Øyvind Fossheim

1. Violin

−​ We orchestra musicians are a segment of society, with the same big and small dramas happening in our lives as in everyone else’s, but when we are sitting there on stage, the lights dim and the conductor walks on, we have a singular focus − giving it all to those who have come to listen to us. The batteries must then be fully-charged no matter how one feels.

As a child, Øyvind Fossheim attended Trondheim Kommunale Musikkskole in Bispegata 9, right next to the Nidaros Cathedral. There, a solid foundation was laid for becoming a musician:

− I met like-minded people at an early age, and had the opportunity to play chamber music already from the age of ten. This was the great idea of the principal of the school, Kåre Opdal, and it yielded impressive results. There were, and still are, many excellent musicians who come from Trondheim and Trøndelag.

The teacher who made time was a critical factor

When he was twelve, his teacher Svein Hovdkinn got him to join Trondheim Handelstands Forenings Orkester, which Øyvind calls an amateur orchestra in the true sense of the word - an orchestra with a love for music.

− In the beginning I understood next to nothing, but it was a good school, and four-five years later I was the concertmaster of the same orchestra. In addition, I was taking violin lessons at Hovdkinn’s home, often at weekends. We could be playing for two or three hours, only interrupted by pizza and to watch a round of the game. In the period where most teenagers stop what they have been doing for a few years, I believe it was a critical factor that my teacher made time for this and followed me up.

A new crucial step towards the musical profession came when Bjarne Fiskum asked if he wanted to be an assistant at the Music Conservatory in Trøndelag. In the course of what Øyvind had at first considered a year off, the Trondheim Soloists were founded, which he joined together with some of his best friends. He later studied in Oslo with the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra’s concertmaster Magnus Ericsson.

− The goal is reached during the concert

Øyvind has been working in the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra since 1994, and his most important driving factor in being a musician has remained the same throughout his career:

− You practice and practice to be the best possible instrumentalist and musician, but at the end of the day it’s when you are playing the concert that you reach your goal: to play for other people and hopefully touch something within them or affect them somehow in that moment. If that doesn’t happen, you’ve failed.

He elaborates with an analogy from the violin teacher Milan Vitek:

− He once said to me that one is like a flashlight when one stands on stage, and that flashlight has to shine a light on the very last row of the hall. If the batteries are almost empty, the audience will notice, because the light won’t reach all the way. We orchestra musicians are a segment of society, with the same big and small dramas happening in our lives as in everyone else’s, but when we are sitting there on stage, the lights dim and the conductor walks on, we have a singular focus - giving it all to those who have come to listen to us. The batteries must then be fully-charged no matter how one feels.

− Let it all flow in

As a music student, the violinist noticed that he analysed the concerts he heard more than he had done earlier, and that this took away from the experience. Now he tries not to think too much when he attends concerts himself:

− It’s perhaps most important to avoid this before the concert. I think going to a concert with an open mind and without high expectations is a good idea. Then you can just let it all flow in and see what happens to you.

Øyvind’s greatest interest, apart from his family, is chess, which he plays every day.

− Chess is definitely the greatest game ever invented by man, and I don’t think it will ever disappear, in the same way that the greatest composers never will. A natural selection occurs constantly throughout human history, and the biggest and most important events, discoveries and moments will always remain.