The Chamber Festival was looking for an artistic leadership with a strong international network and solid Norwegian roots, and the choice was not very hard to make, according to a press release published by IMCF in late December.

The Grieg Trio was established in 1987 and has since performed all over the world, receiving rave reviews. Last year, they played a whole concert series at Wigmore Hall, among other places. Now, they are ready for the next big challenge, a festival.

As a collective artistic management, Sølve Sigerland, Ellen Margrethe Flesjø, and Vebjørn Anvik wish to give the festival "a clearer profile and consolidate its reputation as one of the world’s finest chamber music festivals”, according to the press release.

Chamber music without make-up
Since 1990, the recognised Norwegian cellist Truls Mørk has been Artistic Director of 13 festivals in Stavanger. Every year, he has invited 20 to 30 of the world's foremost musicians to play together in various combinations. For an entire week the artists turn up to be together, and to work intensively for a fee which is lower than what they would normally receive for a single concert.

“Chamber music is a quick way to get to know one another. You play without make-up, have nothing to hide behind, are much more open – and vulnerable”, says pianist Martha Argeric at the Festival’s web site.

Truls Mørk's pioneer work
Thanks to Mørk’s “practised casting and programme arrangements there have been performances to be remembered for years to come” wrote the Times music critic Hilary Finch. Another type of appreciation followed in 1996, when the ICMF was included in the organisation of Europe’s top festivals, the EFA.

Mørk’s resignation was received with surprise and regret, both by the Festival and the media. However, the Grieg Trio will continue the pioneer work Mørk has started.
“We have enormous respect for the work Truls Mørk has contributed to the IMCF, and we want to continue developing a strong international focus, as well as maintaining the close relationship to Stavanger, says Sølve Sigerland of the Grieg Trio. sd
 
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