Musical Norway: Stavanger 2011

Tiny, but busy

“You’d expect one of the busiest festival cities in Europe to be somewhere like Stockholm or Berlin, Paris or London. Not the tiny city of Stavanger…” writes BBC Music Magazine editor, Oliver Condy.
When Truls Mørk, the creator of the ICMF, chose Stavanger as the venue for the festival, a key factor was the setting. The Romano-Gothic cathedral seats 700 people but still manages to give an impression of intimacy. In particular, the late-evening concerts in the cathedral have come to mean something special to both artists and audiences. 
The equally venerable Monastery Church at Utstein, with its acoustics designed for the chanting of mediaeval monks, delights modern musicians. For the closing Gala Concert, the artists themselves decide what works they want to perform, inspired by a week of musical fellowship; for them, the only problem is to limit the programme to four hours.
Truls Mørk wanted to make his festival an oasis for busy musicians. They live together here a whole week in August and form an extended family where they work, eat and have fun together.
And the audience is drawn into that friendly atmosphere. BBC Music Magazine editor, Oliver Condy says:” Waiting for the lift to the top means the audience gets to know each other, creating a sense of community.”  A large team of volunteers keeps the machine running and responds promptly and efficiently to all wishes and requirements.
The violinist Vilde Frang will open the 2011 ICMF on 8 August. The festival will end on 14 August.
[pictured: Stavanger, European Capital of Culture 2008, opening parade]