Bergen Barokk was established by Frode Thorsen and Hans Knut Sveen in 1994 in connection with a concert series supported by the city arts department in Bergen and is today one of Norway’s leading early-music ensembles. The group has concertized and appeared in radio broadcasts in Scandinavia, Russia and USA. Their recordings on Simax Classics, BIS, Bergen Digital Studio and Toccata Classics include German, English, Italian and French repertoire.
The ensemble has since 2006 worked with the complete recording of Telemann’s cantata cycle “Harmonischer Gottes-Dienst”, a collection of 72 cantatas for all Sundays, Passiontide and feast days of the liturgical year. The project is a collaboration between The Grieg Academy (University of Bergen) and Toccata Classics, London. As the performing group in the project, Bergen Barokk has recorded 6 of the total 11 CDs. “A Holberg Recital” is Bergen Barokk’s 3 CDs series with music which is based on the Danish-Norwegian writer, essayist, philosopher, historian and playwright Ludvig Holberg’s musical taste and possible repertoire. Vol. 2 in this series will be published in 2010.
Bergen Barokk has collaborated with several ensembles through the recent years, some of them are Pratum Integrum (Moscow), Norwegian Soloists’ Choir and Barokksolistene (Norway). Bergen Barokk has performed on Festspillene i Bergen, Philadelphia Bach Festival, Moscow Early Music Festival.
The leaders of the Bergen Barokk are Frode Thorsen and Hans Knut Sveen. The core of performing members in Bergen Barokk is Frode Thorsen, Mona Julsrud, Markku Luolajan-Mikkola and Hans Knut Sveen. However, different demands in repertoire and instrumentation leads to a broad variation of participating musicians and ensemble sizes.
Bergen Barokk receives annual financial support from Arts Council Norway and Bergen City Council.
“So perfect a reproduction of the female alto voice is Franz Vitzthun’s countertenor that even a really close listening might not convince you it belonged to a male. He is truly amazing. And I have nothing but praise for the instrumentalists comprising the Bergen Barokk. Not a foot, or, should I say, a finger goes amiss. This is a brilliant release, right down to its booklet containing a scholarly essay, complete texts, and documentation on the instruments, performance materials, and the editions used, all in three languages. If I were giving an award for Baroque disc of the year, this one would win it. Urgently recommended.”
(Jerry Dubins, Fanfare Magazine, Nov 2009 on Vol. 2 of “Harmonishcer Gottes-Dienst”)