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Norwegian Violinist Vilde Frang

Vilde Frang has been an acclaimed violinist since she was a young girl in Oslo. She continues to rack up an impressive array of performances and recordings. The Guardian described the arch of her career as “prodigy to virtuoso,” and she’s not yet close to finished.

She was born in 1986 in Oslo, Norway to a musical family. Her father and her sister both play the double bass. Vilde told The Guardian that she expected to play the double bass as well and was rather disappointed to be playing such a small instrument when her father insisted she take up the violin. Her father explained to her that the family car couldn’t handle a third double bass. Vilde hated the violin…at first. She explained, “I had in my head an idea as to how I wanted things to sound and this thing hardly made any sound at all." 

Vilde adapted and began her career quite young. Here are some early highlights: 

  • She began playing the violin when she was four years old. 
  • Her earliest public performance was playing the Carmen Fantasy with the Norwegian Radio Orchestra when she was 10 years old. 
  • At 13 years old, she debuted with Mariss Jansons and the Oslo Philaharmonic Orchestra, again performing the Carmen Fantasy. 

In the early years, Vilde studied at Barratt Due Musikkinstitutt in Oslo, but then moved to Germany to continue her education.  She studied with Kolja Blacher at Musikhochschule Hamburg and Ana Chumachenco at the Kronberg Academy. She was also mentored by German violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter. 

She signed an exclusive record contract with Warner Classics and has released five albums with the label. 

  • Her first album was Prokofiev & Sibelius: Violin Concertos (2010) was popular with audiences and critics. Vilda was named EMI Classics’ Young Artist of the Year 2010. The Strad reviewed her debut album, writing “What makes this recording so special is not so much Frang's seductive, sinewy yet voluptous tone, nor her effortless technical mastery; it is her startling emotional sincerity and inspired musical imagination that rivet the attention.” 
  • Her most recent album is Krongold & Britten: Violin Concertos (2016), which Gramophone described as “A hugely impressive recording, Vilde Frang’s brilliant control and dramatic intensity as assured in the lush themes of Korngold’s Concerto as in the technical extremes of Britten’s.” Gramophone named this album the “Concerto Recording of the Year.”

Vilde was unanimously awarded the Credit Suisse Young Artist Award in 2012, making her debut with the Vienna Philharmonic under Bernard Haitink at the Lucerne Festival. Some of her other impressive performances include: 

  • Solo performances with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Berlin Philharmonic, Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala, London Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Sydney Symphony, and the St. Petersburg Philharmonic. 
  • Appearing at music festivals all over the world, including the London Proms and Prague Spring Music Festival. 
  • Performing with the following conductors and musicians: Leonard Slatkin, Vladimir Jurowski, David Zinman, Gidon Kremer, Renaud Capuçon, and Martha Argerich. 

Vilde performs on an 1864 Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume violin, one of two violins made in that year still in existence. The other 1864 Vuillaume is on display at the Musee d'Art in Geneve. 

She is spending the 2017 summer touring in Europe. In addition to her performance schedule, Vilde is also a professor at the Norwegian Academy of Music. If you want to hear Vilde talk about her life and her music in her own voice, check out this video here, which includes some clips of her performing.

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