Terje Tønnesen, Concertmaster of the Oslo Philharmonic, leads the orchestra at the National Theatre, one time home to Oslo’s finest orchestra musicians.
Violinist Terje Tønnesen and the Oslo Philharmonic are set to create music and drama when they appear on the main stage of the National Theatre, examining different traditions in interpretation in theatre and music through the ages. Before the Oslo Philharmonic was established in 1919, the National Theatre was home to Oslo’s finest orchestra musicians, led by violinist and conductor Johan Halvorsen. A century later, the centenary anniversary also happens to be Terje Tønnesen’s last season with the orchestra. Concertmaster since 1983, he has had enormous significance for the development of the orchestra. He has put together a programme with music by Lully, Handel, Beethoven, Puccini, Grieg and Halvorsen.
Following sporadic attempts during the second half of the 19th century to establish a symphony orchestra, it was only when the National Theatre opened its doors in 1899, that Oslo was granted what came close to being a permanent orchestra. The National Theatre Orchestra consisted of up to forty-four musicians, and was led by conductor Johan Halvorsen. The unveiling of the new building and the new institution was celebrated by three grand celebratory concerts in September 1899, and opened with a Norwegian Festive Overture, composed by the conductor himself. The National Theatre Orchestra was dissolved during the First World War, but started up again in 1918. However, in 1919 the orchestra was permanently dissolved, and many of its musicians found work in the newly-established Philharmonic Association (The Oslo Philharmonic). A long discussion ensued regarding who should be its first principal conductor. The result was that Johan Halvorsen, Georg Schnéevoigt and Ignaz Neumark shared the task between them.Read more
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