The Festival experience

Lofoten International Chamber Music Festival and Lofoten Piano Festival, is arranged the second week in July,  alternating every second year. It is the same organisation promoting the two editions, but with different artistic directors.

The chamber edition is since the beginning in 2004 led by the Norwegian violinist and quartet primarius Arvid Engegård, a pupil of the great Sandor Vegh.

The piano edition came in 2014, and the Norwegian pianist Christian Ihle Hadland is artistic director for the edition in 2020.

It came because of the many fine Steinway Concert grands that arrived the islands from 2006 – 2016, something quite unique for such a small, remote region.

With the lack of big halls, the concerts are held in many of the small and very charming churches on several islands. This creates an intimacy, rear in so many other festivals. The sceneries, the ocean and the 24 hour daylight is an essential part of the experience.

Our audience come from all Norway and many parts of the world, and many are very lojal, coming back year after year. This creates a familiar atmosphere.

photo: Tom Selstad
photo: Tom Selstad

Festivalens historie

Lofoten International Chamber Music Festival.
The initiative for a chamber festival came in 2003. Two long time friends and soul mates, the violinist Arvid Engegård and the concert organiser Knut Kirkesæther decided to move on with this plan that went back to the eighties.

When the first artist accepted our invitation, the Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes, the rest was easy, and in the summer of 2004 the first festival took place with 8 concerts and 10 musicians. It was a huge success.

An international level was always our aim, and we are visited by names like Andras Schiff, Leif Ove Andsnes, Ingrid Fliter, Pavel Haas Quartet, Gould Piano Trio, Bertrand Chamayou, Arve Tellefsen, Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, The Danish Quartet, Yulianna Avdeeva, Thomas Bauer (baryton), just to name a few.

In the years of 2010 – 2014 we also had a winter edition.

Each festival present around 15 – 20 artists and 15 – 20 concerts and lectures, and it normally last from Monday to Saturday.

The audience have grown steadily, and we are now visited by several groups from abroad. People find it a splendid opportunity to celebrate great music with some of the most beautiful sceneries in Europe, at a time of the year when the sun is never under the horizon.

Lofoten Piano Festival
The piano is an essential part of the chamber music repertoire, and the pianists are always urged to play some solo. The two editions does not differ much as both has the aim to present the core repertoire in classical music from Bach to present time. But obviously, the piano edition has a greater focus on piano music, solo, four hands, two or even more pianos. Normally we also have a chamber orchestra during the piano edition, allowing us also to present piano concertos. All in all, the piano edition present an even broader repertoire.

The idea of the festival came already in 2010. A bit flabbergasted, we saw Steinway concert grands in all the four biggest islands, and because there is no other piano festival in Norway, we grabbed the idea eagerly.

With 23.000 inhabitants and with a total of nine Steinway pianos, the region of Lofoten is probably unique in the world.

The first edition came in 2014 with Jean-Efflam Bavouzet as artistic director.

The interest for the piano edition is growing strongly, and the edition in 2018 was named the third best in Europe by the English magazine Pianist.

photo: Tom Selstad
photo: Tom Selstad


Our friends association is our warmest supporters and ambassadors. The subscription is 500NoK each year.


  • Early access to the program
  • Early access to the ticket sale
  • Reception with food and drinks before the opening concert with artists, lecturers and staff
  • The possibility of traveling together with other friends to cultural cities in Europe, led by the general manager. Earlier travels have gone to Berlin, Wien and Paris. In 2019 the plan is to go to London around end of August/beginning of September.

Want to join?

Subscription NOK 500.


The festival would not have been a reality without all the volunteers. Through the years we have recruited a network of knowledgeable and engaged volunteers that do almost everything except the music. We appreciate the will and skills that enabling transport of grand pianos, musicians, food, and instruments.


The Kavli Trust owns the Bergen-based Kavli food group, and this ownership provides the basis for its financial support of good causes.

Part of Kavli’s profits are reinvested to strengthen and develop group’s operations, while the remainder benefits research, cultural activites and humanitarian work through the trust.

Allthough the overall amount can vary from year to year, donations from the trust have recently increased substantially.

LINK has proudly received support from The Kavli Trust since 2012.

Total E&P Norge want to give back to the local communities the company is a part of. We select quality projects that can be deveoped further through our support, and we are a proud sponsor of research and culture.

Total E&P Norge has chosen two completely different types of community support; culture and science. Research is important to the energy industry’s development. We are therefore an active sponsor of doctoral programmes, and support these that are relevant both to the company and the industry as a whole.

We have long-standing traditions of sponsoring culture, as it enriches our employees, partners and the local communities we are a part of. We support a number of cultural projects in Norway, from the very north to the southernmost tip.

LINK has proudly received support from Total E&P Norge since 2007, since 2009 as a main sponsor.

Oktaven is a group of firms supporting the Piano Festival

Kjell Uppheim Prosjektutvikling AS


The festival is organized as a foundation where the municipality of Vågan, Knut Kirkesæther (manager) and Arvid Engegård (artistic director) are the founders

Brynjar Tollefsen, (chairman) Jann-Magne Kasteng-Jacobsen (second chairman)  Astrid Lindgaard Olsen, Julie Brattli Steinvik og Christian Winther Farstad . Deputies: Gaute Wahl, Karianne Steen og Eimund Nordberg Kibsgaard.


  • General manager: Knut Kirkesæther  +47 91398640
  • Artistic director chamber edition 2019: Arvid Engegård
  • Artistic director piano edition 2020: Christian Ihle Hadland
  • Media and festival consultant: Christian Winter Farstad:  christian(@)



July 6th - 12th | 2020

Artistic leader: Christian Ihle Hadland