Norwegian artist and writer Jenny Hval has developed her distinct take on intimate sound since the release of her debut album in 2006. For her last two solo albums, Innocence Is Kinky and Apocalypse, girl, she has received thoughtful and widespread international acclaim for her fascinating voice and non-traditional arrangements which incorporate elements of poetry, prose writing, performance art, and film. The New York Times defines her writing as “taking a scalpel to the subjects of gender politics and sexuality.”
Now Jenny Hval is back with a new album, on which she again is collaborating with producer Lasse Marhaug. At Ultima she will perform music from the forthcoming album Blood Bitch, for the first time in Norway.
Jenny Hval: Blood Bitch
14 September, 9 pm
Tickets available now! (NOK 200/100)
“Blood Bitch is my most fictional and personal album yet. It is an investigation of blood. The purest and most powerful, yet most trivial, and most terrifying blood: Menstruation. The white and red toilet roll chain which ties together the virgins, the whores, the mothers, the witches, the dreamers, and the lovers.
It’s also the first album where I’ve started reconnecting with the goth and metal scene I started out playing in many years ago, by remembering the drony qualities of Norwegian Black Metal. It’s an album of vampires, lunar cycles, sticky choruses, and the smell of warm leaves and winter.”
Jenny Hval on Blood Bitch
Ultima at l’Auditori
Ultima Oslo Contemporary Music Festival is Scandinavia’s largest contemporary music festival and a key arena for contemporary music and related art forms in the Nordic region. The festival is organized as a foundation comprising seventeen of the most influential art institutions and organizations in Norway.
Ultima festival is truly grateful for the opportunity to make this project possible with Oslo Sinfonietta in Barcelona on May 21 in collaboration with l’Auditori and the Sampler Series. The interest for Norwegian contemporary music is huge internationally. In recent years, Ultima has arranged events including New York in collaboration with Issue Project Room and MATA Festival, and at the Nordic Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2015 in cooperation with OCA.
One of the festival’s founding members is Oslo Sinfonietta. The ensemble comprises leading musicians and members from some of Norway’s most prominent orchestras. Oslo Sinfonietta has since 1993 been under leadership of artistic director and chief conductor Christian Eggen. He is one of the Nordic countries most prominent conductors.
At this concert the highly acclaimed ensemble will perform music from Scandinavia, including two world premieres:
Raquel García-Tomás: Blind Contours no. 1 (WP)
Øyvind Torvund: Forest Construction
Ragnhild Berstad: xtendõ (work in progress) (WP)
Bent Sørensen: Sirenengesang
Conductor Christian Eggen. Soloist Silje Aker Johnsen.
The second part of the Ultima Festival at l’Auditori presents a collaboration between Japanese guitarist, turntableist and composer Otomo Yoshihide and one of the most active jazz musicians in the world, Norwegian drummer and percussionist Paal Nilssen-Love.
Life, art, love, the world, weather – all is reflected in renowned Norwegian author Tomas Espedal’s forthcoming book Året (The Year). Danish composer Bent Sørensen has always wanted to write a piece of music about the seasons. The sound of their combined ‘two years’ – including readings, speech, singing and humming – creates music. POING’s music binds the year together. Fragments of the text will be read by Tomas Espedal.
A recurring theme in Danish composer Bent Sørensen’s music is the world’s and nature’s transience and degeneration. Sørensen received the Nordic Council Music Prize in 1996.
Since his debut in 1988, author Tomas Espedal has published 12 books. His work has been published in 18 countries.
POING consists of Rolf-Erik Nystrøm on saxophone, Frode Haltli on accordion and Håkon Thelin on bass. They are among the premier performers in their field worldwide.
De fire årstider (Four Seasons)
Friday 9 September, 6 pm
Tickets (NOK 200/100) available now
Performed in Norwegian. Produced by Ultima.
La Monte Young: The Second Dream of the High-Tension Line Stepdown Transformer
The theatre of eternal music brass ensemble
Born in 1935 in a small town in Idaho, La Monte Young started music as a jazz saxophonist and went on to study counterpoint and composition under Leonard Stein. Despite having produced a notoriously small quantity of recorded output throughout his career, he has been described as the most influential living composer today, and “an utterly profound effect on the last half-century of music.”
The now 80 year old Godfather of minimalism has inspired Terry Riley, Steve Reich and Philip Glass. Influenced by traditional Indian music and his childhood sound-scape (wind in the plain-grass, crickets and cicada, electric transformers, etc.), his research eventually took him into the world of drone music with it’s long, sustained sounds. This is particularly clear in his pivotal work Trio for Strings (1958), which went on to greatly influence Terry Riley. In the ’60s he played with among others John Cale, who later co-founded the Velvet Underground, which makes La Monte Young a source for nearly every alternative-rock band. His experiments with extreme volume and repetition point right at My Bloody Valentine. And Brian Eno, who called Young “the daddy of us all,” spun Young’s long tones into ambient music.
At the concert in Kulturkirken Jakob brass ensemble The theater of eternal music brass ensemble (with musicians from Ensemble Musikfabrik) will perform La Monte Young’s legendary The Second Dream of the High – Tension Line Step Down Transformer.
Co produced by Marco Blaauw.
One night only.
Saturday 10 September, 9 pm
Since 2014 Ratkje has been collaborating with the avant-garde vocal ensemble to create a work in progress called Ekkokammer (in English: Echo Chamber). This has resulted in two editions so far, Ekkokammer 1.0 and Ekkokammer 2.0.
“To use the voice as a musical instrument is a complex affair. To literally find your voice, is by nature different than practicing an instrument. Vocal performers must also deal with the aspects of the singer role. Ekkokammer 2.0 investigates what it means to be a singer and questions what it means to physically have a voice and what we want to express with it.”
Maja. S. K. Ratkje
The piece highlights the choices and experiences that shape professional and highly personal voices, such as the ones in Trondheim Voices. Ekkokammer 2.0 is based on the singers’ own experiences. All lines are from transcripts of interviews done with the singers in private.
Maja S. K. Ratkje and Trondheim Voices
Kulturkirken Jakob, 9 pm
Tickets (NOK 200/100) available now!
Concept, direction, screenplay and composition: Maja Solveig Kjelstrup Ratkje
Music: Maja S. K. Ratkje / Trondheim Voices, ” Moonlight Shadow” by Mike Oldfield, “Searching” by Mia Marlen Berg, ” Bruremarsj fra Gudbrandsdalen” (trad.) arranged by Øistein Sommerfeldt, “Working on a building” (trad.) and quotes.
Sound: Asle Karstad
Light: Ingrid Skanke Høsøien
Producer: Carl Martin Faurby
Artistic director for Trondheim Voices: Siri Gjære
Duration: 60 min.
Now in its eighteenth year, MATA is New York’s leading showcase for talented young composers from around the world. After an opening-night concert reception at the Paula Cooper gallery, the first formal program, Ultima Thule, takes place at Scandinavia House, courtesy of Ensemble Neon, from Norway.
MATA’s annual Festival of New Music provides the opportunity for New Yorkers to hear music by a cross-section of the world’s foremost emerging composers, regardless of their stylistic or aesthetic leanings, in performance by new music specialists from around the globe.
MATA is America’s leading festival of new music and unique among presenters worldwide in limiting their programming to the music early career composers. For the 2016 Festival they received submissions from 1157 composers from 79 countries, making a performance on the MATA Festival the world’s most sought-after opportunity for early career composers.
Selected works have been paired with performers and ensembles from around the globe. Fresh from Norway, Ensemble neoN makes its American debut in a vivacious program of a wide range of works, including works by Norwegian composers Jan Martin Smørdal and Therese Birkelund Ulvo on three of the festival’s five days.
In collaboration with the Royal Norwegian Consulate General in New York.
Complete List of Performances by Ensemble neoN at the 2016 MATA Festival:
Opening Night Concert-Reception
Paula Cooper Gallery
Jan St. Werner: Kroque AF arranged by Ensemble neoN (2016) 10’ (World Premiere)
Ensemble neoN at Scandinavia House
Alexander Kaiser: [ˈprɪz(ə)m] (2014) (American Premiere)
Matthew Welch: Comala’s Song (2016) (WP) [co-commission with Ultima Festival]
Sean Clancy: Fourteen minutes of music on the subject of greeting cards (2013) (AP)
Neil Luck: Bubbles (2009/16) (WP Revised Version)
Diego Jimenez Tamame Don’t Condescend [Don’t Even Disagree] (2014) (AP)
Jan Martin Smørdal: All Play (2014/16) (AP)
Ensemble neoN, The Rhythm Method String Quartet and friends at Dixon Place
Emma O’Halloran: Cages (2013) (AP)
Helen Papioannou: Splinter (2016) (WP) [commissioned by MATA]
Ophir Ilzetszki: Spotlight (2013) (AP)
Therese Birkelund Ulvo: Silent Song (2008) (AP)
Most beautiful books of the year 2016: Award to NODE Berlin Oslo for Ultima 25 – A Celebration, published to commemorate Ultima Festival’s 25th anniversary celebrations in 2015
The American composer and minimalist Terry Riley‘s music is known for a wide audience through Grand Theft Auto IV, the radio series of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and as The Who’s most important inspiration.
We are proud and happy to welcome the 80 year old legend to our closing concert in September.
On the concert at Rockefeller Music Hall, Terry Riley and his son Gyan Riley will perform as a duo. In addition The Norwegian Radio Orchestra will perform a complex program consisting of among other works, the phenomenal In C.
Saturday September 17. Concert starts at 8 pm.
PURCHASE YOUR TICKETS (NOK 350/250) HERE.
In C was composed by Riley in 1964 for an indefinite number of performers. The work consists of 53 short, numbered musical phrases where each phrase may be repeated an arbitrary number of times. Each musician has control over which phrase they play: players are encouraged to play the phrases starting at different times, even if they are playing the same phrase. In C has no set duration; performances can last as little as fifteen minutes or as long as several hours, although Riley indicates “performances normally average between 45 minutes and an hour and a half.” The number of performers may also vary between any two performances.
More on “The visionary musician, improviser and creative-consciousness-expander who is Terry Riley” by Tom Service in The Guardian.
We congratulate Rolf Wallin with the premiere of Elysium at The Norwegian National Opera & Ballet, and the good reviews! Financial Times describes the work as “a triumph for Oslo”. Make sure to experience the performance before 2 April.
Rolf Wallin‘s next major project is the opening of Ultima in Oslo City Hall on Thursday 8 September at 7 pm.
The composer is looking forward to the Ultima project. The new work, which is created in collaboration with Heine Avdal and Yukiko Shinozaki/fieldworks, is according to Wallin “a kind of ritual”:
“- Motion is central in this piece. Dancers and musicians, stage design and the crowd will be moving around the room during the concert. In addition, the voices and music itself will be moving, as a kind of extension of the trans-human elements in Elysium.”
NB! Free entrance, but the audience must have a ticket. Tickets will be available at Ticketmaster/Billettservice soon.
More information to come.
- Do projects that are necessary, where something valuable is at stake. If it’s not necessary, don’t do it.
- Be relevant. The question of relevance is the question of musical quality. Good music is relevant, and the continuous discussion of the idea of quality in music is the core of a festivals activity.
- Don’t be afraid of uncertainty. Question everything.
- Be laboratory and guardian of memory (Obrist). Experiencing music is to connect the past to the future through the present.
- Establish a conversation and develop practises to connect with the world. Investigate, re-new and engage with your surroundings.
- Be a place for open encounters. Initiate collaboration. Focus on people. Celebrate humanity.
- Work together. Be generous. Receive, share and develop knowledge.
- Be humble, but not afraid.
- Say it simple. Accept change as inevitable. Smile (Fischli/Weiss).
- Don’t be self-conscious and try not to be an asshole. We are all in it together.
Lars Petter Hagen
Artistic Director of Ultima Oslo Contemporary Music Festival
In collaboration with the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, Ultima presents two radical and relevant works: Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in D minor, op. 125.*, and Trond Reinholdtsen’s piano concerto.
[Beethoven’s Ninth, here in the legendary scene from Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange. Of the countless films that have borrowed from this symphony, few are more strongly associated with the work than this controversial, Oscar-nominated 1971 cult classic.]
In its time many saw it as the final proof that Beethoven had lost his senses. A work that was practically impossible to perform, both on account of its extreme technical demands on the musicians, and it’s insane, megalomaniac dimensions. Many found themselves provoked by the utopian, humanistic idealism of Friedrich Schiller’s text. Nevertheless, Beethoven’s ninth symphony is today considered to be the most central work in the history of Western music.
A ringing example of social change and political reform. Used and abused by the powers-that-be in countless contexts throughout history, depending on whether they found it desirable that all men should be brothers, or that all non-brothers should be exterminated.
The last movement, a contrapuntal ecstasy, is understood to represent Beethoven’s notion of the kind of world he wanted to live in. An image of humanity in which individuals are glued to each other, not to generals or religious leaders. Beethoven’s late pieces are seen by many as the starting point, the basis of modernism itself, in which the essential idea was that you have to change things in order to preserve them.
Music can be seen as a continual dialogue between past, present and future, and Ultima is placed right at the centre of this debate.
NB! *Tickets for Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 in D minor, op. 125 with the Oslo Philharmonic under direction of Vasily Petrenko in Oslo Concert Hall September 11 September, will be available from May 10 at Ticketmaster.
Trond Reinholdtsen: Piano Concerto
Maoist activism, depressive exhaustion, reservation about new technologies and total isolation from the public sphere: Trond Reinholdtsen’s new piano concerto – working title Theory of the Subject – asks questions such as ‘the rise of individualism judges everyone to be soloists and the collective has become a utopia’. Cathrine Winnes, conductor. Ellen Ugelvik, piano.
Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony is a red thread running through the festival programme for 2016. The full line-up will be announced in July.
We have moved into our new fantastic premises at Sentralen! Watch the video from the housewarming party with happy, grateful tenants, house administration and prominent guests here.
Sentralen – Oslo’s new venue for culture and innovation houses practice rooms and performance spaces as well as meeting and conference rooms. It’s situated on Øvre Slottsgate 3 in the distinguished former headquarters of Christiania Sparebank (Savings Bank). The building houses 350 workers, 5 concert venues, 3 rehearsal rooms, a restaurant and more.
1 March 2016 marks the official opening of Sentralen – Oslo’s new arts centre and hangout in fantastic new premises. The venue for culture and innovation houses practice rooms and performance spaces as well as meeting and conference rooms. It’s situated on Øvre Slottsgate in the distinguished former headquarters of Christiania Sparebank (Savings Bank).
Sentralen will be occupied by approximately 300 people, divided among 95 organisations. Ultima Festival is one of them.
The building opens on 1 March with office space for 350 workers, 5 concert venues, 3 rehearsal rooms, a restaurant and more. The public opening parties are on 5 and 6 March.
Read more about the story behind the refurbishment and the new Sentralen in Aftenposten, here.
Happy new year to all festivalgoers!
Today we received the wonderful news from the Royal Palace in Oslo that HRH the Crown Prince of Norway has extended his royal patronage of Ultima Festival until the end of 2020.
The Crown Prince has been Ultima’s royal patron since 2006, and has attended many of Ultima’s opening concerts.
We are delighted that his support has been prolonged and grateful for the Crown Prince’s engagement, curiosity and enthusiasm on behalf of contemporary music.
Photo: Ultimafestivalen / Henrik Beck
Ultima Academy – a series of academic and public lectures, screenings and workshops in parallel with Ultima Oslo Contemporary Music Festival – offers music enthusiasts, professionals and students insight into the connection between contemporary music theory and practice, as well as expanding on the theme of this year’s Ultima Festival.
The theme of this year’s Ultima is ‘On Nature’
How does nature affect art? How does art affect nature? For its 2015 edition, Ultima Academy invites scientists, music researchers and artists to talk about nature and discuss our attitudes to it.
This year Ultima Academy will feature a specially designed Wunderkammer* at Kulturhuset on Youngstorget. Inspired by the Renaissance/Baroque ‘cabinet of curiosities’, this Wunderkammer will consist of unfamiliar objects and sounds created by professional artists and students. It will be open to the public during Ultima, inviting visitors to explore real and imaginary connections between the works presented at the festival and the world of nature and the natural sciences.
* Bizarre, marvelous and mysterious objects, collected by wealthy Europeans on their travels abroad, have attracted attention since the mid-sixteenth century. The Wunderkammer, or ‘cabinet of curiosities’, was typically a contained all manner of artefacts from exotic animals, vegetables, strange figures and mineral specimens, plans for impossible buildings and machines, medical diagrams, pictures and manuscripts describing far-off landscapes.
Participants at Ultima Academy 2015 include: Richard Taruskin, David Toop, Dag Hessen, Cecilie Ore, Wolfgang Ernst, Bruno Laeng, Semir Zeki, Henrik Svensen, Helga-Marie Nordby, Alexander Schubert, Hans-Thies Lehmann, Joanna Bailie, Trond Reinholdtsen, Matthew Shlomowitz, Ole-Henrik Moe et al. Curated by Heloisa Amaral.
The Ulysses project is a European network that promotes and supports new talent in the contemporary music field as well as projects for children and young people. Ulysses was recently awarded an EU grant of €2 million for four years.
Ultima Oslo Contemporary Music Festival is one of fourteen members of the network. As part of this year’s festival we will arrange Ulysses Day in Oslo on 15 September. Ulysses Day gathers all of the members in Oslo to present the project.
The project was preceded by the Ulysses Network Project 2012-16, which cemented the cooperation of the partners and generated ideas for the new project. In Ulysses’s next four year phase the network will continue working with young composers, artists and ensembles and focus on building new audiences and disseminating contemporary classical music.
The network consists of 14 institutions and is coordinated by IRCAM (Institut de Recherche et de Coordination Acoustique Musique). The other partners, alongside Ultima Oslo Contemporary Music Festival, are Aldeburgh Music (UK), Divertimento Ensemble (IT), Eesti Filharmoonia Kammerkoor (EE), Flagey (BE), Fondation Royaumont (FR), Gaudeamus Muziekweek (NL), Institut für Kulturelle Innovationsforschung – new classical e.V. Summer Academy OPUS XXI (DE), Impuls (AT), Internationale Ensemble Modern Akademie (DE), Internationales Musikinstitut Darmstadt (DE), and Time of Music Festival (FI).
Ultima Festival’s programme will be released 31 May.
festival programme and tickets will be released 31 May
Ultima is the premiere contemporary music festival in the Nordic region. The festival became a designated “knutepunkt” (cultural hub) in 2006 and is supported by the Ministry of Culture and Church Affairs and Oslo City Council. Ultima is a foundation with 17 members, all of them professional cultural institutions or organisations.
The festival takes place during September and is staged at venues all around Oslo. Our events are staged both in large, established venues such as the Norwegian National Opera & Ballet, Oslo Concert Hall and the University of Oslo’s Great Hall as well as in small clubs, shop premises, industrial premises, museums, schools and outdoors.
The Ultima Festival aims to promote artistic distinctiveness, trends and innovation and to make music of a high artistic standard accessible by everyone.
His Royal Highness Crown Prince Haakon is the patron of Ultima.
The Ultima Foundation has a council comprising 17 members. Their efforts and contributions make it possible to arrange Ultima and to make it such a successful festival of contemporary music year after year.
The upcoming festival happens 8–17 September 2016.
LARS PETTER HAGEN
M +47 90 60 66 81
TRUDE DOMBESTEIN ELDE
M +47 97 58 43 21
Head of Information
M +47 93 00 93 42
M +47 46 42 55 07
Ultima’s board of directors in 2015:
Odd Gullberg, Chairman of the Board
Henrik Hellstenius, Vice chairman
Svanhild Sørensen, Member
Janne Stang Dahl, Member
Audun Hasti, Member
Svein Ingvoll Pedersen, Substitute
Marianne Beate Kielland, Substitute
Bente Leiknes Thorsen, Substitute
Lars Mørch Finborud, Substitute
|Visit:||Ultima, Øvre Slottsgate 3, N-0157 Oslo|
|Post:||c/o Sentralen, Postboks 183 Sentrum, 0102 Oslo, Norway|
Buy your tickets to concerts at www.billettservice.no
Ordered tickets can be picked up at the post office, ‘Post i butikk’, Narvesen, and 7Eleven.
Single tickets: Please view information about each specific performance.
Full price and discounts (students, elderly, unemployment etc.) is available.
NB! Sold out! Book early, as we expect performances to be sold out. To make sure you get a seat using punch tickets, please arrive ahead of time before the performance begins.
We need talented, enthusiastic volunteers to help with production, marketing, tickets sales, assisting at the venues and other odd jobs before and during the festival. Are you interested in being a volunteer?
Are you interested in hearing more about sponsoring opportunities? Contact us at email@example.com.
If you would like to make an artistic contribution to Ultima, submit your programme ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org. We usually receive a large number of program ideas, so please bear with us if it takes time before you receive a reply.
Ultima is supported by: