The Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra have announced that their relationship with Chief Conductor Edward Gardner is to continue until summer 2023, extending his current contract by two years.
Since taking up the role of Chief Conductor in October 2015, Edward Gardner has continued developing the orchestra’s sound and international profile, with seven international tours to date which have included an acclaimed performance of Peter Grimes at the Edinburgh International Festival in 2017 and concerts at the BBC Proms and Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie in 2018. The partnership has also resulted in 10 acclaimed recordings, including Schönberg’s Gurrelieder, Bartók’s Bluebeard, three Janáček recordings including the Glagolitic Mass (Grammy nominated), Grieg’s Piano Concerto and Peer Gynt, and Berlioz’s monumental Grande Messe des Morts.
The orchestra’s CEO Bernt E. Bauge commented on the extension: “I am thrilled that Edward Gardner will continue as Chief Conductor for the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra for another two-year period from 2021 to 2023. Edward has been a great success for us. As Chief Conductor he has to a remarkable extent developed the orchestra’s repertoire, artistic level and profile, which has opened up for increased listening experiences for a greater audience. The fact that his engagement now is extended until 2023 gives us security and great potential for further growth. The fact that Bergen’s and Norway’s foremost arts benefactor, Mr Trond Mohn, also understands the importance of this by supporting the re-engagement, says a lot about the pivotal position the orchestra enjoys in Bergen and in the musical life of Norway”.
“I’m thrilled to have renewed my contract in Bergen” Edward Gardner commented. “I come for each new project with renewed energy and enthusiasm and I find the trust and commitment of the orchestra and choruses grows with every week. I feel with our concerts here, tours and recordings we are in the middle of very important work, and I’m so happy we can plan into the far distance!”
In November, Gardner and the orchestra will return to Britten’s Peter Grimes, with semi-staged performances in Bergen’s Grieg Hall (21 November), Oslo Opera House (23 November) and, for the first time, London’s Royal Festival Hall (30 November). The work arrives in London following its acclaimed performance at the Edinburgh International Festival in 2017 and will once again feature Stuart Skelton in the title role. The opera will also be recorded in Bergen for a Chandos release in 2020.
The orchestra’s 2019-20 season in Bergen opened with Mahler’s ‘Resurrection’ Symphony with soloists Miah Persson and Lise Davidsen on 5th September, and continues with a Brahms Festival on 16-17 October which will include the composer’s Symphony No.2 and 4, the Tragic Ouverture, and the Double Concerto. Further season highlights include Sibelius’s Violin Concerto with James Ehnes in February 2020 as well as contemporary Norwegian works and the Norwegian premiere of John Adams’s Harmonium as part of the orchestra’s NEXT STEP series, which sees the orchestra sharing the stage with researchers from the University of Bergen to examine topics such as space, oceans, climate and being human. All concerts are streamed on the orchestra’s BergenPhilLive service. International touring plans include performances in China and South Korea in 2020.