Cellist Amalie Stalheim, flautist Ingrid Søfteland Neset and violinist Miriam Helms Ålien have been nominated for the Norwegian Soloist Prize 2021.
The winner will be announced in October. The prize consists of NOK 100,000 and two prestigious assignments: A concert of their own at the Bergen International Festival 2022 and a soloist assignment at a concert with the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra (BFO) on November 18 this year. The concert with BFO will also be broadcast on Hovedscenen on NRK2.
‘Together with our new benefactor Karianne Westfal-Larsen, we are launching the Norwegian Soloist Prize into the future. Expanded collaboration with the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, the Norwegian Radio Orchestra and NRK means that together with the Bergen International Festival, we can raise awareness about the next generation of top musicians, says Peter Herresthal, chairman of the Norwegian Soloist Prize.
In even-numbered years, NRK's Virtuos competition chooses the winner of the Norwegian Soloist Prize. In odd-numbered years, the Norwegian Soloist Prize is awarded to one of three to five nominated Norwegian instrumentalists or singers under 30 selected by an international jury.
This year's jury consisted of the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra's chief conductor Edward Gardner, pianist Marianna Shirinyan, mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter and the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra's programme director Oddmund Økland.
The Norwegian Soloist Prize
- Supports and promotes young, talented soloists.
- Founded in 2005 based on a donation from businessman Bernt J. Fossum. Since 2020, the award is supported by Karianne Westfal-Larsen.
- In even-numbered years, awarded to the winner of the NRK-broadcast Virtuos to a musician under the age of 20.
- In odd-numbered years, awarded to a musician under the age of 30. The winner will be announced in October 2021.
- Previous winners of the Norwegian Soloist Prize include Tine Thing Helseth (2006), Christian Ihle Hadland (2007), Guro Kleven Hagen (2010) and Sonoko Miriam Welde (2014).
The award-winning cellist Amalie Stalheim (b. 1993) has been a soloist with orchestras such as Gulbenkian Orquestra, the Oslo Philharmonic, the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, the Oulu Symphony Orchestra, the Kuopio Symphony Orchestra and the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, to name a few. She is the winner of the Swedish Soloist Award 2018. In addition to playing traditional cello concerts internationally, Amalie is passionate about commissioning new pieces for cello. In the coming season, she will premiere and record five cello concerts. Amalie is an active chamber musician and has collaborated with musicians such as Janine Jansen, Yo-Yo Ma, Leif Ove Andsnes, Christian Ihle Hadland, Lars Anders Tomter and the Stenhammar Quartet. Amalie has studied with Professor Torleif Thedéen at Edsberg Manor at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm and the Norwegian Academy of Music.
Ingrid Søfteland Neset
Ingrid Søfteland Neset (b. 1992) is an award-winning flautist from Os. At 17, she was named «Musician of the Year» at the Youth Music Championship. At 23, she won the position of principal flautist in the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra and has since been a guest principal flautist for the Oslo Philharmonic, the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra, the Norwegian Radio Orchestra (KORK), the DR Symphony Orchestra, the Malmö Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Danish Orchestra in Copenhagen. She played in Stavanger until 2018 and then had a two-year contract as principal flautist in the Royal Danish Orchestra at the Opera in Copenhagen. She has an ongoing trial as principal flautist in the Philharmonia Orchestra in London. She has received several awards and accolades, including Statkraft's «Young Star» award and Sonning talent award. She was part of Talent Norway's «ArtEx» programme 2019–2020. Ingrid is an active chamber musician and has often collaborated with her brother and jazz saxophonist Marius Neset. Together they have played for sold-out audiences in both the Kölner Philharmonie and the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg.
Miriam Helms Ålien
Miriam Helms Ålien (b. 1991) is an award-winning violinist from Alta in northern Norway and started playing the violin at the age of six. She has been a soloist with a number of orchestras in Norway, Denmark, Germany, Israel, Italy, the Czech Republic and Russia, including the Norwegian Radio Orchestra, the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra Pardubice and the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra. Miriam is also an active and dedicated chamber musician and has collaborated with musicians such as Gidon Kremer, András Schiff, Tabea Zimmermann, Radovan Vlatković, Dora Schwarzberg and Steven Isserlis. Among other places, Miriam has been invited to play in Wigmore Hall, Berlin Konzerthaus, KKL Luzern, Tel Aviv Opera and The Norwegian Opera, and has had repeated appearances on Norwegian and international TV and radio. She is the initiator and artistic director of Festivalta.