Lofoten Kulturhus (opened in 2009), like most other cultural centers, was more expensive than planned, and there was no money for a concert grand piano. At the same time, the cultural center received a gift for the purpose of NOK 300,000 from the Sparebankstiftelsen. There was therefore hope.
Lofoten Kulturhus was discussed during a board meeting of the Lofoten International Chamber Music Festival already in the spring of 2007. There was a great desire to contribute to the process. Managing director Knut Kirkesæther contacted Thron Ihrby again. Steinway Norge had a used Steinway & Sons model D for sale. The price for the instrument was 500,000,-, in other words 200,000,- above what had already been given as a gift.
The board contacted the leader of the building committee in Vågan Municipality, Tommy Steinsvik, with a concrete offer. The festival wanted to take out a loan of 500,000,- to buy the instrument (2007), until the gift from the Sparebankstiftelsen could be paid out. The condition was that the instrument was placed in the Lofoten Cathedral until the concert hall was to be completed in 2009. Tommy Steinsvik agreed with the proposal.
First to the Lofoten Cathedral
The concert hall’s Steinway & Sons arrived at the Lofoten Cathedral just before the festival in 2007 and was taken into use already during the festival’s opening concert 9. July. Here, Arve Tellefsen and the Estonian pianist Kalle Randalu played Grieg’s violin sonata in C minor so that the tears flowed in the audience.
Lofoten Concert Hall opened in May 2009. The Steinway & Sons model D was then moved from the Lofoten Cathedral to be used during the festival’s opening concert 6. July. This was the first classical concert in the hall, and with, among others, Arve Tellefsen on the poster, the hall was sold out with almost 700 in the audience.
Several important contributors
In the final financing of the grand piano, Svolvær Byteater contributed as much as 80,000,-. The then mayor Hugo Bjørnstad also received 100,000 from Olav Thon. The final contribution from Lofoten International Chamber Music Festival was only 20,000,-.
This instrument was 15 years old when it arrived in Lofoten. It had been used both at the Norwegian Academy of Music and in the University’s Hall in Oslo. A total of 50,000,- was therefore collected to replace various wearing parts in 2011. Among all the good and newer grand pianos in Lofoten, the grand piano of the concert hall was the world-famous pianist Marc-André Hamelin’s favorite during the Lofoten Piano Festival 2016.