Updated: Nov 29, 2019
Last month, (October 29th to Nov 6th) I spent 9 days in Bergen, Norway for the Prof. Jiri Hlinka Piano Academy. I took lessons with 3 amazing musicians with Leif Ove Andsnes, Christian Ihle Hadland and Jens Elvekjær. I was very lucky to have given this opportunity, because they had only selected 10 pianists from all over the world to participate in this piano festival.
Bergen is the most placid place I ever visited in my travels. The 1st photo is the view outside Grieg's backyard at his home, Troldhaugen and the one below shows his living room with his piano. This serenity definitely inspired Grieg's music to be so open sounded and tranquil. Bergen rains almost 300 days in a year because it is situated in the west coast line of Norway. The city is beautiful yet displays a certain melancholy in the mood and vibe of the city. This melancholy sound world, is presented with the extreme despair when Grieg lost his parents and therefore writing his masterpiece for piano, Ballade in G minor Op. 24, which I performed at Troldhaugen in the 3rd photo. I played it also for Leif Ove Andsnes, whose recording inspired and draw me towards the work. His guidance to me was to always feel the pulse inside my body and take enough time to explain all the notes and the phrases.
The academy took place in the Rekstens collection, a beautiful, old, art and cultural center, built in the 1960s and 70s by the shipping magnata and philantrophist Hilmar Reksten. It was the place where we stayed and played for the masterclasses, which was held at the Pentagon. The collection consisted of many rooms and halls, with evocative and funny paintings and sculptures all around. There were 11 pianos in the collection, some in the halls and private rooms, some placed out in the corridors and 4 uprights rooms in each of the bedrooms!
One of my highlights of the trip was performing at the Troldhaugen, Grieg's Museum. The recital hall there sit no more than 200 people but overlooks the magnificent of the landscape and sea.