.

    ‘Bursting with joy but tinged with something that sits between desire and the crushing weight of regret… understated brilliance’ – Gold Flake Paint

    ‘One of our new favourite voices… it took us just twenty-five seconds to fall in love’ – Breaking More Waves

    ‘Fantastic… Sun Up are well worth keeping an eye on’ – Crack In The Road

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