The remarkable rise of Norwegian siblings Mari and Hakon Samuelsen is the result of their artistry and enterprise. For more than 20 years on stage, the brother and sister-phenomen have connected with audience and musicians across the world. A chief aim of the Samuelsens is to enlarge and expand the repertoire for cello and violin. In autumn 2014 the duo will give the world premiere performance of a Double Concerto by Oscar-winning composer, James Horner, in the 175th anniversary with Royal Liverpool Philharmonic with conductor Vasily Petrenko.
Alongside international careers, Mari and Hakon Samuelsen have a strong rooth to their native Norway. Growing up in most beautiful surroundings outside Hamar, they have always felt a strong bound to their home-district. 10 Years ago they founded A Christmas Concert from Norway, Klassisk Julekonsert. This event presents friends and colleges of Mari and Hakon from their national and international relations. The concert have been hosted by HH. Princess Märtha Louise of Norway and broadcast on national and international tv-networks for the last five years. December 7th this year the concert will again take place in Vang Church, Hamar.
The Norwegian brother and sister have been shown great honour from the regional gouvernment and have received several Culture-prices over the years. In March 2014, Mari and Hakon returns as soloists for the official opening of the new concert house.
Mari and Håkon have appeared as soloists at venues including Carnegie Hall, Théatre des Champs-Elysées, Konzerthaus Berlin, Smetana Hall, Victoria Hall, Kremlin Hall, the Oslo Opera, Wolf Trap Centre in Washington DC and at the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam. The duo's highly acclaimed performances of the Brahms Double Concerto in Milan with I Pomeriggi Musicali in May 2011 resulted in immediate re-invitations for both 2011/12 and 2012/13 seasons.
This season, they returned to Milan with pianist, Behzod Abduraimov to perform Beethoven's Triple Concerto. In May 13 the duo made their debut with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra in UK-tour with Brahms double-concerto and conductor Alexander Shelly. In December they will return to Liverpool as soloists in the concert-serie, the Spirit of Christmas, with Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. The concerts will be presented by BBC's Classic FM's John Suchet and broadcast on December 23rd.
James Horner -Pas de Deux: Mari and Hakon Samuelsen
James Horner: Pas De Deux with Mari & Hakon Samuelsen. Album Trailer
Pas De Deux - James Horner - World Premiere
The dynamic, genre-defying Norwegian duo are discussing their hugely successful first major commission, Pas de Deux. It's a hypnotic, post-minimalist concerto for violin and cello by the Academy Award-winning film composer James Horner (Titanic, Avatar). It receives its world premiere recording here, and is partnered with hauntingly beautiful works by Arvo Pärt, Ludovico Einaudi, and Giovanni Sollima. Classical stars Mari and Håkon have performed individually at venues as prestigious as the Amsterdam Concertgebouw and Carnegie Hall, and since their early twenties have also worked as a duo. They've had spectacular successes: in 2004 they founded an annual Christmas Concert in Norway which is now broadcast into over 116 million homes internationally. But the lack of duo repertoire has always been a problem. There is just one acknowledged concerto masterpiece for their instruments (Brahms's Double Concerto in A minor), and a handful of other lesser-known pieces to play.
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theguardian asked five musicians taking part in the Barbican's Sound Unbound festival to create a playlist for a newcomer to classical music.
The playlist from siblings Mari and Håkon Samuelsen's mix centuries, styles and instruments and includes pieces of music, both old and new, that we've either performed a lot or just love listening to. Some of the tracks have been part of our lives since childhood, which for us holds a very strong and happy memory of life combining the Norwegian countryside (we grew up on a farm) and music. Others are fresh, recently discovered favourites. It is a mix of baroque and more contemporary hits, and of different instrumentation that always keeps the ear alert. Inevitably, some of these tracks also feature good friends of ours, either the musicians or the composers. SEE THE PLAYLIST
What other artists could successfully marry a solo Bach chaconne with cutting-edge minimalism? Cellist Håkon and violinist Mari Samuelsen bravely tack together mathematically opposite worlds like the French Baroque tradition and Philip Glass with ease.
The dynamic, genre-defying Norwegian duo have just released their hugely successful first major commission - Pas de Deux, a post-minimalist concerto for violin and cello by the late Academy Award-winning film composer James Horner. The hypnotic work is partnered on the album with hauntingly beautiful pieces by Arvo Pärt, Ludovico Einaudi, and Giovanni Sollima.
Classic FM's Jane Jones caught up with the Samuelsen's and found out exactly how they go about putting on such an adventurous programme. WATCH THE VIDEO
James Horner, Academy Award winning composer, died late last month when the two-seat plane he was flying went down in a field in Los Padres National Forest.
The composer had just recently returned to writing music for the concert hall after a 30-year hiatus spent working in movies. In an uncanny quirk of timing, the premier recording of his first new concert work since the 1980's was released less than a month before his death. The work, Pas de Deux, was commissioned by the brother and sister (cello and violin, respectively) Mari and Hakon Samuelsen for their debut recording on Mercury Classics. As the title suggests, Horner had the ballet in mind when creating the concerto, which eschews traditional structure. The composer described it as more of a "duet for violin and cello with orchestral accompaniment."
Mari and Hakon Samuelsen perform with conductor Vasily Petrenko and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, who also accompanied the pair in the works concert debut in November 2014. The audience loved the piece-many gave a standing ovation-but critical reviews were mixed. In the long run, concert goers will have a greater influence on whether or not the work will be programmed again, which seems likely.
The recording also features works by Arvo Part (Fratres), Ludovico Einaudi (Divenire) and composer Giovanni Sollima's Violoncelles, Vibrez! Or, in English, Cellos, Vibrate! Sollima is a cellist by training, and this work is an exploration of the sonic expressive capabilities of the instrument. It's a great showcase for Hakon Samuelsen and cellist Alisa Weilerstein, who joins him on this track woth Clark Rundell conducting the RLP. LISTEN TO THE Kent Teeters SEGMENT
Pas de Deux (2014) was the first concert work in 30 years from the late Academy Award-winning composer James Horner (Titanic, Avatar). The Concerto for Violin and Cello was commissioned and performed by the brother and sister duo of Mari (violin) and Hakon (cello) Samuelsen with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Vasily Petrenko. The album is completed with works by Pärt, Sollima and Einaudi that pair with Horner's post-minimalist soundscape.
Mari & Hakon Samuelsen's James Horner - Pas de Deux is a WFMT: Chicago 'New Release of the Week' on Mercury Classics
Featuring - Horner: Pas de Deux (Double Concerto): Part II (13:44); Part III (4:43)
Mari Samuelsen, violin; Hakon Samuelsen, cello; Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra / Vasily Petrenko
Classical musicians, Mari and Hakon Samuelsen are a genre-defying violin and cello duo from Norway. The siblings recently commissioned film composer, James Horner (Avatar, Titanic, Legends of the Fall) to write something especially for them. The result is Pas de Deux, the centerpiece of this new CD. Described as "hypnotic, post-minmalist", Pas de Deux is partnered with haunting works by Ludovico Einaudi, Arvo Part, and Giovanni Sollima. KDFC: San Francisco makes the disc it's CD of the Week and evening host, Rik Malone will premiere Pas de Deux on his show Monday night (6/15).