Pianist  Leif  Ove  Andsnes
 
A Conversation with Bruce Duffie



andsnes


Time is a very interesting and elusive concept.  When one is very young, time drags and you cannot wait to get older.  As we settle into adult life, time speeds up a bit and there never seems to be enough of it to accomplish what is desired.  And, I am told, when one reaches an advanced age, time flits by at an incredible pace so that things are over before they seem to start.

I say all of this because the thought of time and its relationship to life popped into my mind when I realized that this conversation with pianist Leif Ove Andsnes took place when he was about to turn twenty-five!  Yet even back in 1995, he performed well and was already fairly well established.

Needless to say, he has continued to advance
— not just in age, but in depth of artistry.  His repertoire has expanded and his list of recordings has grown.  Details are in the box at the conclusion of this interview, and on his official website

He was in Chicago in January of 1995 for performances with the Chicago Symphony.  He graciously agreed to meet with me in his dressing room after the concert, and here is what transpired . . . . .


Bruce Duffie:    You play solo recitals and you play concertos.  How do you divide your career between those differing presentations?

Leif Ove Andsnes:    There seems to be more orchestra engagements around these days, though I am playing nice recitals tours as well.  I seem to maybe do three recital tours each year, and I tend to do one program for maybe seven or eight concerts.

BD:    Do you prefer one over the other, the solo or the concerto?

LOA:    No, not really.  It’s easier to feel really satisfied by a recital because you can control everything yourself, but when it works with an orchestra and a conductor, it’s also such a marvelous thing.  You can’t compare the two, really.

BD:    When you’re playing a concerto, whose responsibility is it to make it work
— is it the pianist, the conductor, the orchestra?

andsnesLOA:    That, of course, depends on the piece!  Some pieces are very much solo concertos with accompaniments, some are very symphonic, and some are with the piano more accompanying than actually playing the solo parts.  The Grieg Concerto, which I’ve played very much, I find quite easy to work
even with second-rate orchestras — because it’s very much divided into solo parts for the pianist and then comes the orchestra.  So for me, it can feel comfortable even with a less-good orchestra.  However, if you’re playing the Prokofiev Third Concerto, it’s much more integrated into the orchestra, and you really need a good conductor.  Of course, it’s always much more enjoyable to have a really good partner.

BD:    Is the Grieg more close to your heart than anything else since you are Norwegian?

LOA:    No, I wouldn’t say that, though I really love his music.  There is something very touching that speaks very directly to the heart about his music; a real honesty.  And I especially like his smaller pieces, his Lyric Pieces and his songs, which are absolutely fabulous.  He didn’t always succeed when he was trying to make bigger things, though the Piano Concerto is a real exception.

BD:    So the miniatures for solo piano are wonderful?

LOA:    Yeah, they are.  They are, really.

BD:    Have you played all of them?

LOA:    No I haven’t, but I’ve played around twenty of the Lyric Pieces.

BD:    Is that a special joy for you to come upon a new piece of Grieg because you know you’re going to like it and you know it will fit in, yet it’s still something new for you?

LOA:    Yes it is, though at the moment I am concentrating on other things because I did very much Grieg already.  The Piano Concerto is sort of my piece.  I’ve done it about sixty times in concert, and I had to take a break from it because I want to play other pieces.  So for some years I think I’ve done my job of doing Grieg pieces, but I love the music and I will come back to it.

BD:    From this huge array of pieces that you can play, how do you decide which pieces you will play, and which pieces you will let go
either for a while or forever?

LOA:    Interesting question.  It happens very much by instinct, actually.  When thinking about the Rachmaninoff concertos, for example, I felt that I wanted to do the third one first.  I don’t know if I will ever do the second; I don’t know if I could do something special with it.  I have to feel that I can contribute something personal, something that is really me, and that the piece really fits me.  At this point also I have just started playing Brahms First Concerto, while I felt the Second Concerto can wait for some years.  So it happens very much by instinct, but also there is some long-term planning, ideas for some years now.  I will concentrate on some Beethoven sonatas, and then maybe do Schubert and continue building up repertoire.

BD:    Once you start on the Beethoven, will it not be imperative that you to do all thirty-two?

andsnesLOA:    I’m not a great one for completeness, actually!  I think I will not do the complete set.  I will do the five concertos
— that’s one of the few complete sets I will do!  But somehow, people seem to get really obsessed with this idea of doing things complete, doing a whole opus always complete.  Often it’s not meant like that from the composer.  You can very easily pick etudes from an opus or preludes from an opus, and do a selection. I find it’s sometimes more interesting, more personal.

BD:    Does your selection of pieces from an opus change over time
— do you do some this time and others another time?

LOA:    Yeah, it absolutely may change.

BD:    Do you find that the old selection was wrong, or just that you want to do something different?

LOA:    You want to do some new pieces, therefore you make a slightly different selection.

BD:    When you’re going to play a concerto or a big sonata, about how long does it take to get it into your fingers and into your psyche?

LOA:    It depends very much on the piece, but as you mentioned, for a big sonata or a big concerto I will at least have worked on it for half a year.  Not constantly, not every day for that half a year because I have so many concerts.  It will have to be between the concerts that I study new repertoire, but at least half a year, I think, it has to be inside your brain somehow.

BD:    Does it please you that all of this material has to be memorized?

LOA:    No.  [Laughs]  That’s something that should be discussed, because I find it in a way strange that people are playing, let’s say Bach, from memory.  I don’t see it.  This is something that started with Liszt, and I’m not sure if in my future recitals I will do everything from memory.  I don’t have any great problems memorizing, but it’s not really necessary for every piece of music.  Obviously, when you play the Rachmaninoff Third Concerto, the page-turner would be too busy!  [Both laugh]  And it would not make sense, really, to play that with the music.  Also, in cases like that you almost need the excitement of playing without music, just the risk that something might happen, that you might have a memory lapse.  That can create something exciting.  You get more adrenaline, while with the Bach Well Tempered Clavier, I’m not sure that element is so necessary.

BD:    Maybe for a large piece you could have just one page with a few cues, each one to get you started on a new section.

LOA:    I don’t think that would be a real help for me, though.  But when I play chamber music, I always have music in front of me, and I don’t feel less free by that.  I know several people have started also to play recitals with music again.  Slatislav Richter decided fifteen years ago that he wanted to play only with music, and he says that he regrets that he learned anything by memorizing it.

*     *     *     *     *

BD:    You mentioned a moment ago about the little extra adrenaline of not knowing if you’re going to make it through the concert.  Is there any sense of this being a contest, of you versus the music, or you versus the audience?

LOA:    I don’t know if it would be a contest, but we are talking about the Rachmaninoff Third Concerto, and I’m going to do a recording of it that will be live because there is something about the audience that really gives you much more adrenaline, and you sort of feel much more focused.  It’s much easier to feel really focused and concentrated on what is happening in the very moment, and for a piece like that it would be very hard to catch that in the recording studio.  The pianist is so busy there with so many million notes, and you have to be absolutely there in the moment to find that inspiration.  At least, I need the audience there.

andsnesBD:    Is there ever a chance that there’s too many notes?

LOA:    Yeah, sometimes it scares me.  But that piece always scares the hell out of me before going on stage!  At the same time it’s so enjoyable to play it, I wouldn’t miss it.

BD:    Does the music of Rachmaninoff particularly fit well into your hands because he was a pianist and wrote for himself?

LOA:    Absolutely!  He knew how to write for the piano better than anyone, and there is probably no better pianistic music written.  It is wonderful, though it demands that you have big hands because he really had huge hands.  And there are many big chords, so if one has very small hands, it may not seem very pianistic.

BD:    That’s one thing I assume that you take into consideration when selecting repertoire
if your hands will fit around all of the notes?

LOA:    Absolutely!

BD:    So if you have large hands like Rachmaninoff, do you then shy away from Haydn or Scarlatti, something that’s more delicate?

LOA:    I don’t know.  That really more depends on other things as well.  It depends not only if your hands are large, but if you are able to play elegantly with large hands.  Then you can do Scarlatti as well.

BD:    Do you have the elegance for it?

LOA:    [Laughs]  Yeah.  I am not much into Scarlatti, but I love Haydn, for example.  I do many sonatas.

BD:    In the early music, you mentioned Bach and even the Haydn, which were not written for the modern piano.  Do you always use the modern piano, or do you use older instruments?

LOA:    I haven’t used the fortepiano or the hammerclavier, though I’m interested in that question because I find they are pretty.  But the modern grand piano is sort of being built for the concert halls.  They are often being built so that they are extremely brilliant and quite hard in sound.  I find them developing more and more in that direction, which I don’t really like because the pianos today very often lack warmth and singing tone quality.  I’m always amazed if I try a Steinway or a Bechstein from the 1940s or ‘30s.

BD:    Do you find it warmer?

LOA:    I find it warmer and it has a thinner sound, but it sings more.  It sings longer.  Especially with music like Mozart and Haydn, it is very difficult to play on some of these very brilliant, hard grand pianos.  When recording those things, I may think about looking into some older instrument — even a fifty-year-old grand piano
— or not using a grand, grand piano, but sort of a lesser, a baby grand or something.

BD:    You mean a seven-foot instead of nine-foot, or something like that?

LOA:    Yeah, something like that.

BD:    Is that not something you could discuss with the manufacturers
maybe get them to make some instruments a little bit less brilliant?  Or is this style being demanded by other pianists?

LOA:    It is also something that people are demanding.  I am sometimes shocked when I come to concert halls and the piano is very brilliant.  I ask the tuner, “Why do you make it so hard?” and they say that people ask for it as well.  [See my Interview with Franz Mohr, chief concert technician for Steinway & Sons, 1968-92.]

BD:    Can’t you ask for it to be made a little less harsh just for your specific performance?

LOA:    I can, but it’s not possible to change it so much when you just arrive the day before the concert.  It’s very often the character of the instrument as well, which are now very big-sounding and hard-sounding.  I guess if enough people were complaining about it, they would start changing it.

BD:    Since the major cities have a group of pianos for you to choose from, shouldn’t they have some that are brilliant and some that are less brilliant?

LOA:    Yeah, and actually some places they have.  They will often have, for example, a German Steinway and an American Steinway.  I have to say, though, that most people prefer the German Steinways, though I very often prefer the American ones.  I find those thinner in sound.  They have more warmth, but they’re thin.

BD:    How is the touch?

LOA:    The touch on American Steinways is often lighter in a way, but that’s very individual.  I’m more concerned about when it sounds good than I am about it being mechanically more comfortable.

BD:    You practically never get to play on your own instrument, at least in concert.  You go from city to city.  How long does it take to make that piano your own?

LOA:    With some pianos I never could make them my own!  But I often will arrive the day of the concert and spend a couple of hours to get used to the piano.  That can be enough.  With some pianos you can just sit down and it is your friend immediately!  It really depends.  All those pianos are like persons.  One Steinway is not the same as another Steinway.  It’s really exciting every time when you go onstage and try a new piano.

BD:    Does the piano change at all if you come back to the same instrument next year or two years later?

LOA:    Oh, it may change a lot!  It’s incredible how important a good piano tuner and a technician is, really.  I come from Norway, and often there we don’t have good technicians.  If people buy a huge piano for a new home, they think, “Ah, wonderful, we have a new Steinway,” and manage to get money to pay for it.  But then they don’t think about the fact that it has to be looked after.  It will be wonderful when it’s new, and three years later will be awful.

andsnesBD:    It has to take care and feeding like a cherished pet!

LOA:    Absolutely.

BD:    Should the public be aware of the fact that it needs so much tuning and regulation?

LOA:    They shouldn’t.  If it’s out of tune, they will be aware of it!  [Both laugh]

BD:    But should they be aware of how much effort it takes on the part of the instrument, not just on the part of the performer?

LOA:    It’s interesting, I guess, for the audience to know how much work goes into what is happening on the platform, both regarding the instrument and regarding the music.

BD:    You said you have to get used to the piano.  Are you getting used to the piano, or is the piano getting used to you?

LOA:    It goes both ways, of course, but I guess I’m more flexible than the piano!  [Laughs]  A good piano is remarkably flexible, but I like that kind of excitement upon coming to a new hall and trying a piano.  And when it’s a bit different from last night, you play instinctively different, as you do in a new hall as well.  You get new things back from the hall that you didn’t get the night before.  So you play differently, and I think one should play differently.  One shouldn’t have only one recipe for all performances.

BD:    So even in a run of three or four performances, it’ll be different from night to night?

LOA:    Yes.  Of course there’s framework, but that’s the great thing about music
it’s happening in that very moment.  There should really be a feeling that it’s happening in the moment and that something special happens.

BD:    Does the size of the hall influence how you play
if you’re in a very intimate chamber hall, or a great big barn of a hall, or even outdoors?

LOA:    Yes.  Obviously in a large hall you have maybe to give a wider dynamic range sometimes to make it more expressive, or to show the whole dynamic range of a piece, to reach the back row.  But I would say that I prefer playing in smaller halls, because then you can know that the audience can hear every detail, and can hear all the voices and what you do.

BD:    Are the audiences different from city to city and country to country?

LOA:    A bit, but I feel like if something good is happening onstage, most audiences will notice.  And if there is something boring happening, then they will also not be following it very well.  In a way there is some difference.  In Germany I find there is an audience of knowledge, and in Japan there’s a very quite audience, but they are not very different.

BD:    Are they appreciative?

LOA:    Yes, most of the time!  [Both laugh]

BD:    What advice do you have for audiences who come to a piano concert?

LOA:    It demands more than people think.  When I go to a concert myself, I find that if I’m tired, for example, I don’t get much out of it.  Also, because you come from the street, from a lot of noise, sitting in a car going directly into a huge hall, if you’re going to hear a Mozart sonata the sound is not very big.  We are used to such a high noise level in this society, so actually to be part of the audience demands a lot.  You have to really concentrate.  I find that some people think they can just sit down and get entertained, which it’s not all about.  It’s really about participating and really having open ears to everything that’s happening on stage.

BD:    When you play a concert, how much is art and how much is entertainment?  And where is the balance?

LOA:    I never think of it as entertainment, and I should never do that, so I guess I’m the wrong person to ask.  What I’m trying to do on the stage is create art.  The visual thing with a concert is not necessarily entertainment.  I find the gestures that musicians do onstage, if they fit with the music then that’s not cheap.  A gesture is really important, and it may be also important for the sound of the music.  So what is happening visually on the stage often is not something you put on to make it look interesting or exciting or to entertain.

BD:    You are saying you are really you, and any gestures you make are really from the music?

LOA:    Yes.  I try to be that the stage.

BD:    [With a gentle nudge and a big smile]  You’re not a phony???

LOA:    [Laughs]  No, I’m not.

*     *     *     *     *

BD:    Is the music that you perform for everyone?

LOA:    [Pauses for a moment]  I like to think so, but of course it’s not.  People like different kinds of music.  I was mentioning that it demands a lot to be part of an audience.  It demands a lot to listen to new pieces; when you know a piece, it’s easy to appreciate it if you’ve heard it several times.  One has to get used to listening to classical music, and a good beginning is to go to concerts and hear pieces there.  I always find if I go to a concert and listen to a good performance, then I will remember the piece better than if I listen to the same piece on a recording.  If you listen to the recording after having been to the concert, then you will remember it quite clearly.

BD:    You re-emphasize it into your mind?

LOA:    Yeah.

BD:    You’ve made a number of recordings and you mentioned the next one will be a live recording, but the previous ones were made in the studio.  Do you play differently for the microphone than you do for the live audience?

andsnesLOA:    I try not to.  What I’m really after in my recordings is a real live feeling, that it’s supposed to sound like a performance.  When listening to recordings I’m very often disappointed that it doesn’t sound like a performance; it sounds like notes.  This also comes from the way people record these days.  I would say most people record in small takes; that means a few bars, or maybe one page.  Then they repeat that and then do the next segment.  Or they will do a lot of patching.  They will maybe do one or two complete performances, and lots of patching.  It’s a real hassle to put it together.

BD:    I assume you’re trying to avoid that.

LOA:    I am really trying to avoid that because it doesn’t make it sound like a performance
— and that comes very clearly through.  I’m really surprised that people do it that way.  So when I’m recording, I try to play complete movements absolutely all the time.  It’s amazingif I’m trying to do a small patch, which I do sometimes — when I listen to it, it’s much more boring because what you do now is a consequence of what you did ten bars earlier and also five minutes earlier.  So if you play a whole sonata, for example, you may find that the last movement is very different than if you’re doing it separately, because you have all the music.  You have the other movements already done, and then you play the last movement differently.  I find this very interesting because it shows that music also works on the long term basis.  Therefore when I record big pieces like sonatas, I like to do sometimes complete sonatas to see what comes out.

BD:    Record the whole thing once and then work with that?

LOA:    Yeah.  Maybe even the whole sonata twice, and then complete movements.

BD:    Are you pleased with the recordings you’ve made so far?

LOA:    Yes, I am quite pleased, actually.  I have a very good crew and a great producer who’s very understanding of these questions that we are talking about now.  And that is extremely important, that you have somebody editing that understands these things.  Otherwise they can actually destroy the music by editing too much.

BD:    You’re not the one that selects the takes?

LOA:    No, the producer does it.  Of course I will listen to the master tape, and then if I find some things are not working, I ask for another take.

*     *     *     *     *

BD:    You’re about to turn twenty-five.  Are you at the point in your young career that you want to be at this age?

LOA:    Yes, I think it feels quite natural at the moment, the way it’s developing, but things are really happening.  I’m glad it didn’t happen before it happened with me, that I didn’t start playing concerts when I was thirteen or fourteen.  I’m glad I didn’t have parents pushing me.  So I guess it has happened at the right time.  It feels good.

BD:    Do you have enough concerts each year?

andsnesLOA:    I play around seventy to seventy-five concerts each year, and that’s about how much I want to do.  I probably could have played more, but I want to have periods where I study new repertoire, and just have some holiday as well.  It’s important for me to be at home for periods, and also have a social life and friends.  So when I’m traveling I don’t like to be away from home for more than three weeks in one go.

BD:    That’s good.  I’m glad you’re keeping that and I hope you’ll keep that for the rest of your career.

LOA:    I hope so, too!  [Both laugh]

BD:    What advice do you have for younger pianists who want to have a career?

LOA:    I don’t know if I have good advice, other than really trusting your instincts, and trusting what you really believe in, what you really feel about music.  There are many persons who maybe will push you in that and this direction
everyone from teachers to critics — and it’s important, at the end of the day, to say that you did what you really believed in.

BD:    What advice do you have for someone who wants to write piano music these days?

LOA:    Oh, my goodness!  That’s even more difficult to answer!  Please write something that really uses the instrument!  [Laughs]  There isn’t much piano music around now, maybe because people think that the opportunities were so wonderfully used.  We talked about Rachmaninoff as the high peak of pianistic tradition.  It seems like composers are finding other mediums than the piano.  It’s quite rare to find piano music today that is well-written for the piano, that looks like there’s a pianist who wrote it, not the computer!

BD:    [With mock horror]  You don’t want to be just a little robotic technician???

LOA:    No, please no!  [Both laugh]

BD:    Is playing piano fun?

LOA:    Yes, it really gives me a lot of pleasure.  Sometimes it varies and I get sick and tired of it, but most of the time it is fun.  But it’s also fun because there is so much wonderful music.  That’s what I’m feeling absolutely all the time.  It’s a real problem because every great composer has written so much for piano, that for one life there is too much to choose from.  I always have plans of what to do next.

BD:    Are you going to pay particular attention to some of the Norwegian composers such as Svendsen or Larsson?

LOA:    Well, Svendsen doesn’t have any piano music, so that’s easy!  His is symphonic productions.  But yes, and I think in a way, in our time it’s important to be local and regional, or national if you want say that, in music.  Because we are being so cosmopolitan today and we want to do every kind of music, musicians are being told they have to do everything from Bach to contemporary music.  Of course it’s important to know lots of music, but still, it’s very interesting to hear a French pianist playing Ravel with a French taste, or especially twenty years ago, to have a Russian pianist playing Tchaikovsky.  It’s a shame if we really lose all that.  And I shouldn’t necessarily have to do Albeniz’s piano music as easily as Grieg.  There is a certain Nordic feeling about that music that maybe is more in my blood, and should be more in my blood than maybe American music.

BD:    Are you coming back to Chicago?

LOA:    I hope so.  There is no definite plan.

BD:    I hope you will come back; this was a wonderful concert.  Thank you very much for speaking with me.

LOA:    Thanks a lot.





The internationally acclaimed pianist Leif Ove Andsnes has been referred to as “an eminently sensual musician, an artist capable of grace and introspection” by the Financial Times whilst the BBC Music Magazine commented on "how hard it is to over-praise the vitality and distinction of this princely pianist."

In addition to giving recitals and playing concertos each season in the world’s leading concert halls and with the all the foremost orchestras, Andsnes is an avid chamber musician who joins select colleagues each summer at Norway’s Risør Festival of Chamber Music, of which he is co-artistic director. The New York Times has placed Risør amongst the top 10 musical events of the year.

andsnesLeif Ove Andsnes opened the 2009/2010 season in Copenhagen performing Rachmaninov Piano Concerto no. 2 with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra and Thomas Dausgaard. He went on to perform the same work with the Bergen Philharmonic under Andrew Litton and then moved his attention to Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto no. 4 which he performs this season with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and Stephane Deneve, the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra and Gustavo Dudamel and the Academy of Santa Cecilia and Antonio Pappano. In May 2010 Andsnes performed and recorded Rachmaninov’s fourth concerto with the London Symphony Orchestra and Antonio Pappano for release this Autumn by EMI Classics.

Andsnes’ major project in the autumn of 2009 saw the culmination of several years of planning for a programme centered around Mussorgsky’s epic piano cycle “Pictures at an Exhibition“ which was premiered at New York’s Lincoln Center in November 2009 and toured throughout Europe with performances in Brussels, London, Paris, Hamburg, Berlin, Munich, Cologne, Oslo, Stavanger, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Naples and Moscow. With sponsorship from Statoil "Pictures Reframed" saw the collaboration of Andsnes and South African artist Robin Rhode who created a video and still imagery installation for a unique programme culminating in Mussorgsky's masterpiece. EMI Classics released “Pictures Reframed” on both CD and DVD and Norwegian TV documented the project on film.

Other highlights of the current season include the world premiere of a new work written by Danish composer Bent Sørensen which Andsnes performed with the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra in Oslo in October and performances of Mozart Piano Concerto no. 23, K488 with the New York Philharmonic and Alan Gilbert over the New Year. In January he performed the same work at the famous Salzburg Mozartwoche with the Vienna Philharmonic and Nikolas Harnoncourt and remained in Salzburg for a chamber music concert of Mozart and Kurtag with Antje Weithaas, Nicolas Alstaedt, Kim Kashkashian and Jorg Widmann before embarking on a recital tour of Spain, Italy and the Netherlands which also included recitals in London and Warsaw. In March 2010 he toured Japan and Asia with the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra, leading concerts of Mozart piano concertos from the piano.

As an exclusive EMI Classics artist, Andsnes has recorded over 30 discs spanning repertoire from Bach to the present day, been nominated for seven Grammies and awarded many international prizes including 4 Gramophone Awards to date. In addition to "Pictures Reframed" he released “Shadows of Silence”, features works by the Danish composer Bent Sørensen and the French Marc-André Dalbavie both of which works Leif Ove Andsnes premiered at New York’s Carnegie Hall and London’s Proms respectively. Other repertoire on the disc includes solo works by Kurtag and Lutoslawski’s piano concerto recorded live with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and Franz Welser-Möst.

Leif Ove Andsnes has received Norway’s most distinguished honor, Commander of the Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav. In 2007, he received the prestigious Peer Gynt Prize, awarded by members of parliament to honor prominent Norwegians for their achievements in politics, sports, and culture. Andsnes has also received the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Instrumentalist Award, the Gilmore Artist Award, four Gramophone Awards and seven Grammy nominations – including a nomination for this year’s Awards for his latest recording of Mozart piano concertos with the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra. Saluting his many achievements, Vanity Fair named Andsnes one of the “Best of the Best” in 2005.

Andsnes was born in Karmøy, Norway, in 1970 and studied at the Bergen Music Conservatory under the renowned Czech professor Jiri Hlinka. Over the past decade he has also received invaluable advice from the Belgian piano teacher Jacques de Tiège, who, like Hlinka, has greatly influenced his style and philosophy of playing. Andsnes cites Dinu Lipatti, Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, Sviatoslav Richter, and Géza Anda among the pianists who have most inspired him. Andsnes currently lives in Copenhagen and Bergen, and also spends much time at his mountain home in Norway’s western Hardanger area. He is a professor at the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo, a Visiting Professor at the Royal Music Conservatory of Copenhagen and a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music.


January 2010




© 1995 Bruce Duffie

This interview was recorded in Chicago on January 5, 1995.  Portions (along with recordings) were used on WNIB three months later, and again in 2000.  It was also used on WNUR in 2003.  This transcription was made and posted on this website in 2010.

To see a full list (with links) of interviews which have been transcribed and posted on this website, click here.

Award - winning broadcaster Bruce Duffie was with WNIB, Classical 97 in Chicago from 1975 until its final moment as a classical station in February of 2001.  His interviews have also appeared in various magazines and journals since 1980, and he now continues his broadcast series on WNUR-FM, as well as on Contemporary Classical Internet Radio.

You are invited to visit his website for more information about his work, including selected transcripts of other interviews, plus a full list of his guests.  He would also like to call your attention to the photos and information about his grandfather, who was a pioneer in the automotive field more than a century ago.  You may also send him E-Mail with comments, questions and suggestions.