A champion of Norway’s rich musical tradition, Eldbjørg Hemsing has made herself a name in
her native country since her solo debut with the Bergen Philharmonic at the age of 11. Today
she counts amongst the leading violinists of the younger generation.
This season will see her perform with orchestras such as Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,
Hallé Orchestra and Iceland Symphony Orchestra. Highlights of past seasons include
performances with Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra in the opening concert of the Bergen
International Music Festival 2020 and with Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Zürcher
Kammerorchester, MDR Sinfonieorchester Leipzig, NDR Radiophilharmonie Hannover,
Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra, Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra and RTÉ National
Symphony Orchestra. She performed the Chinese, Swiss, Canadian and German premieres
of the forgotten Borgstrøm violin concerto which she has rediscovered. It has since become
her strong mission to bring the concerto back to the world’s stages.
In March 2018, Eldbjørg Hemsing released her debut CD on the Swedish label BIS featuring
violin concertos by Hjalmar Borgstrøm and Dmitri Shostakovich, recorded with the Vienna
Symphony Orchestra and Olari Elis. Released in March 2020, her latest recording – Grieg’s
Sonatas on BIS – has garnered a chorus of praise by critics.
Eldbjørg Hemsing masters a wide range of repertoire from Bach, Beethoven and Bartók to
Tan Dun. The collaboration with Tan Dun resulted in many performances in Europe and Asia.
Eldbjørg Hemsing premiered and recorded Tan Dun’s new violin concerto “Fire Ritual – A
Musical Ritual for Victims of Wars” with the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra.
A passionate chamber musician, recitals will take Eldbjørg to Mozartwoche Salzburg, Dialoge
Festival Salzburg, Musikwoche Bad Berleburg and her own Hemsing festival. Highlights of
past seasons include recitals at National Center for Performing Arts in Bejing, Dresdner
Musikfestspiele and Verbier Festival amongst others.
In addition to a busy performance schedule, Eldbjørg Hemsing is actively involved in societal
projects. She acts as ambassador for the music education project CJD Panorama in
Germany and regularly collaborates with W20 Network as well as several international art
focused conferences such as the Abu Dhabi Culture Summit and the Nordic Arts & Audience
conference amongst others. As Artistic Director and mentor in the SPIRE programme she
follows her passion in supporting young talents in their artistic and personal self-development
in the classical music world.
Born in Valdres, Norway, Eldbjørg Hemsing started playing the violin at the age of 5 and
studied at the prestigious Barratt Due Institute of Music in Oslo as well as with the renowned
Professor Boris Kuschnir in Vienna.
Eldbjørg Hemsing plays a 1707 Antonio Stradivari ‘Rivaz, Baron Gutmann’ 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