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photo: Thor Østbye

A few nights ago, I watched the national Tv news, and they had an intervju with the young rising star Ragnhild Hemsing. The Norwegian Broadcasting Corp followed her debut CD release, and it was so great to see that they presented her as a remarkably poised artist.

I’ve met Ragnhild Hemsing from time to time, since she was a little girl, and had the pleasure of following her great career, while she has been swiftly emerging as a unique classical violin talent.

photo: Jan Alsaker

I’ve bought her CD, and Ragnhild Hemsings playing is supreme! Ragnhild’s unique upbringing, deeply immersed in the rich folk music traditions of Norway enables her to be one of the first artists to successfully merge the instantly identifiable characteristics of Norwegian folk and classical performance in a young, fresh and entirely contemporary fashion.

photo: Massimo Leardini

Ragnhild Hemsing was born in 1988 into the heart of the Norwegian folk region, Valdres. She began to play the violin at 5 years of age and, showing exceptional talent, was invited to enroll at the prestigious Barratt Due Institute of Music in Oslo at the age of nine. Ragnhild is currently taking violin lessons in Vienna from the renowned teacher Prof. Boris Kuschnir. Ragnhild performs a broad range of repertoire and is already an artist of astonishing versatility, she is in demand across the full range of repertoire as a concerto artist, recitalist and chamber musician. She supplements her large repertoire of standard solo classical works for violin with more unusual and complex works written for the Hardanger fiddle. In addition she actively seeks opportunities to perform works by contemporary Norwegian composers who specifically draw on folk traditions in their music. Ragnhild’s most notable contemporary collaboration is her work with the young Norwegian choreographer, Hallgrim Hansegård. Ragnhild and Hallgrim have performed ‘YR’, by Norwegian composer Lasse Thoresen, throughout Norway and it is this work she now has recorded for Simax records.

 At only 13 years of age Ragnhild made her debut with the Bergen Philharmonic where she performed the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto. She made her debut with the Trondheim Symphony Orchestra that same year, and the following year was invited to make her debut with the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra. Since then she has also performed abroad with orchestras including the Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Ukrainian National Philharmonic Orchestra, Kazan State Orchestra in Russia, St Marks Symphony Orchestra in Italy and Ashland Symphony Orchestra in the USA.

Hemsing has given guest appearances at all of the major Festivals and concert halls across Norway including recent appearances at the Bergen International Festival, the Oslo Chamber Music Festivals, Hardingtonar Festival and Førde International World Music Festival where she has been combining folk programmes with classical repertoire, often sharing the stage with well-known artists from across the world. As a recitalist she has also performed at the Wigmore Hall, the Verbier Festival, Bellerive Festival in Switzerland and AlpenKlassisk in Germany, amongst others. In 2011 she will debut with the Minnesota Orchestra and at the Cheltenham Festival.

Ragnhild has been the recipient of many prizes, including First Prize and European Union Prize at the Kocian International Violin Competition in the Czech Republic, First Prize and Special Prize at the 2003 European Music Prize for Youth (Chamber Music), held in Austria, as well as winning all of Norway’s major youth competitions. A well-known artist on Norwegian radio and TV, Ragnhild’s professionalism and versatility means she is a natural choice for a wide range of appearances with recent high profile engagements including the Nobel Peace Prize Concert and at the Spellemann prize award (Norwegian Grammy Awards). During 2010 she and her sister, Eldbjørg Hemsing recorded a 60 minute documentary together with the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation on the life of the famous Norwegian violinist Ole Bull.

Ragnhild Hemsing plays on a Francesco Ruggeri Violin built in Cremona in 1694 kindly on loan from the Dextra Musica Foundation.

photo: Jan Alsaker

Ragnhild Hemsing is influenced by Classical European, classical Norwegian and traditional Norwegian music. To listen to her CD, is in a way listening to all at once. Enjoy!