Café de Concert



Today - Café de Concert has become the atelier and concert gallery of the young and multitalented pianist and composer Aksel Kolstad. It took him 10 years to brand this concept and turn it into one of the most original and innovating classical concepts in the world. Here´s the story behind...... The Idea The origin and still driving force behind Café de Concert is to present classical music to a larger audience. The genre has by no means the same appeal as pop, rock or jazz. Creating a more relaxed atmosphere, and not to forget Kolstad´s magical ability to present classical music with humor and showmanship, it all results in a more intimate and fun concert format than the traditional solemn style. The idea that classical music can once again become popular music, the way it once was, is the motivation behind the concept Café de Concert. Classical concerts at cafés – Café de Concert recruits musicians, both students and professionals, to play classical music for the people. The goal is to stimulate as well as strengthen everyone’s interest in classical music. The level of musicianship is high, and with a relaxed, positive atmosphere, between the pieces, it is possible to have a cup of coffee, have something to eat or perhaps talk with the person sitting beside you. Café de Concert is an arena for all creative arts. In addition to musical performances, there are regular arts exhibitions and ballet/modern dance performances directed by CdC.  

Trio Valentin @ Café de Concert

All photos: Amanda O. Berg

Trio Valentin - a young prize winning pianotrio from The Norwegian Academy of Music had their first concert at Café de Concert on Apri 15th performing Brahms and Ravel pianotrios in addition to the Franck sonata for violin and piano. Oda Hilde, violin
Ivan Valentin, cello and Ole Christian Haagenrud, piano, performed like an already well experienced trio and rocked our crib like never before! Café de Concert is now embraceing this trio with the intention of shipping them to NYC and other cool cities around the globe for other great performances. Stay tuned, don´t miss their next performance at Café de Concert :)

Preparation backstage....

Kolstad just had to give them a funky introduction;)

Then, the party started :)

Kolstad´s wonderful mum, allways in charge of Øyvind Karlsen pløser!

And yes, then it was time for the minibasketball-tournament :D

LIV GLACER (left), one of Norway´s greatest pianists of all time, and her wonderful sister!!

The Aksel Kolstad Show

After touring once around the world with The Aksel Kolstad Show, Kolstad decided to come back to the roots where the show was created, in Oslo, one year ago this month!

Mother of Aksel, Kirsti Kolstad, is in carge of the wiener´s which are beeing served each concert!

Father of Aksel, Leon Hazen, chillin´ before the concert - makeing sure his son is ready Freddy, before "jump ball"

And after the concert everybody got Øyvind Karlsen wiener´s, champagne and participated in the traditional Café de Concert shoot-out and slam dunk minibasketball tournament! It was a wiiild ride! Check out our fanpage on facebook to see mindblowing videos!!

And SOMEBODY had a bit tooo heavy muscles so the hoop broke :D Scotch-tape to the resque!!

Gallery Café de Concert Oslo - grand slam opening

BMW cars, red carpet, champagne, celebreties, wiener sausages and classical music = Gallery Café de Concert!
We started off with a mini concert for all of our wonderful sponsors and partners at 7 pm. Musikk-Huset A/S, Steinway and Sons, BMW, Marthinussen Piano og Musikksenter, Geneva, Next Oslo, Øyvind Karlsen pølser CopyCat and "Basketballstore"... thank you so much for makeing this possible! Oda Hilde, Ivan Valentin and Ole-Christian Haagenrud gave us a sparkling taste of Grieg and Mendelssohn´s trios in c minor, "intermezzoed" by Kolstad performing his Harlequin Variations over a theme by Bach.

And at 8 pm the rest of the Café de Concert-groupies joined the party :)

"stay tuned, more photos from the party will be posted tonight...."

And let´s not forget the legendary mini-basketball tournament!!

"stay tuned, more photos from the tournamet will be posted tonight...."


Come on inside Gallery Café de Concert at Tjuvholmen in Oslo!
Take a look at our photo and paiting exhibitions, try out some of our great instruments, enjoy the chamber music concerts in the evenings, stay tuned on

Buy some food from Wayne´s Coffee or Edge Restaurant next door - or just bring something from your own refridgerator, work online, have your meetings here, get to know new compositions by young Norwegian composers in our little library or just chill out and relax :)

Book Café de Concert for private parties, or book a concert from us to where ever you´d like to have it. We´ll custumize everything you want. Café de Concert is the biggest impressario in the northern part of Europe with great young and established artists in world class.

And also - we got the best wiener sausages in the world - "Øyvind Karlsen pølser"
Mon-Fri 4-8 pm! Welcome to your own, urban living-room! Let´s dance !! :)

Café de Concert´s new crib in Oslo

In september 2009 we opened up the world´s first classical concert café - with concerts every day, sometimes even twice a day.
We proved to the world that we were able to do it. And now - we are doing something new. On February 18th we are opening the Café de Concert Gallery. A flag ship store for Café de Concert, with a brand new style. Two rooms faceing the wonderful seaside of Tjuvholmen in Oslo will be decorated into living-rooms with vintage "old school" furniture, with two grand pianos in each room. Back to the roots, Café de Concert is takeing you back to school, back to doing chamber music concerts where they first were held, in chambers, in living-rooms! And as you can see, Mr. Kolstad is very happy about this! (Jesus, he looks like he just recieved his first baby!!)

The front room will be a showroom where all the concerts will be held. Not as many as two each day, a little more exclusive this time - maybe a couple each month. The second room will be an "atelier", where composers, ensembles and other artists can work and experiment. So now we got an even better window to show the world what goes on in our minds, dear collegues. Let´s show them - papa´s got a brand new style! Don´t miss the grand opening, friends! Red carpet, champagne, BMW-cars, stars from the music industry performing, glam and lots of fun! Litimed invitations, so please email for reservations asap!

We have been blessed with a lot of sponsors, especially thank´s to the publisher Musikk-Huset A/S, we were able to seal this deal with Tjuvholmen KS, who gave us an extremely sweet deal. Steinway is allways in the paint with us, lending us yet again a fabulous grand piano. A lot of other great and exiting new sponsors have also trooped together and given Café de Concert the ultimate giant leap into makeing history once again. Tom Wilhelmsen Stiftelse, BMW, Geneva, Øyvind Karlsen and Bård and Mona Wendelborg.

Today it is 2 weeks before the grand opening. A lot has to be done before that, but I´d like to show you photos of the empty space as it is right now, and then show you the result in two weeks :)

Christmas gig for Statsbygg in Oslo

Café de Concert´s last gig for this year was at Statsbygg´s Christmas lunch today. Statsbygg built the fabulastic opera in Oslo, so it was very cool to perform for them at the supercool concert venue - the Sonja Hennie ball room at Oslo Plaza, for 400 spectators. Aksel and Jonas Båtstrand had a kick ass party on stage in between performing Halvorsen, Mozart and Beethoven.

From all of us, to all of you - a merry merry, Christmas!!

Café de Concert in New York

As the nights are getting colder and winter is catching up in New York City - Caffe Vivaldi is heating up, especially with a full house from Café de Concert! As we were standing outside watching in, we were wondering.... where can we sit? There were absolutely no open tables. Luxurious problem for the crew:)

The concert on Tuesday November 23rd had an extraodrinary energy - Rebekah Heller, bassoon, was on fire!

Starting off with a special piece for bassoon and cello (Amanda Gookin), written by Mozart, the audience got introduced to the wonderful music those two instruments can produce in a duo. As the concert continued, Heller and Gookin was joined by Jessie Mongommery, violin, and Nick Revel, viola. As a string quartet the musicians continued with Krommer and Devienne. The concert evening was an amazing experience, and those who were at Café de Concert for their first time said they would definitely come again!

Thank you all for coming, and we hope to see you again on our next concert on December 14th.

Askim, lovely Askim

Every time Café de Concert performs in Askim, it´s a full house. And not only that, it´s a full house with wonderful people in the audience. Gotta love that city! Aksel flew straight in from New York and performed in Askim the day after he landed in Oslo. Hm, wonder why all of the pieces he played had such slow tempos :D

Packed at Caffe Vivali

Tonight was a super night at Caffe Vivaldi, New York! Aksel performed with the magnificant Curtis Stewart and Amanda Gookin. Kicked the party off with Bartok´s 6 Rumanian dances, the continued with Schumann´s Fantasiestück before wrapping up with the piano trio by Debussy which he wrote when he was 18, just a teenager! The crowd at Vivaldi was great as usual, and after Debussy - the audience turned in to a rock concert-audience! Rock on!!

And then....the party began....!

CdC training program

Yo!! Remember me? I hope so, I am your conscience :-) Especially when it comes to physical activity and that upright posture. My name is still Sondre and I am very proud to be the one person Aksel trust in this matter. I hope you will learn to trust me too.

This months exercise: Alternated front raises with rubber band

Purpose: strengthening and conditioning the muscles keeping your
scapulae in the right place.

1) Fasten the rubberband in a doorknob. Stand upright holding your hands relaxed beside you.
2) Hold the handles firmly lift a straight arm(the right one) up and over your head. Simultaneously you pull the left arm beackwards beside you. Both arms pressing backwards, but one arm in the air and the other beside your hip.
3) Hold for a brief second then calmly bring your arms forward again.
4) Repeat but changing upper and lower arms.

How much: 2 series and 12-20 repetitions (you should feel a light
burning sensation in your muscles)

How often: 1-2 times pr week. Not the same day as important concerts as you may feel fatigued in your upper back before the concert is over. Why: Your upper back muscles keep your posture perfect for as long as they can. If they are out of shape they fatigue early giving you pain and bad posture. Bad posture will give back- and neck problems over time.

This months stretch: Chest, pectoralis minor

Purpose: releasing tension and lengthening the small pectoral muscle

1) Stand in a doorway with your left forearm and elbow touching the doorframe
2) Take a small step forward until you feel the stretch in your chest. Then lean forward a bit more.
3) Try to elevate your shoulder, this would give you a stretching feeling in the lower part of your chest, just next to your armpit.
3) Hold this stretch for 20-30 seconds, then push against the door frame with your elbows for 5 seconds. Relax and move forward for another inch or two. This will really stretch and you hold this for 20-30 seconds before you slowly release the pressure and bring your arm down. Now repeat with the right arm.

How much: 2 times as described above with 1-2 minutes rest in between.

How often: 1-2 times pr week. Especially after concerts and long lasting

Why: Your small chest muscle(pectoralis minor) is a quite strong muscle and will shorten fast if not stretched regurarily. And especially if you tend to lean on your elbows during your desk work.

These two exercises combined with the previous ones will keep your posture straight and hopefully keeping you away from pain. But hey - no pain, no game! Put your game face on, folks - and work that boty!!

Caffe Vivaldi, New York

On Thursday September 9th, Caffe Vivaldi (New York) was once again filled with entertainment, laughter and beautiful music. On stage this time were Nathaniel LaNasa and Illya Filshtinskiy, piano, Nick Revel, viola and Curtis Stewart, violin. These funky musicians gave us an enjoyable concert with music by Milhaud, Pleyel and Debussy.

They filled Caffe Vivaldi with a great atmosphere, humour, and performed an outstanding concert where they brought the audience all the way from California, through Wisconsin, to the European cities, Bruxel and Paris (performed through La Californienne, The Wisconsonian, La Bruxelloise and La Pariesienne). Caffe Vivaldi was packed with people! C u next time :)

Next concert is on October 8th @ 9p.m. starring Curtis Stewart, Amanda Gookin and Aksel Kolstad!

Café de Concert YouTube Channel

The history of Café de Concert

Café de Concert began a few days before the 19th of June 2003 when Aksel Kolstad together with a colleague performed live on Midt i Musikken, a classical music program on NRK radio P2. During the program, the trial concert was announced, to be held at Kastanjen restaurant on Bygdøy Allé in Oslo.

Visit the old Café de Concert media centre HERE

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