Friday, May 20, 2016

1B1 is currently enjoying great success with its series of concerts in New York. The string orchestra, which began as a student group at the music conservatory in Stavanger in 2008 and who last year won a Grammy, has during the last two weeks played with several of the biggest international stars of classical music, in front of audiences that included famous cultural figures like Salman Rushdie, Helena Christensen and David Byrne.
The concerts are part of a partnership with National Sawdust, the new trendsetting performing arts venue in New York, where 1B1 is the only classical ensemble chosen as "artist in residency." Over the past two weeks, 1B1 has played with artists like opera star Renée Fleming, Wilco drummer Glenn Kotche, and the best-selling pianist Simone Dinnerstein. They have performed several pieces written especially for them by leading contemporary composers.
Artistic Director Jan Bjøranger says that the concert series has exceeded all expectations:
- To get to play with Renée Fleming, perhaps the biggest star of the classical music scene in the US, is almost unreal for a young orchestra like 1B1. When we also find that key personnel from institutions like The Met and the New York Philharmonic are very excited and return several times to hear more, we of course have every reason to be satisfied.
Composer and Wilco drummer Glenn Kotche, who performed his own composition Anomaly Concerto together with 1B1, is also enthusiastic:
- It was a true pleasure to work with 1B1. Not only are they at an extremely high musical level; they were also very committed and delivered a completely exceptional interpretation of the Anomaly Concerto.
The concerto is based on a piece that Kotche originally wrote for the famous Kronos Quartet.
 - This music contains very complex rhythms and metric modulations, and it was really fun to see how well prepared they were and how ready they were to make the composition their own.
The bestselling American pianist Simone Dinnerstein was also full of praise after playing Bach's D Minor Concerto together with 1B1:
- The uniqueness of 1B1 is the mix of professional musicians and students, and the experimental and innovative way in which they interpret classical music. The cooperation with 1B1 has been very rewarding. All the musicians have been responsive and interactive, and open to new ideas and to experiment with alternative phrasings. In short, they are open to break the rules, and I'm really looking forward to working more with them!
This week, 1B1 plays three concerts at the Church of Trinity Wall Street as part of their concert series "Concerts at One", before the orchestra returns to Norway. Later this summer, 1B1 returns to New York to play for 6,000 spectators at the Celebrate Brooklyn Festival, where they are part of the multimedia presentation "The Hubble” on August 6th. This is a tribute to the Hubble Space Telescope and all the wonderful photos taken of space for the past 25 years. For the first time, a crowd of 6,000 people will experience this multimedia and virtual reality space travel. The next concert series at National Sawdust is in January 2017.
Hi-res photos may be downloaded HERE