Ragnar Heyerdahl

2. Violin

− My greatest pleasure in my work as a musician is that the day after a concert there are still always new musical tasks to embark on.

Ragnar Heyerdahl

At the age of nine, Ragnar Heyerdahl was given a dose of encouragement which made him decide to become a musician:

− My violin teacher Herbert Bergene, who played in the Oslo Philharmonic, told me that I had enough talent to become a professional violinist!

Six years later he had the opportunity to experience one of his idols at close range.

− When I was fifteen, the world famous violin virtuoso Isaac Stern came to Oslo, and I was lucky enough to be chosen to play with him on a TV programme. I bought everything I could find of his recordings of well-known violin concertos, and decided that I wanted to play as well as he did.

− There are always new tasks to embark on

Ragnar made his debut as a soloist in a concert with pianist Wolfgang Plagge in 1980, and also performed with the Oslo Philharmonic as a soloist in the following year. Studies in Brussels, Berlin and Budapest followed, and while in the latter he fell in love with Hungarian gypsy music − the music which remains closest to his heart.

He was engaged by the Oslo Philharmonic in 1989. He is also the leader for the gypsy- and klezmer ensemble Sturm und Drang, which twice has played in the big hall of the Berlin Philharmonic.

− My greatest pleasure in my work as a musician is that the day after a concert there are still always new musical tasks to embark on.

Ragnar’s greatest experience as a musician in the Oslo Philharmonic was without a doubt playing concerts with Mariss Jansons in Vienna. For members of the public who seek a good concert experience, he has the following advice:

− Forget the men in tails! Don’t look at the serious ladies in their black dresses! Close your eyes and open your ears, and forget everything else you otherwise like.

− I’ll never forget that conversation

In a taxi in New York, on his way to Carnegie Hall and a concert with the Oslo Philharmonic and Mariss Jansons, Ragnar had a fateful conversation:

− The driver was from Lebanon, and played classical music over his speakers: he said he had discovered classical music through the radio and explained to me with great enthusiasm that he at an adult age had become fascinated by classical music, and he gave a justification for it too: “There are always surprises, variations, exciting transitions…” I’ll never forget that conversation, as it convinced me that even if you’ve never heard Beethoven before, you can still be struck by a musical bomb, whether you’re in Lebanon or in New York.

Otherwise, Ragnar is fond of horses, and is often to be found at the stables at Øvrevoll in his free time.