Can you listen to a building? Can an institution be set to music? And what happens when an art gallery and its history is turned into a symphony?
Symphony for Kunstnernes Hus is an immersive musical experience and a site-specific work, created by Øyvind Torvund, one of Norway’s most innovative contemporary composers. NRK’s Norwegian Radio Orchestra (KORK) will perform the symphony in the galleries of Kunstnernes Hus. During the performance, the public can move freely from room to room and stay within the music. This is a symphony presented as an artwork and an artwork that takes form of a symphonic concert.
About the symphony
Norway has a long tradition for adding decorative features such as sculptures and mural paintings to its architecture, so that a building is brought to life. Music, which is traditionally performed in concert halls, rarely deals with the location itself.
Symphony for Kunstnernes Hus is a rare kind of exhibition: a decorative work in the form of music. This contemporary piece of music can only ever be experienced as a performance within Kunstnernes Hus. The symphony is symbiotically woven together with the house's architecture, and may be presented there again on future occasions.
The symphony is an enveloping musical experience in which the audience can wander freely from room to room as the music is being played. In effect, several concerts are happening simultaneously in many of the spaces in the building. Each room has its own distinctive character as independent spatial compositions: ritualistic folk music, lamentations for brass ensemble, symphonic waves for strings, harp and electronic percussion. At the same time, the spaces conduct an acoustic dialogue with each other, with call-and-response and melodic elements that circulate between them.
The total duration of the piece is 30-40 minutes, and it will be performed two times only, on Friday 28 October.
It’s not often you are given the opportunity to make a symphony that it’s possible to walk in.
The symphony is composed by Øyvind Torvund (b. 1976). Torvund is a contemporary composer with a finely tuned sense of space, and who has a playful and adventurous approach to contemporary music. The music is composed for musicians from KORK, plus solos Jennifer Torrence (percussion) and Jørgen Træen (synth). The work has no conductor – each room is directed by the leader of each musical group.
The performance is produced with Ultima - Oslo Contemporary Music Festival and is a collaboration with KORK.