Lofoten Piano Festival

As a subsidiary of the Lofoten International Chamber Music Festival, the Lofoten Piano Festival aims to bring a varied program with the piano in focus – performed by international high-level artists – to the entire Lofoten.

Unfortunately, the Lofoten Piano Festival 2020 was canceled due to Covid-19. Read more about the cancellation here. The Lofoten Piano Festival will be held next time in 2022.

The Lofoten Piano Festival saw its light in 2014 as Norway’s only piano festival. With the same artistic level as the parent festival, the festival has in a short time become a recognized piano festival among other major European piano festivals.

The Lofoten Piano Festival and the Lofoten International Chamber Music Festival are held every two years.

Lofoten Piano Festival
Steinway in Lofoten

High piano density in Lofoten

When the Lofoten International Chamber Music Festival organized its first festival in 2004, there was not a single concert grand piano in Lofoten. These were therefore picked up outside Lofoten for the festival to be conducted. Already in 2007, the first Steinway & Sons (model D) came to Buksnes Church in Gravdal. Subsequently, the Lofoten Concert Hall (Svolvær), the Meieriet Art Center (Leknes), Lofoten Folkehøyskole and several of Lofoten’s many churches (Svolvær Church, Lofoten Cathedral, Henningsvær Church, Stamsund Church, Borge Church, Reine Church) have received their own instruments of the same brand.

Today, there are a total of 10 concert grand pianos available to the public in Lofoten, all of the Steinway & Sons brand. Two of these are owned by the Lofoten International Chamber Music Festival itself. These are instruments that most professional pianists are used to playing, and which have the same quality as the largest and most famous concert arenas in the world.

Several have commented that Lofoten – with its approx. 25,000 inhabitants – has the world’s highest density of Steinway & Sons concert grand pianos.

Norway’s first piano festival

The high density of concert grand pianos in Lofoten made it quite natural to start a special piano festival. Not least since Norway did not have its own festival with this profile at that time. As a subsidiary of the Lofoten International Chamber Music Festival, the Lofoten Piano Festival has in a short time gained great recognition, also internationally. Just before the opening of the festival in 2018, the magazine Pianist ranked the festival as the third best in Europe, over several large prestigious festivals.

The Lofoten Piano Festival is conducted in much the same way as the Lofoten International Chamber Music Festival. The main difference is the focus on the piano in the program. Here, among other things, there are concerts for up to four concert grand pianos at the same time.

Leif Ove Andsnes in Lofoten

New artistic directors

The Lofoten Piano Festival has no permanent artistic director, unlike the Lofoten International Chamber Music Festival. The first two years it was Jean-Efflam Bavouzet who had the artistic responsibility. In 2018, the festival was under the artistic direction of Bertrand Chamayou. The artistic director of the Lofoten Piano Festival 2020 was the Norwegian pianist Christian Ihle Hadland. Unfortunately, this festival was canceled due to Covid-19.

Christian Ihle Hadland | Artistic Director 2020

Norwegian pianist Christian Ihle Hadland made a serious impact when he was selected in 2011 for the BBC New Generation Artist. In this role he played with all five symphony orchestras belonging to the BBC. His last assignment in this context was to play Beethoven’s second piano concerto with the Oslo Philharmonic during The Proms, the world’s largest music festival directed by the BBC, where all concerts are broadcast live on 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 different recordings he has received two Player’s Awards and been nominated for another.

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

He has since 2010 been artistic director of the Chamber Festival in his hometown of Stavanger.

Christian Ihle Hadland