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Biography 746 words

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Norwegian violinist Henning Kraggerud is a naturally gifted artist who combines an unusually sweet tone and beauty of expression with impressive virtuosity, drawing audiences and critics alike towards the genuine quality of his playing. Henning is co-Artistic Director of the Risør Festival of Chamber Music, succeeding Leif Ove Andsnes in 2011. In September 2012, Henning took up the post of Artistic Director of the Tromsø Chamber Orchestra. In August 2012, Henning made his debut at the Hollywood Bowl with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, where his performance was hailed by one critic as “the high point of the night. It was Mozart as, one suspects, Mozart himself would have wanted it played”. In February 2012, Henning stepped in at late notice to perform two concertos with the Philharmonia Orchestra under Vasily Petrenko, gaining 5-star praise in the national press. Other highlights include a critically acclaimed debut at the 2010 BBC Proms with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra and a performance with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra at Carnegie Hall in 2009, extolled by one critic as “a breath of fresh air…who knew that Beethoven could be this much fun?” Such is Henning’s exquisite musicianship that he is

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Norwegian violinist Henning Kraggerud is a naturally gifted artist who combines an unusually sweet tone and beauty of expression with impressive virtuosity, drawing audiences and critics alike towards the genuine quality of his playing.

Henning is co-Artistic Director of the Risør Festival of Chamber Music, succeeding Leif Ove Andsnes in 2011. In September 2012, Henning took up the post of Artistic Director of the Tromsø Chamber Orchestra.

In August 2012, Henning made his debut at the Hollywood Bowl with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, where his performance was hailed by one critic as “the high point of the night. It was Mozart as, one suspects, Mozart himself would have wanted it played”. In February 2012, Henning stepped in at late notice to perform two concertos with the Philharmonia Orchestra under Vasily Petrenko, gaining 5-star praise in the national press. Other highlights include a critically acclaimed debut at the 2010 BBC Proms with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra and a performance with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra at Carnegie Hall in 2009, extolled by one critic as “a breath of fresh air…who knew that Beethoven could be this much fun?”

Such is Henning’s exquisite musicianship that he is invited time and time again to many of the world’s most important orchestras, such as the Hallé, Oslo Philharmonic and Toronto and Cincinnati Symphony orchestras to name a few. Similarly, Henning’s collaborative nature earns him the respect of leading conductors with whom he has formed strong connections; examples include Stéphane Denève, Jukka Pekka Saraste, Kwamé Ryan, Thomas Dausgaard, Osmo Vänskä, Paul McCreesh and Nicholas McGegan.

Setting Henning aside from many other violinists of today, and in the spirit of the old masters such as Fritz Kreisler and Eugène Ysaÿe, he composes his own music, performing many of his own works, arrangements and cadenzas in concert. In addition, Henning is an accomplished improviser, a skill which has led him to his most recent CD release entitled “Last Spring”. Released in June 2012 on the ACT label, the disc was the result of a collaboration with Norwegian jazz pianist Bugge Wesseltoft, exploring improvisations on Norwegian folk music. Bringing together classical and jazz elements, this unique recording made a far-reaching impression in the international press, including a 5-star Editor’s Choice from Classical Music Magazine who described it as “beautifully recorded and urgently recommended.” Henning’s impressive discography includes many diverse recordings on the Naxos label; most recently, a disc entitled Nordic Violin Favourites. On the Simax label he has recorded the complete unaccompanied violin sonatas by Ysaÿe, for which he won the prestigious Spellemann CD award. In addition, Henning appeared in a major television and cinema documentary about the Norwegian 19th century violin virtuoso and composer, Ole Bull, released in November 2006 and more recently as an English language version. Henning received the Ole Bull Prize in 2007.

With his strong commitment to chamber music, Henning performs both on violin and viola at the major festivals and venues; recent collaborations have included a ‘Szymanowski Focus’ at London’s Wigmore Hall and New York’s Zankel Hall curated by Piotr Anderszewski, and performances at the Verbier Festival with Joshua Bell, Leonidas Kavakos and Martha Argerich. This season he appears with Imogen Cooper and Adrian Brendel at LSO St Luke’s for the BBC’s chamber concert series.

In June 2010, Henning gave the first performance of the Munch Suite for Solo Violin – a unique concert project consisting of new pieces by fifteen composers around the world. Taking place at the Haugar Vestfold Kunstmuseum in Tønsberg, Norway, as part of the Vestfold International Festival, these pieces were inspired by the works of Edvard Munch and were performed in dialogue with the paintings themselves at an exclusive arts experience.

Born in Oslo in 1973, Henning studied with Camilla Wicks and Emanuel Hurwitz. He is a recipient of Norway's prestigious Grieg Prize and in 2007 was awarded the Sibelius Prize for his interpretations and recording of Sibelius’ music around the world. Henning is a Professor at the Barratt-Due music conservatoire in Oslo, where he play/directs the Oslo Camerata, and in April 2012 was a jury member at the Menuhin Competition in Beijing.

Henning Kraggerud plays on a 1744 Guarneri del Gesu, provided by Dextra Musica AS. This company is founded by Sparebankstiftelsen DNB.

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Reviews

"Henning Kraggerud...must be counted among the world's most interesting and accomplished stars"

Cincinnati Enquirer

"[The Munch Suite is] A wonderful project… Intensity and melancholy rule, as might be expected — but Kraggerud’s playing is so vivid that, paradoxically, the listener is exhilarated."

The Times

"The interaction created by the music and the painting is simply amazing. Henning Kraggerud’s committed, inspired and expressive playing is superb. [His Munch Suite is] certainly one of the most extraordinary CD productions of the year!"

Pizzicato

"Kraggerud looked the part of the heroic virtuoso, and his absolutely secure technique and huge sound delivered an exciting performance… Kraggerud showed himself to be a master of the violin’s darker side, playing with crisp and thrusting brilliance…"

South Florida Classical Review

"Kraggerud[‘s] interpretation [of the Sibelius Violin Concerto] proved to be very special."

The Guardian

"Clearly the master of the challenging technical aspects of the Vivaldi [Four Seasons[, [Kraggerud] was adept, though his phrasing, dynamism and even body language, at making the well-known music into a fresh and exciting experience."

Newport Beach Independent

"…the discovery of the evening was Henning Kraggerud. This young Norwegian has music under his skin. "

Le Temps

"Kraggerud has extraordinary sweetness of tone...his sound always dances as much as it sings."

The Telegraph

"...Kraggerud brought sizzling attack and follow-through as he performed wonders on the finger board..."

The West Australian

"...a great virtuoso..."

The Daily Page

"Kraggerud played the concerto with impeccable intonation and beauty of tone..."

La Scena Musicale

"Henning Kraggerud's charm-filled performance was excellent."

The Guardian

"Henning Kraggerud played with great accomplishment and a wonderful sense of the unexpected."

The Independent

"...style and technique some violinists would only dream of."

Dundee Courier

"[In his recording of all Ysaÿe's Sonatas for Solo Violin] he possesses the interpretative insight to make the music bristle with character and with a powerfully communicative spectrum of expression."

The Telegraph

"The string section of the orchestra is augmented by woodwinds, and these settings sound very natural, as though the [Grieg Violin Sonatas] could have been conceived in this form from the beginning. "

Expedition Audio

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Discography