Café de Concert



Today - Café de Concert has become the atelier and concert gallery of the young and multitalented pianist and composer Aksel Kolstad. It took him 10 years to brand this concept and turn it into one of the most original and innovating classical concepts in the world. Here´s the story behind...... The Idea The origin and still driving force behind Café de Concert is to present classical music to a larger audience. The genre has by no means the same appeal as pop, rock or jazz. Creating a more relaxed atmosphere, and not to forget Kolstad´s magical ability to present classical music with humor and showmanship, it all results in a more intimate and fun concert format than the traditional solemn style. The idea that classical music can once again become popular music, the way it once was, is the motivation behind the concept Café de Concert. Classical concerts at cafés – Café de Concert recruits musicians, both students and professionals, to play classical music for the people. The goal is to stimulate as well as strengthen everyone’s interest in classical music. The level of musicianship is high, and with a relaxed, positive atmosphere, between the pieces, it is possible to have a cup of coffee, have something to eat or perhaps talk with the person sitting beside you. Café de Concert is an arena for all creative arts. In addition to musical performances, there are regular arts exhibitions and ballet/modern dance performances directed by CdC.  

Christmas gig for Statsbygg in Oslo

Café de Concert´s last gig for this year was at Statsbygg´s Christmas lunch today. Statsbygg built the fabulastic opera in Oslo, so it was very cool to perform for them at the supercool concert venue - the Sonja Hennie ball room at Oslo Plaza, for 400 spectators. Aksel and Jonas Båtstrand had a kick ass party on stage in between performing Halvorsen, Mozart and Beethoven.

From all of us, to all of you - a merry merry, Christmas!!

Café de Concert in New York

As the nights are getting colder and winter is catching up in New York City - Caffe Vivaldi is heating up, especially with a full house from Café de Concert! As we were standing outside watching in, we were wondering.... where can we sit? There were absolutely no open tables. Luxurious problem for the crew:)

The concert on Tuesday November 23rd had an extraodrinary energy - Rebekah Heller, bassoon, was on fire!

Starting off with a special piece for bassoon and cello (Amanda Gookin), written by Mozart, the audience got introduced to the wonderful music those two instruments can produce in a duo. As the concert continued, Heller and Gookin was joined by Jessie Mongommery, violin, and Nick Revel, viola. As a string quartet the musicians continued with Krommer and Devienne. The concert evening was an amazing experience, and those who were at Café de Concert for their first time said they would definitely come again!

Thank you all for coming, and we hope to see you again on our next concert on December 14th.

Askim, lovely Askim

Every time Café de Concert performs in Askim, it´s a full house. And not only that, it´s a full house with wonderful people in the audience. Gotta love that city! Aksel flew straight in from New York and performed in Askim the day after he landed in Oslo. Hm, wonder why all of the pieces he played had such slow tempos :D

Packed at Caffe Vivali

Tonight was a super night at Caffe Vivaldi, New York! Aksel performed with the magnificant Curtis Stewart and Amanda Gookin. Kicked the party off with Bartok´s 6 Rumanian dances, the continued with Schumann´s Fantasiestück before wrapping up with the piano trio by Debussy which he wrote when he was 18, just a teenager! The crowd at Vivaldi was great as usual, and after Debussy - the audience turned in to a rock concert-audience! Rock on!!

And then....the party began....!

CdC training program

Yo!! Remember me? I hope so, I am your conscience :-) Especially when it comes to physical activity and that upright posture. My name is still Sondre and I am very proud to be the one person Aksel trust in this matter. I hope you will learn to trust me too.

This months exercise: Alternated front raises with rubber band

Purpose: strengthening and conditioning the muscles keeping your
scapulae in the right place.

1) Fasten the rubberband in a doorknob. Stand upright holding your hands relaxed beside you.
2) Hold the handles firmly lift a straight arm(the right one) up and over your head. Simultaneously you pull the left arm beackwards beside you. Both arms pressing backwards, but one arm in the air and the other beside your hip.
3) Hold for a brief second then calmly bring your arms forward again.
4) Repeat but changing upper and lower arms.

How much: 2 series and 12-20 repetitions (you should feel a light
burning sensation in your muscles)

How often: 1-2 times pr week. Not the same day as important concerts as you may feel fatigued in your upper back before the concert is over. Why: Your upper back muscles keep your posture perfect for as long as they can. If they are out of shape they fatigue early giving you pain and bad posture. Bad posture will give back- and neck problems over time.

This months stretch: Chest, pectoralis minor

Purpose: releasing tension and lengthening the small pectoral muscle

1) Stand in a doorway with your left forearm and elbow touching the doorframe
2) Take a small step forward until you feel the stretch in your chest. Then lean forward a bit more.
3) Try to elevate your shoulder, this would give you a stretching feeling in the lower part of your chest, just next to your armpit.
3) Hold this stretch for 20-30 seconds, then push against the door frame with your elbows for 5 seconds. Relax and move forward for another inch or two. This will really stretch and you hold this for 20-30 seconds before you slowly release the pressure and bring your arm down. Now repeat with the right arm.

How much: 2 times as described above with 1-2 minutes rest in between.

How often: 1-2 times pr week. Especially after concerts and long lasting

Why: Your small chest muscle(pectoralis minor) is a quite strong muscle and will shorten fast if not stretched regurarily. And especially if you tend to lean on your elbows during your desk work.

These two exercises combined with the previous ones will keep your posture straight and hopefully keeping you away from pain. But hey - no pain, no game! Put your game face on, folks - and work that boty!!

Caffe Vivaldi, New York

On Thursday September 9th, Caffe Vivaldi (New York) was once again filled with entertainment, laughter and beautiful music. On stage this time were Nathaniel LaNasa and Illya Filshtinskiy, piano, Nick Revel, viola and Curtis Stewart, violin. These funky musicians gave us an enjoyable concert with music by Milhaud, Pleyel and Debussy.

They filled Caffe Vivaldi with a great atmosphere, humour, and performed an outstanding concert where they brought the audience all the way from California, through Wisconsin, to the European cities, Bruxel and Paris (performed through La Californienne, The Wisconsonian, La Bruxelloise and La Pariesienne). Caffe Vivaldi was packed with people! C u next time :)

Next concert is on October 8th @ 9p.m. starring Curtis Stewart, Amanda Gookin and Aksel Kolstad!

Concert on a bridge in Fredrikstad

Last saturday Kolstad wanted to get a little attention about the upcoming Café de Concert-festival in Fredrikstad. I guess he managed just that.... Together with violinist and concert meister of Fredrikstad Chamber Orchestra, Jonas Båtstrand, Kolstad made Beethoven sound all over Fredrikstad from the pedestrian bridge down town.

Young talents at NCC

Last sunday Café de Concert had a season opening at its Nordic Chamber Music Center (Elingaard manor in Fredriktad, Norway). This time we invited young musicians which all were prize winners in the previous national competition for young, classical musicians in Norway. Pianists Eirik Haug Stømner and Christoffer Behn Stensrud, saxofonist Elise Setterberg and flutist Kristin Hammerseth all gave an outstanding performance for a very impressed crowd at the manor. The thing that impressed the most, however, was how these young musicians verbally entertained the audience with great skills! Café de Concert likes this very much! Keep on stayin´cool, youngsters, you are our laid back future!

Season Opening in New York

Caffe Vivaldi,New York, was once again crowded with an amazing audience while the music of Mozart, Bach, and Haydn filled the room with passion. On stage were Curtis Stewart and Jessie Montgomery on violins, NIck Revel on viola and Amanda Gookin playing cello. Joshua Rubin, on clarinet, joined as a guest and made this Saturday night feel very special. Even the people walking outside on the street could not help to stop and look through the windows while the music sang through the keyhole. It was such an amazing and successful concert that managed to bring back classical music to the people of New York once again. Thank you all for coming, c u next time:) Bravo Café de Concert New York-team for produceing your first series in the big apple!

CdC´s Health-program / yoga

Hello, everybody:)

My name is Elizabeth Lyseng, and like most yoga teachers I'm a fan of communicating the value of yoga to as many people as possible. I have a bit of the same relationship to classical yoga as “force of nature” Aksel Kolstad has to classical music: a strong desire to bring it home to people. The tradition that I practice and teach is classical yoga, which is a direct continuation of Swami Satyananda’s understanding of yoga.

Aksel has invited me to write a monthly post on CDC’s blog, with a particular focus on yoga for musicians, and I am very happy to accept! Yoga is a far-reaching topic, and, of course, yoga is for everyone! The way yoga is being portrayed in today’s media, it may seem a little daunting for some. However yoga does not prescribe a certain style of clothing, or what a yogi should or should not practice. Yoga is about taking care of one's body and mind, based on each person’s own experience and the understanding gained through the practice of yoga. Yoga is an ancient science of the body, deriving from a traditional Eastern philosophy where taking care of the whole body is at the core. With the whole body is meant that the physical body is not seen as separate from the mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of man. From this holistic viewpoint, an imbalance in the mental, emotional or prana related areas (prana being the energy currents in the body) can manifest as stress in the physical body's weakest organ, or other physically weak areas in the muscles and skeleton. In this first presentation I have chosen to give a general idea of the scope and potential of yoga based on some important truths:

Physical exercise strengthens your body and releases tension
Breathing exercises focus the mind
Relaxation techniques calm the mind and body
Mantras and recitations calm the emotions
Meditation balances the soul

Yoga gives you a stronger and more supple body, increases your ability to concentrate and strengthens your mind. Asanas (physical exercises) and Pranayama (breathing exercises) provide specific stimuli and effects on the organs, joints and muscles. Through relaxation and meditation you can release tension and bad energy, providing more room for reflection, and energy to cope with stressful situations.

Breathing (Pranayama) is one of the most vital processes in the body. The breath affects the activity of every cell in the body, and most important of all, breath has an intimate connection with the activity in the brain. Many people use only a limited portion of their lung capacity. Through Pranayama exercises you can become aware of the full potential of your breathing, and how to use your breath.

Meditation has a surprisingly positive impact on the functions of the body. Through meditation you can get a stronger and more flexible body, which many people believe can only be achieved through strenuous physical exercises. By sitting still in deep concentration over an extended period, energy is focused in the body and mind. Meanwhile, joints and muscles all the way in to the skeleton are strengthened when the body is kept in one position over time. Meditation gives mental power and strength to the mind, so that your body relaxes, lets go of muscle tension, and uses less energy on holding itself up. Through regular meditation practice you will be able to meditate for longer and longer periods without effort.
Relaxation may be practiced in short or long sessions. Through relaxation your body achieves a state that balances between wakefulness and sleep. In this state the skeleton and muscles are invited to accept the favours of gravity and release the body’s full weight onto the floor. Thereby the body lets go of all tensions and quickly achieves a rested state. At the same time the mind releases unnecessary tension, is "reset", and receives a renewal of energy. Relaxation can be practiced anywhere from 5 -10 minutes up to an hour or longer, with immediate effect on the body and mind. Through regular relaxation practice with a yoga teacher you can learn to master shorter sessions of relaxation for self-practice.

Don´t hesitate to contact me for further information. My contact info can be found on the Café de Concert website.
All the best, Elizabeth Lyseng

Café de Concert YouTube Channel

The history of Café de Concert

Café de Concert began a few days before the 19th of June 2003 when Aksel Kolstad together with a colleague performed live on Midt i Musikken, a classical music program on NRK radio P2. During the program, the trial concert was announced, to be held at Kastanjen restaurant on Bygdøy Allé in Oslo.

Visit the old Café de Concert media centre HERE

Latest posts

Sunday dance performances on fire at Tjuvholmen while star journalist (and pianist) Maren Ørstavik is trying out the new place! (Follow the surf board)...
And oh yeah - we are opening at Vulkan this Oct/Nov!!!...
 A lot of SUP with awesome people, a lot of concerts with wonderful musicians, dance performances with kick ass dancers, a lot of events and a whole lot of shit that we...
Aksel's get together was a blast, with lots of cool, international people attending, this we like!! Aksel was spinning around on fire as usual, this time too fast to capture even for the camera! We at...
Concerts and events, one thig after another this month! Bookings starting to fill up the calender, we can´t wait to get busy this February also! The dancing series at Café de Concert is starting March...
 A brief Christmas resumé of selected musical gift wrappings at Café de Concert.
 Sky was on fire, and so were we! Student performances....  Events......
 Just like Molde did :)  OD-dagen ble godt representert av Ole Johannes Slåttebrekk, som fikk kjørt seg og stakk av med et par tusen til...