Lofoten International Chamber Music Festival

The aim of the Lofoten International Chamber Music Festival is to bring a varied program of chamber music – performed by international artists at a high level – to the entire Lofoten.

The Lofoten International Chamber Music Festival will be held next time 5 – 10 July 2021.

The Lofoten International Chamber Music Festival saw its light in 2004 as Norway’s northernmost festival for chamber music. Throughout its 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 its mark internationally.

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

Lofoten International Chamber Music Festival
Arvid Engegård Arve Tellefsen

Over 15 years in Lofoten

With the initiators Knut Kirkesæther and Arvid Engegård at the forefront, 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 with its own anniversary festival. Her Majesty Queen Sonja was in charge of the official anniversary opening. Through its first 15 years of chamber music, the festival has also been a strong driver for Lofoten’s total of 10 Steinway & Sons concert pianos. The festival has two of these in its own right.

The Lofoten International Chamber Music Festival is sponsored today by the Kavli Foundation and Nordic Last and Bus. The festival receives support from Vågan municipality, Vestvågøy municipality, Nordland County Council and the Cultural Council.

Varied program with international artists

Since its establishment in 2004, the Lofoten International Chamber Music Festival has aimed to bring a varied program of chamber music – performed by international high-level artists – to the entire Lofoten.

The program is tailored to each festival with both breadth and variety – of the highest 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 arranged as galla concerts – two full concerts are performed every night during the festival. In addition, there are several noon concerts as well as smaller events during the festival.

Concert in midnight sun
Matmora at Laukvik in Lofoten

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 the smaller concert halls in Lofoten Kulturhus (Svolvær) and the Meieriet Art Center (Leknes), however, several of Lofoten’s many churches are used during the festival. Here are also several of Lofoten’s concert pianos. In addition, the festival has organized several concerts outdoors, including a major concert in the Trollfjord 2015.

The Lofoten International Chamber Music Festival is therefore a festival for the whole of Lofoten. In addition to opening up to a larger audience in Lofoten, it also offers more opportunities to experience Lofoten. An increasing number of audience members comment that the journey through Lofoten itself is an important part of the festival.

Although the festival helps with transport, it is recommended to have access to own transport during the festival.

Lofoten – the world’s most beautiful destination

The Lofoten International Chamber Music Festival stands strong in Lofoten with a loyal audience attending events throughout the year. In addition, several international newspapers and magazines have taken an interest in the festival – which is organized in perhaps the world’s most beautiful surroundings.

The New York Times, Financial Times and El Pais have all been writing about the festival.

The festival is therefore experiencing great demand from foreign travel agents and audience members who wish 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 leader

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

He has throughout 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 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.

The quartet has since the establishment been the closest you can call a “festival band” 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 ensemble getting fresh wind in the sails.

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

Arvid Engegård