Last week a press release was sent in connection with our purchase of a new concert grand piano to Svolvær Church. Read about the purchase in the local press:
The board of the Lofoten International Chamber Music Festival recently decided to purchase a concert grand piano of the type Steinway & Sons Model D. This will be the 10th in a row since 2007. The instrument is placed in Svolvær Church where it can be used all year.
– It’s very good that we finally get a world-class concert grand piano in Svolvær Church as well, says a proud Knut Kirkesæther (general manager).
With the concert grand piano at Svolvær Church, there are now as many as 10 Steinway & Sons grand pianos in Lofoten’s churches and concert halls. It is a situation that is unique and has been noticed also by Steinway’s management in Hamburg.
– The piano situation in Lofoten is incomprehensible. I jokingly called it black magic. It is a luxury for our festival not to have to carry around instruments as much as before, and we are totally dependent on instruments at this level to perform our concerts. Svolvær Church is one of the best venues acoustically, and it has been a miss not to be able to have more concerts there, says a happy general manager.
An instrument of the highest quality
Steinway & Sons has become an industry standard when it comes to concert grand piano. They are permanent objects in most major concert halls around the world. This also makes most pianists prefer to play on just these instruments. They know what meets them, as long as they are well maintained. Svolvær Church receives the largest version from Steinway & Sons, a Model D. With its 274 cm, the instrument has the power and fullness to fill large concert halls, and is therefore perfect in a church like the one in Svolvær.
In the video under Christian Ihle Hadland tests the new grand piano in Oslo. As artistic director of the Lofoten Piano Festival 2020, he looks forward to playing the Goldberg variations again during this summer’s festival.
Originally from 1970, the instrument has undergone a complete renovation. Although the instrument appears new, it has been significantly reduced in price. Still, there are several pianists who like the slightly older instruments better, and this period is considered the golden age of Steinway & Sons.
– It was then even allowed with ivory on the keys, which is far better than today’s plastic. This also applies to several of the instruments we now have in Lofoten that we get very good feedback on every summer, says Kirkesæther.
The second concert grand piano of the festival
The instrument in Svolvær Church will be the second in the series owned by the Lofoten International Chamber Music Festival. Previously, the festival owned a similar concert grand piano in Henningsvær Church, which was purchased in 2017. This too is an older model (from 1890) that has been renovated from the inside to the outside. The other concert grand pianos in Lofoten are owned by the premises in which they are located.
– The most important thing for us has been to get more instruments to Lofoten. The resources is primarily a result of a huge commitment from the region. The vast majority of funds are results of collections. Although we have also contributed a little financially to several of these projects, it is extraordinarily good for us to own instruments ourselves. For us, this is a good investment for the festival, but also a great way to give something back to the region and everyone who has stood for us since its inception, says Kirkesæther.
Hope for even more classical music in Svolvær Church
Throughout its 15 years, Lofoten International Chamber Music Festival has performed only a few concerts in Svolvær Church. Going forward, the church will be a regular part of the festival’s main program. But the concert grand piano is available to the municipality’s music scene year-round.
– As perhaps one of the best concert churches in Lofoten, we hope the grand piano can contribute to more activity, even outside our festival, says Christian Winther Farstad, marketing and event manager at the Lofoten International Chamber Music Festival.
The experience with the other instruments is that they not only cover the festival’s needs, but also attract several other concerts, also for people outside Lofoten.
– It is not entirely coincidental that Leif Ove Andsnes chooses Buksnes Church when he arrives in January. He is very excited about this particular instrument that was purchased in 2018. Shortly after, pianist Joachim Carr also comes to Stamsund Church to record the piano there. In addition, the instruments are frequently used by both local and regional musicians who hold small and large concerts, says Farstad.
The new grand piano will be ready in Svolvær Church already before Christmas. The festival’s permanent piano technician comes from Germany to Lofoten in January and adjusts the instrument in relation to new climate and local.
– We must not forget that the church also receives a world-class instrument for worship, weddings and funerals. The only thing we need now is a new organ in Svolvær. When this is in place, Svolvær Church can really become a concert church of the very unique kind – not just for Lofoten, says Farstad with a smile.