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.  

Halloween in Oslo

The last day of October, musicians from Oslo Camerata and Barratt Due perform "Dracula-Suite" by Philip Glass.

The legendary Ted Browning Dracula-film from 1931 with Bela Lugosi was shown later in the evening followed a Halloween-party with Halloween-menu in cafe.

Aksel falls in love with Belgrade

Aksel spent 10 wonderful days in this amazing town with a cultural history from another world and time. While walking down the historical road with old restaurants and cultural events, Aksel could simply just think of one word - amazing.

How could the Turkish people ever leave such a great city... Hundreds of years later, Belgrade was infact the first city where the outstanding conductor Zubin Mehta had his first professional engagement with Belgrade Philharmonic after he had fihished his studies. The 2nd trumpet-player of todays Belgrade Philharmonic, the virtuoso Aleksandar Soulnac, is together with Aksel Kolstad now preparing the first Café de Concert-concert in Belgrade in the little hall of the Philharmonic Orchestra to perform Aksel Kolstad´s Dalí-pieces (experience the Dalí-paintings and Kolstad´s Dalí-compositions on Aksel´s former website) for soloists and orchestra in addition to a couple of more compositions Kolstad will write for the same event. There will be put together a sinfonietta with musicians and soloists from Belgrade Philharmonic in addition to the exeptional pianist Andrijana Radivojevic. The sinfonietta, soloists and Aksel Kolstad will also present a new design for classical musicians on a traditional arena for both classical and contemporary music.

Café de Concert has heard of some interesting designers in Belgrade, but is also keen on presenting the Norwegian design from Moods of Norway (random bilde av Aksel i Moods fra arktivet) What do you say guys? Peder, Simen and Stefan...let´s rock Belgrade with Moods?

Parallell with this project, Café de Concert is going to put together a festival each spring at the Kulturni Centar Beograda in collaboration with the talented organizer Ljubica Babec from the center. These two projects is meant to be the start of a monthly café de concert concert-series in Belgrade at both the culture-center and perhaps also at the very cool and trendy café of the philharmonic orchestra - where they so very original typed the names of all of the first musicians who played in the orchestra.

Aksel made so many contacts in Belgrade thank´s to Andrijana Radivojevic, Café de Concert is very greatful for that! Our serbian producer Andrijana Vuckovic will absolutely have no troubles in administrating all of the great possibilities Radivojevic has given and showed us in Belgrade. Aksel was also amazed when he was taken to a restaurant called Little Bay, which almost looked like a mini-version of La Scala. And when he first set his feet in the restaurant (moja stopala su velika)he was completely "sold" when he heard classical music over the stereo. Several evenings each week this wonderful place has classical and jazz musicians entertaining the guests - the only thing that made Aksel´s heart bleed was that the music was played as background music... I believe the owner of Little Bay could be expecting a call from a young man from Norway with a great vision for Little Bay in the future... Maybe in a year or two Little Bay will be called Café de Concert...

To the young Norwegian´s heartbeating joy, Aksel experienced that Telenor has a supercool flagship store in Belgarde and is one of the leading phone-companies in Serbia. Yes, Aksel now has a Serbian phonenumber contracted by Telenor! Now wouldn´t it be great if Telenor would be interested in collaborateing with Café de Concert in Belgrade in the future...Something tells us that Aksel will not only make a phone call to the owner of Little Bay...

Belgrade, with all of its historical treasures and loving heart, made Aksel so inspired that he wrote these two compositions in two days when he was practising in the Kulturni Centar Beograd and recorded them with his iPhone. Listen to the first two minutes of each. "Two playful butterflies in love" & "A butterfly longing for his love"

New art exhibition at Café de Concert

For our press conference and until now we have had the pleasure of exhibiting the fine art of Monika Helgesen. Now we are proud to present our new exhibition with the wonderful artist painter Yvonne Jeanette Karlsen.

Come in for a cup of coffee or some great food while watching the wonderful art of Yvonne! See Yvonne's art in her mini gallery.

Creative Incubator in Tallinn, Estonia

Aksel had a succesful presentation of Café de Concert on the opening day of the Creative Incubator in Tallinn, Estonia. He was invited to Tallinn after the head of the Incubator in Tallinn, Anu Lõhmus, saw him do a Café de Concert-presentation in Berlin earlier this year. After the presentation Aksel played together wih the amazing violinist Kristina Kriit in the famous café in the old town in Tallinn called von Krahl Baar with lots of people and lots of fun!

We're open!

Today we had the first concert of many at our new café in Oslo!
As usual, the café was filled with an enthusiastic audience eager to hear what we had planned for this special evening. On tonights menu stood a mix of chamber orchestra, violin, piano trio, a small theatrical performance and of course plenty of hilarous stories between the peaces.
During the rehersals, we got a visit from the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation who made a news story about us, airing the same night at the evening news. You can see it here at 08:44

We're also proud to announce that there will be held at least one classical concert a day from this day on. Remember to keep up to date on our concert calendar.

Why is Harlekin crying - a post festival story

The circus is closed. Everybody went home. The streets are empty, and Harlekin has nowhere to go, his home has closed for the night. He strolls up the narrow streets, looking through window glasses. The rooms are all dark, everybody is a sleep. In the very end of the street lies a little café nobody goes to. Only Harlekin knows of it. He opens the café-door. A small candle is lit on one of the tables, next to a painting of Mona Lisa.

Harlekin smiles with tears in his eyes when he sees it. Mona Lisa knows Harlekin well. She likes when he comes to visit late at night. Next to Mona Lisa is an old piano. Harlekin sits down next to the piano and looks at the music lying on it. It´s the Goldberg-variations by Bach. Harlekin starts to cry. So does Mona Lisa. Halrekin starts to play. Then he looks at Mona Lisa and plays Bach the way she likes it.

Listen to Aksel Kolstad: Harlekins variations
(Live from the Fredrikstad Café de Concert-festival 2009)

Fredrikstad Café de Concert Festival 2009

Fredrikstad CdC festival 2009 is over for now and we're now preparing for the opening of the café in Oslo. During the 12 concerts spanning from solo piano to chamber orchestra and saxophone, the audience got to enjoy live classical music in numerous cafés in Fredrikstad. Thanks to all the cafés for generously opening the doors for us to perform in a unique atmosphere!

This year, we had extra focus on children and teenagers as they usually don't get exposed to classical music. On friday Aksel and Andrijana, the new producer for Norway, visited Greåker VGS to play for the students. The result was that many of the students showed up on the concerts the following days.

As you can see, our audience span from children to senior citizens.
We want to thank you for your participation in our festival!

And a huge thanks goes out to our sponsors, especially the staff at Radisson Blu for taking such good care of us.

Feel free to visit the media center gallery for more pictures.

Fredrikstad Café de Concert Festival

The traditional Fredrikstad CdC festival is being held at several concert venues throughout Fredrikstad these days. Since the opening concert on thursday, both young talents and established musicians have given café concerts in both traditional and untraditional venues. In high schools, intimate stages and cafés, we're trying to inspire and entertain our audience with a repertoire ranging from light classical music to contemporary music.

We're now half way through the festival, but a lot of great concerts are scheduled over the coming days. Worth mentioning is several concert with Fredrikstad Chamber Orchestra and a concert at Norways probably smallest venue - det konglelige norske humormuseum..

We hope to see you at the coming concerts and be sure to check out our festival site.

Feel free to check out the gallery in our media center.

Producer seminar at the café

Today we had the first producer seminar at the café. The main goal was to teach about the different parts of the CdC experience, to ensure that each and every concert will have that special CdC touch. From verbal presentation, dress code, programming, Aksel guided the producers through an evening at the café.

Successful press conference!

The press conference was absolutely packed with people and the atmosphere was extatic!
A lot of press showed up and Bjarne, Jan, Dimitris and Aksel gave a hell of a performance making the audience go completely nuts! We are finally there! Living our dream - we have created a new and urban café where classical music reaches out to EVERYBODY...every day! A place where musicians and other artists can meet and unite forces. Many thank´s to Stephan Barratt-Due and Eirik Birkeland representing both of the music institutions in Oslo who showed up for the press conference and did a very important live radio interview!

Come, enjoy Café de Concert at Henrik Ibsensgt. 60 A, in Oslo!

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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