A champion of Norway’s rich musical tradition, Eldbjørg Hemsing has been a household name inher native country since childhood and made her solo debut with the Bergen Philharmonic at the age of 11. After winning various international competitions and prizes at the age of 18 her desire was to continue intensive studies with Boris Kuschnir in Vienna, during which time she fine-tuned her performance-style and absorbed a wide-range of repertoire ranging from Bach, Beethoven, Bartok to Tan Dun. Together with Tan Dun she has collaborated on numerous projects in both Europe and Asia and has most recently premiered and recorded composer’s new violin concerto “Fire Ritual – A Musical Ritual for Victims of Wars”, together with the Oslo Philharmonic.
In March 2018 Eldbjørg Hemsing released her debut CD on the Swedish label, BIS, featuring violin concertos by Hjalmar Borgström and Dmitri Shostakovich, recorded with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra and Olari Elis. The rediscovery of Hjalmar Borgström has since then become her strong mission to bring the concert back to concert stages.
In introducing Eldbjørg wrote: “A few years ago, I was introduced to the music of Hjalmar Borgström, a name I was not previously familiar with and I was surprised to learn that he had been famous as both a composer and critic in Norway at the beginning of the 20th century. Opening the score of his first violin concerto for the first time I was immediately intrigued. This concerto, written in 1914, is incredibly beautiful, full of Norwegian Nationalist sentiment so typical of its time but also worthy of international attention. It reminds me of where I come from – the rugged landscape of Valdres and Jotunheimen, where the surrounding mountains risedramatically over the valleys – and the music makes me yearn for my roots. After Borgström’s death in 1925 the concerto was completely forgotten and so today I am on something of a mission to help do my part in bringing this composer’s music back to life.”
Her upcoming engagements in the 2019 / 20 season include her début with the Argovia Philharmonic, Orchestra TON at Lincoln Center NY, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Calgary Philharmonic, Slovene Philharmonic, as well as the re-engagements with orchestras in Europe and Asia. Eldbjørg Hemsing will furthermore perform the Chinese, Swiss, Canadian and German premiere of the forgotten Borgström violin concerto. With recitals Eldbjørg Hemsing also makes her debut in the prestigious ElbPhilharmonie Hamburg as well as at the Dresdner Festspiele and Stiftung Mozarteum Salzburg.
In addition to a busy performance schedule, Eldbjørg Hemsing is actively involved in societal projects. She is an ambassador for the German music education project CJD Panorama in Germany, a regular collaborator with W20 Network as well as several international art focused conference (Abu Dhabi Culture Summit, Nordic Arts & Audience conference, etc.)
Eldbjørg Hemsing plays a 1754 G. B. Guadagnini violin on kind loan from the Dextra Musica Foundation.
ELDBJØRG HEMSING DEBUT CD REVIEWS:
“The violin tone of the young Norwegian Eldbjørg Hemsing has something spacious, immediate, unseen, nothing pretentious about it. This goes wonderfully with the three violin sonatas by Edvard Grieg. Hemsing and her piano partner Simon Trčeski do not doubt for a second the quality, intensity, imagination and touching beauty of this music, which is pulsating with a sense of landscape, natural sensations and passion. One can really say that [Eldbjørg] plays so brilliantly and convincingly in her “mother tongue” that it must captivate everyone. The violinist’s joy in inventing music is demonstrated by her fine variations on a folk tune.”20. Januar 2020
“… the young and compellingly fresh articulating violinist Eldbjørg Hemsing has digged out the three-movement violin concerto of Borgström, recording the work with Vienna Symphony Orchestra under Olari Elts – not only as noble pioneering feat, but in violinistic and musically gorgeous manner.”17 April 2018
“…an outstanding artist with a warm tone, accurate and precise playing. Eldbjørg Hemsing gives the second movement, the Scherzo, a bewitching and hypnotic interpretation, unforgettable. The other three movements, in the pure style of the Russian musician, place this perfectly controlled version at the level of the greatest recordings (David Oistrach, Maxime Shostakovich, EMI, 1972, Lydia Mordkovich, Neeme Jarvi, Chandos, 1989, Yefim Bronfman, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Sony, 2003). The Vienna Symphony, conducted by the rigorous and experienced Estonian Olari Elts (born in 1971), shares the outstanding merits and contributes to making this recording a subject of legitimate lust and curiosity.”1 May 2018
The Arts Desk
“Wonderfully played […], Eldbjørg Hemsing’s dynamism and rich, warm tone exactly what the concerto needs. She’s really impressive.”28 April 2018
“Hemsing is at her best in the Passacaglia, the temperature rising inexorably to boiling point. The last movement’s adrenalin rush is joyous. Excellent sound, too – an enjoyable disc.“
Rating – 5/5 Stars | Magnificent: “For the concerto of Shostakovich which was dedicated to the marvelous David Oistrach, this violinist must expect comparisons – which she in fact all does not need to shun! Can one play this great violin concerto in such superb manner with 28 years of age? Eldbjørg Hemsing can!”12 April 2018
“Hemsing delivers a true top performance in both of these concertos. Enthusiasm, imagination, energy, finesse, sharpness, lyricism, brilliance: it is all there, with the highly engaged Estonian conductor Olari Elts who shows the Vienna Symphony, so to speak, all corners of the hall. Of course, Borgström’s Violin Concerto is the ‘ear-opener’ here, but I was also overwhelmed by the expressive dimensions of the interpretation in Shostakovich’s first violin concerto.”19 March 2018
“The timbres are varied, full of warmth and brilliant registers, and how Hemsing deals with this centuries-old richness [of her G.B. Guadagnini from 1764] is masterful: attuned to the characteristics of the violin and alert in her response to them, subtle in sound and astute in accentuation. Every vibrato, every tempo is well thought out and Hemsing highlights the Shostakovich concerto both in its extended lamentation and grim ferocity, without ever overstating. The Borgström, on the other hand, she develops into a sparkling, self-assured, almost indomitable momentum. The result is a uniquely delicate musical balance between the two concertos, the axis between them is Hemsing’s unmistakable and consistent colour. This is vivacious and at the same time very mature.”15 March 2018
Holger Wemhoff, Klassik Radio | 8. März 2018: “…in the meanwhile she [Eldbjørg Hemsing] is regarded as one of the best and greatest young hopes, not only of her country Norway, but of the entire world. And that can especially be heard in her new, her debut CD.” – Holger Wemhoff: “One of the best violin recordings of the past years.”12 March 2018
“…a brilliantly successful debut… whether it is the elegiac Nocturne, the virtuoso tricky Scherzo, the breathtaking solo cadenza in the 3rd movement, or the Burlesque which is tumbling between exuberant euphoria and treipdation, Hemsing in each case gives the adequate note. A joint triumph of Shostakovich’ genuine creativiness and the verve of the young artist who translates this music-historical monument into moving sounds.”6 March 2018
“The wonderful Violin Concerto in G major op. 14 from 1914 is a real hit, and you can be thankful to the Swedish label BIS for letting the work now appear at its best. The solo part is played by the fabulous young Norwegian Eldbjørg Hemsing: she impresses with a brilliant technique, her tone is bright and soft – and the grandeur of a free violinist soul is enthroned above everything. The 27-year-old artist, of whom there is still a great deal to hear, brings the work, which one can hear wonderfully carefree, so to speak, back into the repertoire. The Wiener Symphoniker, under the direction of Olari Elts, assists masterfully. This SACD is rounded off by a no less impressive performance of the Violin Concerto No. 1 in A minor by Dmitri Shostakovich, which captures the edges and abysses of the music.”5 March 2018
“…with her supreme violinistic ease, sprightly personality and wonderfully clear and pure lyrical tone (2nd movement), the violinist Eldbjørg Hemsing transforms this repertoire rarity [Borgström violin concerto] into a worthwhile rediscovery or new discovery. Hemsing’s mastery of the entire Shostakovich spectrum, from gloomy bitterness to grotesquely-virtuosic agility, is then demonstrated in her collaboration with the highly committed Wiener Symphoniker.”3 March 2018
“…jointly with Wiener Symphoniker and Olari Elts, Hemsing presents an interpretation which is convincing, rich of colors and personal. With consistently brilliant sound and flexible expression, Eldbjørg Hemsing makes this album absolutely worth listening to.”20 February 2018
Rating – 6/6 Stars: “… a fabulous discovery … [Hemsing] offers a star performance, technically steady as a mountain goat, bold and assertive where required and sweetly filled like spun sugar in the slow movement … this recording is strongly recommended.”14 February 2018
“The shared, gorgeous melody of strings and soloist in the fourth movement gives way to a final, sorrowing melody from the violin, perfectly judged by Hemsing: a haunting end to a compelling disc.”June 2019
“A splendid combination of purity and sweeping, Heifetz-like intensity.“December 2018
“[Shostakovich] Hemsing is as fine in the third movement as the first in progressively ratcheting up the tension before easing down into the cadenza, which in turn grows steadily to a searing climax. The finale scuttles along brilliantly.“May 2018
“While some of Tan Dun’s ideas may seem rather overextended at times…what comes across most powerfully here is the dynamic three-way synergetic split between Tan Dun as conductor, Eldbjørg Hemsing’s striking characterisation of the solo violin’s material, and the sheer force and power of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra. Recommended.“April 2019
“[The Suk is] a seductive introduction to the disc’s strengths: spotlighting the gleaming, high-calorie tone and expressive phrasing of the young Norwegian violin Eldbjørg Hemsing against swathes of deep orchestral velvet…Big, upfront readings with undeniably attractive solo playing supported by extrovert conducting and an orchestra which, while responsive, is very much a secondary part of the sonic picture.“December 2018
BBC Music Magazine
“This excellent disc of violin concertos showcases Dun’s dexterity and imagination in writing for the instrument and features radiant and sophisticated performances from the violinist Eldbjørg Hemsing…[In Rhapsody and Fantasia] Dun explores every inch of the solo violin with a depth of imagination that calls to mind Berg’s groundbreaking concerto…[Fire Ritual] blends the fierce with the meditative, and is performed with integrity and precision by Hemsing to complete this fine disc.“April 2019
“Her reading of the Dvořák is agile and characterful, although perhaps lacks the soaring sweetness that the Concertos’ central movement calls for…both Hemsing and ensemble shine much more convincingly in Suk’s Fantasy in G minor…The recording’s real highpoint is, however, the all-too-brief final track of the disc, Suk’s delightful ‘Liebeslied’…Hemsing plays this endlessly tender ‘love song’ with a perfect blend of heart and restraint.”January 2019
“Eldbjørg Hemsing shows a powerful affinity for this very visual, symbolic music, while the BIS SACD sound is nothing short of magnificent.“April 2019