Norwegian violinist HENNING KRAGGERUD is an artist of exquisite musicianship, who combines an unusually sweet tone and beauty of expression with impressive virtuosity, drawing audiences and critics alike towards the genuine quality of his playing.
Henning is co-Artistic Director of the Risør Festival of Chamber Music, a post he took over from Leif Ove Andsnes in 2011. From September 2012, Henning is also Artistic Director of the Tromsø Chamber Orchestra.
In February 2012, Henning stepped in at late notice to perform two concertos with the Philharmonia Orchestra under Vasily Petrenko. These performances, including one at London’s Royal Festival Hall, represented Henning’s debut with the orchestra and earned him five-star praise in the national press.
Highlights of the current season include returns to the London Philharmonic and the Hallé Orchestra, and debuts with the Beethoven Orchestra Bonn and Poznan Philharmonic under Christopher Hogwood. Henning also returns to the Swedish Chamber Orchestra and to the Orchestre National Bordeaux-Aquitaine at the special invitation of Kwamé Ryan, to celebrate the opening of the city’s new hall.
Future plans for Henning include returns to the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, the RTE National Symphony, and an invitation to Copenhagen with the Danish National Symphony after Henning’s critically acclaimed performance with the orchestra at London’s BBC Proms. Henning will also make his debuts with the Nuremberg Symphony, the Hong Kong Philharmonic, and the Taiwan National Symphony.
A favorite with audiences in the U.S. and Canada, Henning has worked with the Detroit Symphony under Peter Oundjian and the Seattle Symphony under Vassily Sinaisky, as well as the Baltimore, Atlanta, and Toronto symphony orchestras. Last season he performed with the Cincinnati Symphony and as soloist and conductor with both the Pacific and Vancouver symphony orchestras. In the summer of 2012, Henning makes his debut with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl.
The play/directing element of Henning’s career is fast developing as he proves his exceptional talent in this role. In 2009, he stepped in at late notice to play/direct the Britten Sinfonia at the City of London Festival – such was his success that he undertakes his third major international tour with the ensemble this season. Other play/direct performances have included the Zurich Chamber Orchestra and the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, where Henning was hailed by The New York Times for his “sweet, polished sound” and the “melting beauty” of his playing. This season, Henning works as guest director with the Basel Chamber Orchestra and has also been invited in this capacity to the Vienna Chamber Orchestra.
With his strong commitment to chamber music, Henning performs both on violin and viola at the major international festivals; recent collaborations have included a “Szymanowski Focus” at London’s Wigmore Hall and New York’s Zankel Hall curated by Piotr Anderszewski, and performances at the Verbier Festival with Joshua Bell, Leonidas Kavakos, and Martha Argerich. In the 2012/13 season, he joins musical colleagues at the Rio International Chamber Music Week in Brazil and the Stavanger International Chamber Music Festival. Along with Imogen Cooper and Adrian Brendel he appears at LSO St. Luke’s in the BBC’s chamber concert series.
Last season saw Henning’s recital debut in Tokyo, where he played the complete unaccompanied Violin Sonatas by Ysaÿe, a performance he repeated at the Cheltenham Festival in July 2012. Henning has recorded all these works for Simax, for which he received the Spellemann CD award.
Adding to his multi-faceted career, Henning is an innovative improviser and composer, performing many of his own cadenzas and arrangements in concert. Several of his compositions have been performed at festivals worldwide.
In June 2010, Henning gave the first performance of the Munch Suite for Solo Violin – a new and unique concert project consisting of new pieces by 15 composers from around the world. Taking place at the Haugar Vestfold Kunstmuseum in Tønsberg, Norway, as part of the Vestfold International Festival, these pieces were inspired by the works of Edvard Munch and were performed in dialogue with the paintings themselves at an exclusive arts experience.
Henning’s most recent disc, released in June 2012, is entitled Last Spring, a unique collaboration on the ACT label with Norwegian jazz pianist Bugge Wesseltoft, exploring improvisations on Norwegian folk music with classical and jazz elements. In addition to an impressive and diverse discography, Henning was involved in making a major television and cinema documentary about the Norwegian violin virtuoso and composer Ole Bull (1810-1880), released in November 2006 and more recently in an English-language version. Henning received the Ole Bull Prize in 2007.
Born in Oslo in 1973, Henning studied with Camilla Wicks and Emanuel Hurwitz. He is a recipient of Norway’s Grieg Prize and in 2007 was awarded the Sibelius Prize for his interpretation and recording of Sibelius’ music throughout the world. Henning is a professor at the Barratt-Due music conservatory in Oslo, and in April 2012 was a jury member at the Menuhin Competition in Beijing.
Henning Kraggerud plays on a 1744 Guarneri del Gesù, provided by Dextra Musica AS. This company is founded by Sparebankstiftelsen DnB NOR.