Vegard Johnsen

2. Violin Assistant Principal

− There is a very good working environment in the orchestra, and many of my best friends work here. When we in addition play great music and the conductor has a lot to give, it’s a treat going to work!

Vegard Johnsen

Vegard Johnsen was born and grew up in Brumunddal, where his father ran Brumunddal orchestra school.

− From the time when I was a small boy, my father was of the opinion that I should become a musician, and I never opposed him - I have actually never considered any other profession, he says.

− Many of my best friends work here

Later, at Østlandet's Music Conservatory in Oslo, he met some of his most important guides towards the violin profession; the teachers Kåre Sæther and Leif Jørgensen. Both were former violinists in the Oslo Philharmonic, and Vegard joined the orchestra in 1988.

− There is a very good working environment in the orchestra, and many of my best friends work here. When we in addition play great music and the conductor has a lot to give, it’s a treat going to work! Otherwise, it’s very inspiring to go on tour with the orchestra, as it gives us the opportunity to try out new concert arenas and concert halls - and I also like travelling.

He has played thousands of concerts and had many great experiences, but he remembers one particularly well:

− It was the first time I played with Herbert Blomstedt. We played Mahler’s Ninth symphony, and I don’t think I have ever experienced another conductor with such a deep insight into the music. Some of the tours we had with Mariss Jansons to famous concert halls, such as Musikverein in Vienna and Carnegie Hall in New York were also great experiences.

Has taken part in hundreds of recordings

Vegard thinks there is an enormous amount of fantastic music out there, but mentions the works he never tires of:

− All Mahler’s symphonies end up in that category, maybe especially numbers 3, 5 and 9. Bruckner’s final symphonies, numbers 7, 8 and 9, Beethoven’s symphonies, numbers 3, 5 and 7, Brahms’ symphonies, and much more… I’m also very fond of chamber music, especially Beethoven’s string quartets, many of Haydn and Mozart’s quartets and not least Mozart’s string quintets.

The violinist often listens to jazz and pop music, and has taken part in hundreds of recordings in different genres. As a result, he is usually ranked as the most played Norwegian violinist on radio, often one of the top five performers. In 2014 alone, he was played 467 hours on radio!

Vegard plays regularly with a pianist, and is very fond of little pieces or evergreens by Fritz Kreisler and others. When he isn’t playing, he cultivates his interest in literature:

− I often listen to audio books, as then I can do several things at once. I consume everything from Hamsun and Dostoevsky to crime and fantasy. I also like photography.