Grieg’s Piano Concerto: Norwegian pianist Oda Voltersvik and Aberdeen City Orchestra in fresh North Sea exchange


Grieg Society of Scotland founder, Dr Sally Garden, returned to the city of Aberdeen – her fond musical ‘home’ – to catch up with the latest, exciting North Sea musical exchange: a concert with young Norwegian pianist Oda Voltersvik and Aberdeen City Orchestra. With a fresh perspective, and familiarity with historical context, it seemed like a hint of something new and promising for Scotland’s classical music scene.

Conductor Tomas Leakey, pianist Oda Voltersvik and violinist and chair of Aberdeen City Orchestra, Aden Mazur, captured post-concert in Aberdeen’s Music Hall. (image: Dr Sally Garden)

In May, this year, I returned to Aberdeen’s gracious Music Hall to hear an orchestra that had engaged me as soloist not long after its founding 40 years ago in the 1980s. Sitting in the audience was, for me, a change of perspective in more ways than one.

Aberdeen City Orchestra, formerly Aberdeen Chamber Orchestra (the city’s second such ensemble since the 1930s), had engaged young Norwegian pianist Oda Voltersvik for a performance of Grieg’s Piano Concerto. Having welcomed Norwegian pianist Rune Alver for our Grieg Society of Scotland concert in the city only last year, it was good to hear the fruits of another North Sea musical exchange on what felt like a following wind.

It was also good to be reminded of the professional attitude of Aberdeen’s amateur orchestras, of which the city boasts several. The ACO, ably conducted by Tomas Leakey, presented a programme of Wagner, Beethoven and Grieg, with the evening’s soloist cleverly engaged (after a trip to Norway), by violinist and orchestra chair, Aden Mazur. It was a refreshingly grassroots occasion – the kind Aberdeen is good at – with local hospitality for the soloist and friendly musical networks to the fore.

Aberdeen City Orchestra before their performance at the city’s Music Hall. (image: Grieg Society of Scotland)

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The Grieg Society of Scotland seeks to advance understanding of the lives and extraordinary artistic legacies of composer Edvard Grieg and his wife, singer Nina Grieg, both of whom were Norwegian of Scots descent. The Society aims to excite curiosity about their musical partnership, vision and positive, optimistic belief in humanity by celebrating and commemorating their creative work, exploring their writings, and furthering knowledge of Scottish-Scandinavian cultural and historical connexions. Learn more about our work and contact us here: