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.”





    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.



    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