One of my best memories from 2012 is the trip to Arkhangelsk and Naryan Mar, Russia, to perform "Travelling Songs". And this takes me right to the saddest memory - the loss of my close collaborator through almost 20 years, singer Anne-Lise Berntsen. She was the mastermind of this project, so typical for her, that created a meeting between singers and musicians from two countries. Anne-Lise passed away on November 3rd.
We managed to record three CDs together: Engleskyts, Kom Regn and Orkan. Anne-Lise has been such an important catalyst for my creative work, and a rare friend. Rest in peace, beloved voice.
Back home, 2012 saw the grand opening of Stavanger Konserthus. So far, the new house is a success and attracts lots of audience, projects and collaborations. Myself I have been appointed Concert Hall Organist, a position that involves curating the programme for the 65-stop instrument, and taking care of its basic maintenance. Become a friend of the organ on facebook! We are creating a three-day opening festival, ORGELFEST, for 22-24 February 2013. Some informal concerts for limited audiences have already taken place, the most special one being Nautofon - an "inside organ" event where my performance on valves and pipe-tuning was streamed to the concert venue a the lighthouse of Tungenes where Lasse Marhaug played along with it.
Other organ appearances of mine during 2012 have been:
- Nordisk Nushü, a spectacular project in Esbjerg and Sønderborg, Denmark, Oct 6 and 7. A girls' choir, a butoh dancer, singing actress, 3-D sound installation, and of course a pipe organ. The author is Trine Louise Kortermand, and next performance will be in Odense, April 20. 2013.
- Duo with Daniel Buner Formo on the Hammond organ, myself on the pipe organ of Vor Frue Kirke, Trondheim, Jan 25.
- Silent movie improvisation to Faust (Murnau), April 28 at the Bodø international organ festival. In the same festival I appeared at the opening concert together with Susanne Lundeng, and gave workshops.
- The 200 years celebration of Norwegian organ "father" Ludvig Mathias Lindeman gave me the opportunity to play two improvisation concert inspired by his legendary Royal Albert Hall performances: At Stavanger Organ Festival, Sept 11, and Oslo Cathedral Nov 17.
- Collaboration with Oslo Chamber Choir, Fagerborg Church, Oslo, Nov 7
As a composer, my main project for 2012/13 is to write the music to Miranda and Ferdinand, a childrens' opera for The Norwegian Opera and Ballet. The libretto is by Rune Belsvik. Premiere: June 2014.
My "remakes" of classical repertoire are moving on. We performed Mazurka with Gjertruds Gypsy Orchestra in Hamar Nov 15, and Crossing Grieg with my brother Håkon Asheim in Flekkefjord and Østerås Oct 31 and Nov 1. The sequel solo CD "Mazurka - researching Chopin" is still in the editing and can be expected before summer 2013. A demo of the raw material for next project (Schubert waltzes and dances) is now recorded.
I took part in a few of Kitchen Orchestras projects in 2012, the biggest one being the "pre-opening" of Stavanger Concert Hall on Sept 14. Sound Safari was my idea, and here we lead about 600 people through the new premises with musicians popping up all over the place in different roles, the whole thing topped by visual arts of Andreas Paleologos (featuring a concert hall built of Lego and immersed in milk!).
Kitchen Orchestra's residency at SuperDeluxe, Tokyo, five nights of improvisations, collaborations, turned out very nicely And our (un)traditional mid-December craze at Tou Scene this year broke a top review in the local newspaper Stavanger Aftenblad as "The ultimate Christmas Concert".
Young Pianist Øyvind Dale and myself launched our new piano duo May 13 at Maijazz festival.
And let's not forget the audience-participation installation "Organ Machine" in Stavanger May 4-5 and at Tou Camp across the whole month of June.
Speaking of: My organizational and programming work at Tou Scene has come to a pause after Tou Camp 2012. This second edition of the festival, that boasted a 100 events and gathered 7.500 people, included dance, theatre, visual arts, interactive installations, workshops, kids' programme, seminars and of course a great number of excellent concerts by local, national and international artists. The main project ID-Camp was based on interviews with 30 Stavanger residents and evolved on the theme of identity. I am still on the board of Tou Scene, but not active at a daily basis.
Besides, I am still organizing concerts for Ny Musikk Stavanger, slowly planning to hand over the responsibility to some of the other good guys.
Thanks to all of you that I have had the pleasure to work with - welcome to all new friends, and hope to see you in 2013!
Best wishes, yours