Now in its twelfth consecutive year in Oslo, the Ultima Festival was arranged by 17 of the leading music institutions Norway. During the festival's 10 days, more than 100 installations, concerts, performances, seminars and lectures introduced audiences to an exiting and challenging series of performances.
Many have expressed that they feel Ultima has succeeded - not only in presenting the already highly advanced "state of affairs" in these genres - but also in expanding the cutting-edge of contemporary music and art.
Although the theme of this years festival was "Acoustic Spaces", electronic art proved to be one of the many central themes of this year's programme. A number of installations were set up in Oslo before and during the festival, giving an international audience an idea of just how varied this art form can be.
Thanks to the young and attentive staff at Ultima, the festival keeps renewing itself, thus increasing in popularity every year. Approximately 16 000 people visited Ultima’s various venues this year - which is yet another record. The exact and final figures have not come in yet.
- We have never had as many visitors before, and our audience also keeps getting younger, which makes us very happy. It’s so great to see that the new generation has such an open and inquisitive mind when it comes to contemporary music and art, says Johnson.
He is very pleased with this year’s Ultima festival, and especially applauds the anchor performance, a composition by French composer Gérard Grisey which also lent its name to the festivals theme: ”Les Espaces Acoustiques" – The Acoustic Spaces.
- This particular piece of music has been an essential reference work in the development of a Norwegian compositional tradition at the turn of the millennium, says Johnson.
Norwegian national Aftenposten wrote in its review of the concert:
- The Acoustic Spaces was performed by The Orchestra of the Norwegian National Opera and Oslo Sinfonietta. The talented Pierre-André Valade conducted, and the performance was a s huge success, and ended the festival in a very dignified manner.
- We couldn’t be more pleased with the mention we got in both the Norwegian and international press. Except for one performance - out of a hundred might I add - everything from installations to concerts got rave reviews, says Johnson.
Ultima has been proclaimed one of the most important contemporary festivals in Europe by foreign press. How do you plan to top this year's success?
- Well, we have been working with next years programme for quite some time already, and time will tell if we can top this, but we will try our best, promises Johnsen.