About Aksel Kolstad

Franz Liszt of our time (Gothenburg Post)

Aksel Kolstad, pianist and composer, had his debut in Carnegie Hall in 2010.  Aksel Kolstad, a former Metier Artist in Residence, born 1981 in Oslo, Norway, completed his bachelor degree under Prof. Sigurd Slåttebrekk at The Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo in 2006. He completed his master degree at the same adacemy and also with Prof Slåttebrekk, performing George Gershwin´s piano concertos. He has performed solo recitals in Tallinn, Latvia, Russia, Portugal, France, England, Germany, Italy, USA, Japan, China, Indonesia, Thailand, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland Mexico, Australia, Turkey, Romania, Hungary, Ukraine, Poland. As a soloist with orchestra in Russia, Poland, Ukraine, Norway. He is known for his virtuoso variations on historical music combined with humor / stand up.

Live in Gamle Logen, Oslo
Live in Gamle Logen, Oslo, Gershwin Variations

Kolstad has performed in most of the biggest chamber music festivals in Norway and has also performed much in Estonia and Russia, where he has had a lot of TV and radio performances as well. He had his debut concert in Carnegie Hall in October 2010 with a full house and a standing ovation. Kolstad studied composition with Wolfgang Plagge and has since the age of 17 performed his own virtuoso works for piano solo in many countries all over the world already. He has also conducted many of his orchestral works. American press has called him “The New Victor Borge”. Swedish press has called him “The Franz Liszt of our time”. 

"The Franz Liszt of our time" - Göteborgsposten
"Quentin Tarantino of classical music" - TIME Magazine
​"One of few that blends out with a remarkable way of presenting classical music" - New York Times
"Classical pioneer" - Dagsavisen
"Kolstad´s Gershwin performances are brilliant" Tønsberg blad
"The New Norwegian Victor Borge" - Jeffrey Gurian, comedy writer
"What Aksel does which sometimes amazes the audience the most
is that he turns the concert in to a story-telling magical moment." - Cappuccino Concerts, Perth, Australia

Café de Concert is a place where classical music melts with fantastic contemporary art. Kolstad first started Café de Concert in 2003 and in 2009 he opened the worlds first classical concert café, creating an urban buzz and creative marketing of classical music.


When Aksel Kolstad was two years old he asked his mother, pointing at the moon, if they could go there. His mother replied that "It may be just a bit too far away, Aksel". Then he immediately replied: "But we can use a ladder!?" 27 years later he wrote Richard Branson, asking if he could be the first musician to perform in space on Branson´s Virgin Galactic. This is somehow the best discription one could give Aksel Kolstad - makeing crazy and imaginative ideas come to life. Aksel started to play the piano and compose as soon as he was big enough to sit on a chair. His mother, former actress and singer Kirsti Kolstad started to improvise with little Aksel at the piano. At the age of four he started to take piano lessons each week with a piano teacher, the rest is history.
When Aksel was a child he liked to march around in the streets with many different instruments on top of a snare drum he had attached to his waist and played on all instruments, one after another. His mother and father were marching behind him, also with various instruments. His mother would put storybooks with pictures on the piano and Aksel would play the music he heard through looking at the pictures. Aksel loves fairytales. He made his own once, a story between him and the Sweedish Princess Madeleine. He wanted to make an urban fairytale and put music to it. So he became a royal pianist in His Majesty The King of Norway´s Royal Guard and wrote music for the Sweedish Princess and invited her to the soldier´s pramn night. This story is known almost all over Norway. Aksel´s father, Leon Hazan, was amongst a million things also the national basketball coach for Norway. Aksel played piano and basketball together until he was 17, then he had to choose. He chose music as a profession, but kept wearing his basketball sneakers. He considers usicians as athletes. And he mostly wears the colorful suits from Moods of Norway when performing solo. When he performs at Café de Concert, his own concept, he performs in jeans and t-shirt. Aksel is a classical rebell. He wants to make a cultural revolution. He fears nobody, and encludes everyone. He is probably the most fit pianist in the world, as he puts it him self: I may not the the world´s greatest pianist of all time, but I certainly may be the most fit classical pianist. Aksel loves to improvise live on stage and writes as easily for large ochestras as well as for piano solo. He puts together orchestras, writes for them, and cunducts them. But what Aksel does which sometimes amazes the audience the most is that he turns the concert in to a story-telling magical moment. Aksel is concidered as much of an actor as he is a msician. He collects alcohol, but doesn´t toch it him self. He likes to get wine for his birthday, then he stores it, and invites his friends for a house concert, serving the wine he was given - now giving it back, only with an even better taste. Aksel loves to play basketball, go kayaking, water-skiing, skiing on snow (as he is a typical Norwegian) and he adores to do pull-ups. He does over 50 pullups. Each birthday Aksel makes all of his friends sorrund him in a circle, counting 100 and the age he is celebrateing in push-ups. He allways carries his business cards on him, even when jogging. In addition to Norwegian he speaks, French, English, Turkish, quite well german and some italian. He loves to dive from high clifs and gets a rush out of meeting new people.