Dear friends of The Queen Sonja International Music Competition
We can look back on a sparkling festival of song, consisting of the preliminary rounds and the semifinal at the Norwegian Academy of Music, a vocal masterclass with jury member Ben Heppner and a recital with our 2015 First Prize winner Lise Davidsen at the lovely Oscarshall Palace, and at last the grand finale at the Norwegian National Opera & Ballet.
The Competition is very lucky to be surrounded and helped forward by many parties: First of all our participating contestants, important partner music institutions, first class guest artists, distinguished jury members, a great floque of individuals, an enthusiastic and supportive audience, first class financial contributors, and not least, Her Majesty Queen Sonja, who impresses all of us with her dedication and generosity towards the Competition.
It is my privilege to extend a heartfelt and warm thank you to everybody involved in making this year's competition such a great success. The list of thanks is pretty long, as the Competition is a result of an amazing cooperative spirit.
Let me start with all of the 37 contestants. You gave us your all, under challenging conditions. You have our deepest respect and appreciation.
The Queen Sonja International Music Competition has a reputation for attracting internationally acclaimed jury members. This year's jury, expertly chaired by Birgitta Svendén, has been the important heart of the Competition. Thank you for your valued contribution.
To all our friends and supporters within our close family of partner institutions
The Norwegian National Opera & Ballet
Together with the finalists, The Norwegian National Opera Orchestra conducted by Maestro John Helmer Fiore made the final concert a great event.
To Executive Director Geir Bergkastet, Opera director Annilese Miskimmon, concert producer Sigmund Jaang and your dedicated staff: Your theatre is of essential importance to the Competition. Thank you for letting us in, and for helping us forward. We are very much looking forward to develop further together with you.
The Norwegian Academy of Music
Dear Principal Peter Tornquist: You offer our contestants the very best, both with state of the art rehearsal facilities and one of the finest concert halls in Oslo, The Lindeman Concert Hall, where you have generously hosted the preliminary rounds and the semifinal.
The Norwegian Broadcasting Corperation
This year has been special for our partnership. You have brought in your experienced
programme host Hans Olav Brenner, and new ways to present the Competition and all the finalists involved.
Dear Executive Producer Anne Christine Bratt and everybody involved in your huge team: Thank you for helping us to share the beauty of this Competition with a wide audience. It is our sincere hope that we can develop our partnership further.
The Royal Court
The Royal Court is heavily involved in preparing the Competition. It is a true pleasure to collaborate with their highly professional and efficient staff. Dear Maisen Bonnevie, head of Culture at The Royal Palace, and Monica Watterud, associate head of The Royal Secretariat: Thank you ever so much for your very skilled support.
I would also like to thank our four brilliant pianists: Lina Braaten, Sigstein Folgerø, Bernhard Greter and Gary Matthewman. Your support and excellent playing has been of great value to both the audience and the singers.
Our financial contributors
Music is not only about great art. It is also about great contributors!
First of all, The Norwegian Ministry of Culture, which contributes around 70 percent of our budget, and the City of Oslo which also offers important financial support.
Our private funds are extremely important to us in order to continue. Thank you to Anders Sveaas’ Almennyttige Fond, Eckbos Legater, Formuesforvaltning AS, Lindemans Legat, Lucy Høeghs Stiftelse, Canica AS and Sat Sapienti.
To the Competition staff
A festival and Competition like ours, consisting of an intense network of cooperating partners, is quite demanding to put together smoothly. I will conclude with thanking our own staff of 14 extremely hard working people.
A special individual that should be enjoying the sweet feeling of a job well done is my close associate Ane Wadd-Oseth. Ane has been a remarkable project coordinator and head of our staff.
Our artistic advisor Julia Lagahuzére has provided important planning support. As an Associate Project Coordinator, Mariella Yakubu has been essential at the Competition Office together with events trainee Ellen Hoff Jørgensen. Jury secretary Katharina Kockum has kept the heart of the Competition in good shape.
We have initiated an intense information effort in order to spread the word, not at least on the internet. Our information activities have been conducted by Frances Gerono, together with Camilla Sophie Storvollen. Our talented information trainees has been Anita Kristine Olsen Støbakk, Astrid Linnea Løland Hovde, Chamanpreet Kaur and Martin Kyrkjebø Wickman.
To run our concerts as stage managers, and assisting in all kinds of logistics, we have had a skilled team consisting of Elsa Stojkov and Ieva Praneviciute together with our dedicated events trainee Hanna Nordlien Berg.
The next Competition in August 2019 is just around the corner. Until then!
Lars Hallvard Flaeten