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.  

Asia #5

After leaving Bali we flew to Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, and peformed at the Norwegian Embassy. In the audience were also representatives from the UN in addition to the ambassadeurs and other Norwegians living or travelling through Jakarta, which is an amazeingly huge city by the way. After travelling much of the world you little by little start to realize exactly how small Norway is....but also how wonderful it is to play music by great composers from a small country like Norway in a very big world...There can definitly not be anything more Norwegian than beeing a Norwegian and playing or listening to Norwegian music abroad. During this concert we got a new and very special fan in the audience :)

Asia #4

An amazing place you just have to visit when you travel through Bali where you get traditional Norwegian food in a very, very exotic and exentric place, is "Mormors Hus" (Norwegian for "Grandma´s House") in Kuta, Bali. We made a pit stop there before we took off to Jakarta, and served some Norwegian folk music and a little taste of Aksel´s internal madness before dinner...

Asia #3

On tuesday we performed our second concert (after a teaser-concert earlier the same day) at Gateway College for approximately 100 wonderful Norwegian students.
For the occation the arrangers had rented a very good Yamaha grand piano - which made Aksel
blossom quite much! During the performance all you could hear appart from the music was the waves from the ocean, palm trees conducting the music with its leaves and... the sweat dripping from Bjarne and Aksel - it was SO humid on tuesday, and the result can be seen on Aksel´s t-shirt.... is it? no it can´t be...yes, isn´t it - a heart of loving sweat...?

Asia #2

Our first concert yesterday blasted off with an amazing audience - the enthusiastic Norwegian students from GoStudy. We opened the concert with Halvorsen´s Norwegian Dance nr. 2 and danced through the rest of program at the very cool "Barcode" run by a very cool Dutch owner. Pastor and impressario Svein Helge Rødahl is very happy that we now are rolling and rocking Bali with funky chamber music! Today Aksel went running on the beach at 7 am (freakin´morning bird) and witnessed an amazing Hindu ceremony. Aksel came home speachless and is now considering joining the ceremony tomorrow! Next concert today is at Gateway College, but before that - Aksel and Bjarne is going surfing on Kuta beach!

photos: Vegard Giskehaug

We're going to Asia!

In two days Café de Concert, represented by Bjarne Magnus Jensen (violin) and Aksel Kolstad (piano) is launching the concept in South-East Asia, in collaboration with the wonderful priest and adventuror Svein Helge Rødahl. Once we get the tour going nice and easy we will also do some benefit concerts for children and perform in very poor areas where classical music - or music in general - is not often experienced by children at all. We are very excited about the tour - and we have heard so much about the wonderful Thai Airways so who knows - maybe we don´t ever want to leave the plane..

If some of you might be in the neighbourhood, just email us and we´ll send you the specific adress of where we are performing.

Here is our tour-schedule:

15th of feb, 19.00: Concert for the GoStudy-students, Seminyak, Bali.
16th of feb: Lunch-concert, somewhere in Bali....
16th of feb, 19.00: Concert for the Gateway College-studens, Jimbaran, Bali.
17th of feb, 19.00: Concert at "Mormors hus", Kuta
18th of feb, 18.00: Concert in ambassadeur Hommes recidens, Jakarta, Indonesia.
19th of feb, 12.00: Concert at the Juton-fabric, Jakarta.
19th of feb: Concert for the Gateway College-project
20th of feb, 19.00: Concert at the Norwegian Seamen´s Church, Singapore.
21th of feb 17.00: Concert-performance at the Norwegian Seamen´s Church, Singapore
24th of feb: Concert at the Norwegian Seamen´s Church, Pattaya, Thailand.

Elingaard Manor = Nordic Chamber Music Center

On December 13th Café de Concert unwrapped a special christmas-concert for the inhabitants of Fredrikstad at Elingaard Manor: "Mozart´s Christmasparty". There was a record high full house and the critics wrote "Marvellous Mozart". This was also the beginning for the establishment of Nordic Chambermusic Center at Elingaard, where Café de Concert will use its wide network and invite ensembles and orchestras to have workshops and perform the result in an open concert as well as being a center for contemporary film making.

Café de Concert has received 200.000 NOK to participate in establishing this center and will in 2010 produce 3 big concerts with various large ensembles and orchestras in addition to the 4-5 even bigger projects in 2011. One of the main goals is to gather all classical activities from various scandinavian mansions at Elingaard Manor.

Scholarship from Tom Wilhelmsen Foundation

The Artisic Director of Café de Concert, Aksel Kolstad, was recently given a scholarship worth 30.000 NOK from the Tom Wilhelmsen Foundaiton in Norway to contribute to his work and studies in New York. Kolstad is very thankful and is looking forward to bring back more projects from the US to Norway as a result of the scholarship.

Steinway Hall opens up its heart to Café de Concert

Aksel had a wonderful meeting with Vivian Chiu, Peter Goodrich and the amazingly funny piano tuner from Portugal. Now Café de Concert is planning future concerts in the lobby of the Steinway Hall.

Kolstad was so fortunate to be able to rehears in the wonderful basement where all of history´s greatest pianists have been rehearsing - and still are.
On the grand piano next to the one Aksel was practicing on, he found a reservation for a familiar name in Norway - so Aksel wrote a short message on his business-card for him.

Great meeting with Caffe Vivaldi

Our New York producer, Leat Sabbah, and I had a great meeting today with Ishrat - the owner of the famous Caffe Vivaldi down town. Cafe de Concert will use Caffe Vivaldi as its main base in New York with concerts twice a week starting January 2010.

The CdC logo will be put up on the windows and the concept will blossom with great performers at the café and also new projects outside the café which will be lead by our three producers in NY, Leat Sabbah, Yemi Gonzales and Gabrielle Fink

Impressions of Norway

Innovation Norway has started a new and wonderful trend in New York by presenting different impressions of Norway through design, architecture, gastromoni and music - this time at the residence of Norway's Consul General Sissel Breie at Park Avenue and 55th street in Manhattan.

Aksel Kolstad and Café de Concert were so fortunate to represent classical music as one of the impressions of Norway that was presented in the US yesterday. Aksel Kolstad also hosted the whole event and presented Moods of Norway, Snøhetta, the wonderful Norwegian chef Gunnar Hvarnes and of course also Café de Concert - all presented in hard core and entertaining Café de Concert-style.

Kolstad performed the Grieg piano-trio with two of CdC´s newest producers in NY, Gabrielle Fink (violin) and Leat Sabbah (cello) after performing one of his own solo pieces for piano. At the end of the event Filip Pogadi (violin) and Colin Brooks (viola) joined forces with Gabrielle and Leat and gave an outstanding performance of Grieg´s 1st movement from his string quartet in g minor.

Kolstad's opening words of the event:

"Norway is a young nation. Before the second world war most Norwegians were more or less peasants and fishermen...but then we found oil. The rest is history. Some call it a petroleum farytale. I call it pure luck. We were lucky enough to have smart men and women invest and develop our new treasure. But our greatest treasure of all, is our culture. So now we invest our petroleum money in culture and tradition."

Pictures by Berit Hessen.

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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