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.  

Unforgettable concert at Nano, Tallin

Despite the fact that the football semifinals between Spain and Germany was going on at the same time as the concert, over 100 people found their way to the wonderful backyard of Nano - and stayed long in to the night after the concert as well.
Kristina, Levi-Danel and Aksel got tons of bravo and bravissimo´s after their last spitfire-pice by Schubert.
Tradition has been made, Nano is Café de Concert´s summer residence in Tallin! Looking forward to see you all there next time!

First Café de Concert-concert in Tallin

Our producers in Estonia, Pille Lille Music Foundation, chose "Museum" - one of several wonderful venues of the Estonian company the "Sparkling Group" - as our first pick. And MAN, was that a success! The event coordinator Helen Löhmus made sure of a full house, and already after the first half the musicians were going on and off the stage several times due to the very enthusiastic audience. On the program was Mozart, Beethoven, Grieg and Schubert. Kristina Kriit and Levi-Danel Mägila totally kicked ass playng with sparkling eyes, which made the "Sparkling Group" glitter in the audience. And once Aksel saw the concert was beeing flimed, well - you know unstoppable Aksel;)

CdC´s Health-program / training

Artistic Director Aksel Kolstad (photo) is very proud to present his very good friend from from his childhood neighbourhood
as Café de Concerts personal trainer in the concepts new health program for musicians. Sondre Bjerke is a fitness instructor and has won several prestigious medals for his great skills and muscle performance


Hello all people of advanced musical creation,

My name is Sondre. Almost everyone who talks english calls me Sondra, a female name. I am a man, 33years of age, like to fish, but almost never get the time....oh can read more about that in my profile on the Café de Concert website.

I have worked as a personal trainer for a while now and have many ideas on how to help musicians to a better performing physique. I can almost see now that many of you reading this have a ? over your head. Musicians and physical development are closely correlated, as hairdressers or truckdrivers. We all need a physique that can handle what we want to do. I hate to break it to you, but here goes: No, your body will not develop ideally to what you do even if you do it a lot. When a body for several hours a week is exposed to sitting in front of a piano, holding a violin with one arm and a chin, holding a piccoloflute to the side and so on, it will develop muscle tension and sore muscles.
Muscle tension, muscle soreness and shortening of muscles will in time bring pain and in worst case, injury.

I know you love your instrument. I know you love to play on it many hours a day. I admire and eny you for haveing such a passion about music, buit please listen to me, because my passion is exercise and nutrition. I love to explain and teach other people how they can avoid injuries and muscle soreness. I love to talk about training and how to get results in every level. It doesn't matter how great you physique is, it is all about where you are and where you are going. I will help you along the way starting today! Every month I will come up with the exercise and the stretch of the month.

This months exercise: Seated row with rubberband

Purpose: strengthening and conditioning the muscles in your upper back and rear deltoids(shoulders)
1) Fasten the rubberband under your feet in front of you sitting with straight legs. Point yuor toes slightly away from you.
2) Hold the handles firmly in front of you and pull your arms out to the side like on the drawing.
3) Hold for a brief second then calmly bring your arms forward again.

How much: 2 series and 12-20 repetitions (you should feel a light burning sensation in your muscles)
How often: 2-3 times pr week. Not the same day as important concerts as you may feel fatigue in your upper back before the concert is over.

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

Yours truly in the name of fitness and health

Out door concert at the Nordic Chambermusic Center

On June 3rd the "Quartet on the corner" played a light and refreshing out door concert in the corner of Elingaard manor!
National television (NRK) was also there to capture the many magical moments from the concert, as for exemple when Haydn´s "Bird-quartet" obviously inspired a little local bird to dance for us, up above the audience.

Garden and house-concert at Aksel´s place

Stand up comedy with Aksel Kolstad on "Russians" and Fred Uno Huvenes on "Arabic litterature", Russian Gipsy songs by Solfrid Molland, Shumann Gershin/Kolstad by Aksel Kolstad, Benjamin Britten´s solo suite for cello by Ingvild Nesdal Sandnes and a little encore by Farué... and THEN the party began... Check out our mediacenter for more photos

Full house at Caffe Vivaldi

We performed at the legendary Caffe Vivaldi again yesterday night with a full house of crazy Norwegians and local customers.
Aksel was on fire, super inspired by the wonderful musicians Jessie Montgommery and Amanda Gookin. These two gifted musicians seduced the audience in a way Café de Concert has never seen! And the best part is that they are super cool too!!
A lot of projects in the US will involve these two in the future, and Café de Concert will actually be bringing them to Fredrikstad Café de Concert festival in Norway already this September! Watch out Norway, here comes two funky musicians!!

Great party after the concert...

PS: And guess who showed up, guys - the superfamous Norwegian comedian Sturla Berg Joannsen!! :)

17th of May in New York

"I remember my first time in New York on May 15th 2007. Walking down Lexington Avenue and 53 Street with a heart raceing like lightening, towards what was to become where my creative Manhattan-soul would blossom like never before, The Norwegian Seaman´s Church. I still have that feeling, walking down Lexington and 53rd, every time. The community of wonderful people and insanely gifted artists inspire in ways no pen in my power can yet describe. Celebrateing Norway´s National Day with all of these great people both working and hanging out at the church makes me so incredibly Norwegian! And there is nothing more Norwegian than beeing Norwegian and playing Norwegian music abroad. Especially when performing one´s own contemporary music, like I did during the official 17th of May-concert at 7 pm, last night. This was definitly the best national celebration in my life!! And I got to lead the whole parade, in my new, pink Moods of Norway-suit:) Huge Café de Concert-concert at Caffe Vivaldi tomorrow, can´t wait!!

Sincerely, Artistic Director of Café de Concert in New York - Aksel Kolstad"

Full house at the opening of the Nordic Chambermusic Center

Full house (actually more than full) at the grand opening of the Nordic Chambermusic Center at Elingaard in Fredrikstad yesterday evening. Aksel hit it off with some of his own variations over Bach´s Goldberg Variations, then he performed Mozart piano concerto nr. 11 and Gershwin´s Rhapsody in Blue with Café de Concerts vital and energetic Fredrikstad Chamber Orchestra. Next concert at NCC is on June 3rd, a supercool outdoor garden concert. Don´t miss it! And to all you classical musicians out there - NCC is the place to be!!

A wonderful house-concert at Aksel´s place

The atmosphere was electric, the stories from the book "Momo", told by the wonderful drama-student Iselin Shumba, was dazzeling and the music simply flew out of our instruments. Bjarne Magnus Jensen and I started off with the funky Norwegian dance nr. 1 by Halvorsen. Then I played my Harlekin-variations (over Bach´s Goldberg Variations), then came Mozart´s 1st movement from his violinsonata KV 333, I played his famous solo sonata in B flat major (1st movement) and after Bjarne amazed the crowd with Ole Bull´s Mountain Visit we finished off with Svendsen´s Romance and Beethoven´s Spring sonata
(1st movement). Man, that was a blast! Can´t wait to invite everybody to the next house-concert at Casa del Musica;) Great having you here, my dearest friends!!

Artistic Director´s definition of "a musician"

Musicians are athletes!

The life of a classical musician is actually much more exhausting than what I believe most people think in the first place. One aspect is of course all of the travelling and physical effect it has on the body, and no less when having to perform at the same time. But what I would like to emphasise is the amount of strength needed to
play an entire concert, totally focused, and constantly having to flow over with enegry at the same time as produceing energy. In my mind it is really as hard as any other sport. Which brings me over to my very point -
both musicians and others should see the sport in music, and the music in sports. In other words see the athletism in art, and the art in athletism. I am an athelete - that´s why I wear Nike!

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

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