Vasily Petrenko
Photo: Mark McNulty

The Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra which gave its first performance in September 1919, marks its centenary year with a landmark season at home and a major European tour under the direction of Chief Conductor, Vasily Petrenko. The eight-concert tour opens on Sunday 13 October at Cologne’s Philharmonie and unfolds over the following fortnight with visits to, among other leading venues, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw (14 October), the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg (15 October), the Vienna Konzerthaus (16 October) and Turin’s Centro Congressi (20 October). It is set to conclude at the Barbican Centre in London on Tuesday 22 October.

The Oslo Philharmonic’s centenary tour programme celebrates the best of Norway’s musical heritage in the form of Arne Nordheim’s Canzona and Edvard Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A minor, with Leif Ove Andsnes as soloist. It also embraces Richard Strauss’s tone poem Don Juan, performed at the orchestra’s first subscription concert in 1919, Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 10 and Rachmaninov’s Symphony No. 2, compositions drawn from the heart of Vasily Petrenko’s repertoire. The A minor Piano Concerto connects directly with the programme of the orchestra’s debut concert and more broadly with Grieg’s role in creating the institution from which the Oslo Philharmonic developed.

Ingrid Røynesdal, the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra’s Chief Executive Officer, places the centenary tour within a broad context of local, national and international celebrations. The orchestra, she explains, plans to reach diverse audiences across Oslo with performances given from the back of a specially adapted truck. It will also present an open-air concert in front of the Royal Palace for an audience of 20,000 people, and celebrate Norway’s historic commitment to democracy with a campaign devoted to the art of listening.

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