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

Arvid Engegård, Lofoten International Chamber Music Festival

Arvid Engegård is the artistic director for Lofoten International Chamber Music Festival. He comes from Bodø in the northern part of Norway, but lives in Oslo. He is educated in Trondheim, New York and Salzburg, where he had the legendary Hungarian violist Sandor Vegh as ta eacher.

He has always had a keen interest in the chamber repertoire, and was the primarius in the Orlando Quartet in Amsterdam for ten years.

During the first edition of our festival in 2004, he met musicians who immediately formed a new quartet, The Engegard Quartet.

The quartet rouse quick a huge interest, and was invited too many festivals. After their first recordings, they got a lot of invitations from abroad, and now regularly tour the whole of Europe.

Through the establishment of Oslo Quartet Series, they have created a new interest in the string quartet, and there are now around twenty young quartets only in Oslo.

Engegård is today also a sought after conductor, where he specializes in the classic repertoire.

Christian Ihle Hadland, Lofoten Piano Festival 2020

The Norwegian pianist Christian Ihle Hadland really hit the ground when in 2011 he was elected to the BBC’s “BBC New Generation Artist” venture. In this role, he played with all the five symphony orchestras belonging to the BBC. His last assignment in this context was to play Beethoven’s second piano concert with the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra during The Proms, the world’s largest music festival under the auspices of the BBC, where all concerts are transferred directly to the radio.

His concert debut came with the Norwegian Broadcasting Orchestra when he was 15, and during his career he has played with all Norwegian and most Nordic orchestras.

For various recordings, he has received two player fees and has been nominated for another.

He has on several occasions visited the Lofoten International Chamber Music Festival, among other things during our first edition of the piano festival in 2016 and already the following year in the chamber edition.

Since 2010, he has been the artistic director of the chamber festival in his home town, Stavanger.


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.


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 | +47 913 98 640 |
  • Media and arrangement: Christian Winther Farstad | +47 952 22 640 |
  • Artistic director Lofoten Inernational Chamber Music Festival: Arvid Engegård
  • Artistic director Lofoten Piano Festival 2020: Christian Ihle Hadland



July 6th - 12th | 2020

Artistic leader: Christian Ihle Hadland