Lofoten International Chamber Music Festival

Lofoten International Chamber Music Festival aims to bring a varied program of chamber music – performed by international artists at a high level – to the whole of Lofoten.

Lofoten International Chamber Music Festival saw its light in 2004 as Norway’s northernmost festival for chamber music. Through its over 15 years, the festival has established itself as an institution in the region with its annual festivals. With its high artistic level, the festival has also made a name for itself internationally.

In 2014, the Lofoten Piano Festival opened for the first time – a daughter festival of the Lofoten International Chamber Music Festival. The festivals are now held every other year. In addition, a number of smaller classical concerts are arranged throughout the year in Lofoten.

Read more about the upcoming festival here.

Over 15 years in Lofoten

With the initiators Knut Kirkesæther and Arvid Engegård at the helm, the Lofoten International Chamber Music Festival was held for the first time in 2004. In 2005, the festival was organized as a foundation with Knut Kirkesæther, Arvid Engegård and Vågan Municipality as founders. The festival is still run with Knut Kirkesæther as general manager and Arvid Engegård as artistic director.

In 2019, the festival celebrated its first 15 years. Her Majesty Queen Sonja was in charge of the official opening of the anniversary. During these years, the festival has also been an important driving force for Lofoten’s 10 grand pianos of the Steinway & Sons brand. Two of these are own by the festival.

Lofoten International Chamber Music Festival is sponsored today by Nordic Last og Buss. The festival receives support from Vågan Municipality, Vestvågøy Municipality, Nordland County Municipalityandthe Cultural Council.

Arvid Engegård Arve Tellefsen

Varied program with international artists

The program is tailored for each festival with both breadth and variety – of the best quality. The festival invites approx. 15-20 international artists, quartets, ensembles and orchestras. These are the starting point for the festival’s approx. 15-20 concerts.

Apart from the opening concert and the final concert – which are set up as larger festival concerts – two full concerts are held every night during the festival. In addition, there are several morning concerts as well as smaller events during the festival.

Read the program history of the festival here.

Concert in midnight sun at Gimsøy

Chamber music throughout Lofoten

Unlike several other international chamber music festivals, Lofoten does not have large concert halls where everything can take place. In addition to Lofoten Concert Hall (Svolvær) and Meieriet Art Center (Leknes), several of Lofoten’s many churches are therefore used. In addition, the festival has arranged several concerts outdoors, including a major concert in Trollfjorden 2015.

In other words, the Lofoten International Chamber Music Festival is for the whole of Lofoten. I tillegg til førsteklasses musikk, er også festivalen en mulighet til å oppleve Lofoten. More and more people are commenting that the journey between the concerts is in itself an important part of the festival.

Matmora at Laukvik in Lofoten

Lofoten – the world’s most beautiful destination

The festival is fortunate to have a large and loyal audience in Lofoten. Gradually, more people have discovered the festival and travelers come from far and wide. More and more foreign travel actors are arranging music trips to the Lofoten International Chamber Music Festival to combine first-class music with the fantastic surroundings.

Several international newspapers and magazines have taken an interest in this. The New York Times, Financial Times and El Pais have all written about the festival.

The festival is experiencing increased demand from foreign travel actors who want to combine the festival’s high international level with the fantastic surroundings.

Read more about Lofoten as a destination by visiting Destination Lofoten and VisitNorway.

Henningsvær from Festvågtinden

Arvid Engegård | artistic director

Arvid Engegård is the artistic director of the Lofoten International Chamber Music Festival. He comes from Bodø, but lives in Oslo today. He was educated in Trondheim, New York and Salzburg, where he had the legendary Sandor Vegh as a teacher.

He has all his life had a special interest in chamber music, and was for 10 years primarius for the Orlando Quartet in Holland.

During the festival’s first edition in 2004, he met musicians that he immediately established in a new quartet, the Engegård Quartet. This ensemble today enjoys international recognition and is in great demand throughout the Nordic region.

Since its establishment, the quartet has been the closest one can call a “house quartet” to the festival, and is always central to the program. Through the establishment of the Oslo Quartet Series, the Engegård Quartet has contributed to the string quartet as an ensemble gaining a fresh lease of life.

Today, Engegård is also a widely used conductor, where he often gets assignments within the Viennese classical repertoire, a repertoire he masters better than anyone else in Norway.

Arvid Engegård