Crescendo is a mentoring programme for emerging Norwegian classical musicians.
It’s set up as a collaboration between three partners: The Oslo Philharmonic orchestra, The Bergen International Festival and Barratt Due Institute of Music in Oslo.
This programme is designed to provide guidance, inspire and create opportunities for selected young Norwegian musicians that are aiming for an international career as a soloist.
The upper age limit is 25 at the time of applying, there’s an intake once every year and the participants typically stay in the programme for two years. We aim to have around six active participants per year, with an ever growing ‘alumni’ group of players that are typically brought back to perform in concerts with the present participants – both to share the accumulated collective experience among the players, but also to build a network of the personal friendship and support between them.
One of the key factors for the success of the programme is to carefully select young players that are on a level, both technically and musically where they will benefit from and feel comfortable with sharing the stage with top international soloists like Janine Jansen, Leif Ove Andsnes and Gidon Kremer. They must already have reached a point where they are more or less technically uninhibited and are able to respond to the challenge, absorb new musical input and at the same time being able to mature, develop and shape their own artistic journey. A jury consisting of musicians from the Oslo Philharmonic considers all the applicants and puts forward a recommendation to the artistic leadership of Crescendo.
A cornerstone of the programme is bringing together the young player with an older, much more experienced artist. Through making music together, talking and sharing moments we witness incredible results: The younger player grows and matures and finds her feet, and the experienced artist very often feels inspired and renewed. Both our permanent mentors Janine Jansen and Leif Ove Andsnes enthusiastically talks about how meaningful and inspirational it is to meet and work with the next generation. They both say they’d wish they had something similar when they first started out. The concerts where they meet often has a particular ‘sparkle’ and freshness to them that naturally also the audience appreciates. Furthermore, the participants will see their mentors on more private occasions, just to meet with and play to them – for instance as a preparation for an important concert.
Another side to the programme is very carefully gauging what every one of the participants needs to strengthen their careers and build a solid, sustainable and sound platform to support themselves through decades ahead as an international travelling soloist. This includes workshops and advice on promoting yourself – for instance through social media, and how to respond to and deal in a professional manner with concert promoters and artist managements. To be aware of the physical and mental challenges, and advice on where to turn to for help and support when needed. The players are also directly followed up by the programme director and other artistic supporters before and during key performances. We will travel to see them, perhaps observe both the rehearsal and the concert, offer advice and support and perhaps a de-brief.
Some of the musicians will already be represented by international managements, whereas others will be guided on their way to finding one. Building a sound network we believe is key, and particularly important is finding ‘musical partners’ and building an in-trade reputation.
The Oslo Philharmonic plays an important role in this, as they have regular individual ‘development and update talks’ with the participants, as well as offering the possibility to meet and audition for all their conductors throughout the season. We have already seen direct results of this where a conductor for instance both prefers one of the young soloists for their future Oslo Phil concerts, but also engages the players for concerts with other orchestras they are involved with. These kind of collaborations and results are of course invaluable.
The participants furthermore get important exposure through several concerts during the Bergen International Festival, and Leif Ove Andsnes has made a habit of including select Crescendo-musicians at his Rosendal Chamber Music Festival. Apart from getting extraordinary performance experience along some of the very best artist in the world of classical music, they get to meet other players and key persons in the business – and potentially build new friendships and extend their network.