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.  

We're going to Asia!

In two days Café de Concert, represented by Bjarne Magnus Jensen (violin) and Aksel Kolstad (piano) is launching the concept in South-East Asia, in collaboration with the wonderful priest and adventuror Svein Helge Rødahl. Once we get the tour going nice and easy we will also do some benefit concerts for children and perform in very poor areas where classical music - or music in general - is not often experienced by children at all. We are very excited about the tour - and we have heard so much about the wonderful Thai Airways so who knows - maybe we don´t ever want to leave the plane..

If some of you might be in the neighbourhood, just email us and we´ll send you the specific adress of where we are performing.

Here is our tour-schedule:

15th of feb, 19.00: Concert for the GoStudy-students, Seminyak, Bali.
16th of feb: Lunch-concert, somewhere in Bali....
16th of feb, 19.00: Concert for the Gateway College-studens, Jimbaran, Bali.
17th of feb, 19.00: Concert at "Mormors hus", Kuta
18th of feb, 18.00: Concert in ambassadeur Hommes recidens, Jakarta, Indonesia.
19th of feb, 12.00: Concert at the Juton-fabric, Jakarta.
19th of feb: Concert for the Gateway College-project
20th of feb, 19.00: Concert at the Norwegian Seamen´s Church, Singapore.
21th of feb 17.00: Concert-performance at the Norwegian Seamen´s Church, Singapore
24th of feb: Concert at the Norwegian Seamen´s Church, Pattaya, Thailand.

Elingaard Manor = Nordic Chamber Music Center

On December 13th Café de Concert unwrapped a special christmas-concert for the inhabitants of Fredrikstad at Elingaard Manor: "Mozart´s Christmasparty". There was a record high full house and the critics wrote "Marvellous Mozart". This was also the beginning for the establishment of Nordic Chambermusic Center at Elingaard, where Café de Concert will use its wide network and invite ensembles and orchestras to have workshops and perform the result in an open concert as well as being a center for contemporary film making.

Café de Concert has received 200.000 NOK to participate in establishing this center and will in 2010 produce 3 big concerts with various large ensembles and orchestras in addition to the 4-5 even bigger projects in 2011. One of the main goals is to gather all classical activities from various scandinavian mansions at Elingaard Manor.

Scholarship from Tom Wilhelmsen Foundation

The Artisic Director of Café de Concert, Aksel Kolstad, was recently given a scholarship worth 30.000 NOK from the Tom Wilhelmsen Foundaiton in Norway to contribute to his work and studies in New York. Kolstad is very thankful and is looking forward to bring back more projects from the US to Norway as a result of the scholarship.

Steinway Hall opens up its heart to Café de Concert

Aksel had a wonderful meeting with Vivian Chiu, Peter Goodrich and the amazingly funny piano tuner from Portugal. Now Café de Concert is planning future concerts in the lobby of the Steinway Hall.

Kolstad was so fortunate to be able to rehears in the wonderful basement where all of history´s greatest pianists have been rehearsing - and still are.
On the grand piano next to the one Aksel was practicing on, he found a reservation for a familiar name in Norway - so Aksel wrote a short message on his business-card for him.

Great meeting with Caffe Vivaldi

Our New York producer, Leat Sabbah, and I had a great meeting today with Ishrat - the owner of the famous Caffe Vivaldi down town. Cafe de Concert will use Caffe Vivaldi as its main base in New York with concerts twice a week starting January 2010.

The CdC logo will be put up on the windows and the concept will blossom with great performers at the café and also new projects outside the café which will be lead by our three producers in NY, Leat Sabbah, Yemi Gonzales and Gabrielle Fink

Impressions of Norway

Innovation Norway has started a new and wonderful trend in New York by presenting different impressions of Norway through design, architecture, gastromoni and music - this time at the residence of Norway's Consul General Sissel Breie at Park Avenue and 55th street in Manhattan.

Aksel Kolstad and Café de Concert were so fortunate to represent classical music as one of the impressions of Norway that was presented in the US yesterday. Aksel Kolstad also hosted the whole event and presented Moods of Norway, Snøhetta, the wonderful Norwegian chef Gunnar Hvarnes and of course also Café de Concert - all presented in hard core and entertaining Café de Concert-style.

Kolstad performed the Grieg piano-trio with two of CdC´s newest producers in NY, Gabrielle Fink (violin) and Leat Sabbah (cello) after performing one of his own solo pieces for piano. At the end of the event Filip Pogadi (violin) and Colin Brooks (viola) joined forces with Gabrielle and Leat and gave an outstanding performance of Grieg´s 1st movement from his string quartet in g minor.

Kolstad's opening words of the event:

"Norway is a young nation. Before the second world war most Norwegians were more or less peasants and fishermen...but then we found oil. The rest is history. Some call it a petroleum farytale. I call it pure luck. We were lucky enough to have smart men and women invest and develop our new treasure. But our greatest treasure of all, is our culture. So now we invest our petroleum money in culture and tradition."

Pictures by Berit Hessen.

Halloween in Oslo

The last day of October, musicians from Oslo Camerata and Barratt Due perform "Dracula-Suite" by Philip Glass.

The legendary Ted Browning Dracula-film from 1931 with Bela Lugosi was shown later in the evening followed a Halloween-party with Halloween-menu in cafe.

Aksel falls in love with Belgrade

Aksel spent 10 wonderful days in this amazing town with a cultural history from another world and time. While walking down the historical road with old restaurants and cultural events, Aksel could simply just think of one word - amazing.

How could the Turkish people ever leave such a great city... Hundreds of years later, Belgrade was infact the first city where the outstanding conductor Zubin Mehta had his first professional engagement with Belgrade Philharmonic after he had fihished his studies. The 2nd trumpet-player of todays Belgrade Philharmonic, the virtuoso Aleksandar Soulnac, is together with Aksel Kolstad now preparing the first Café de Concert-concert in Belgrade in the little hall of the Philharmonic Orchestra to perform Aksel Kolstad´s Dalí-pieces (experience the Dalí-paintings and Kolstad´s Dalí-compositions on Aksel´s former website) for soloists and orchestra in addition to a couple of more compositions Kolstad will write for the same event. There will be put together a sinfonietta with musicians and soloists from Belgrade Philharmonic in addition to the exeptional pianist Andrijana Radivojevic. The sinfonietta, soloists and Aksel Kolstad will also present a new design for classical musicians on a traditional arena for both classical and contemporary music.

Café de Concert has heard of some interesting designers in Belgrade, but is also keen on presenting the Norwegian design from Moods of Norway (random bilde av Aksel i Moods fra arktivet) What do you say guys? Peder, Simen and Stefan...let´s rock Belgrade with Moods?

Parallell with this project, Café de Concert is going to put together a festival each spring at the Kulturni Centar Beograda in collaboration with the talented organizer Ljubica Babec from the center. These two projects is meant to be the start of a monthly café de concert concert-series in Belgrade at both the culture-center and perhaps also at the very cool and trendy café of the philharmonic orchestra - where they so very original typed the names of all of the first musicians who played in the orchestra.

Aksel made so many contacts in Belgrade thank´s to Andrijana Radivojevic, Café de Concert is very greatful for that! Our serbian producer Andrijana Vuckovic will absolutely have no troubles in administrating all of the great possibilities Radivojevic has given and showed us in Belgrade. Aksel was also amazed when he was taken to a restaurant called Little Bay, which almost looked like a mini-version of La Scala. And when he first set his feet in the restaurant (moja stopala su velika)he was completely "sold" when he heard classical music over the stereo. Several evenings each week this wonderful place has classical and jazz musicians entertaining the guests - the only thing that made Aksel´s heart bleed was that the music was played as background music... I believe the owner of Little Bay could be expecting a call from a young man from Norway with a great vision for Little Bay in the future... Maybe in a year or two Little Bay will be called Café de Concert...

To the young Norwegian´s heartbeating joy, Aksel experienced that Telenor has a supercool flagship store in Belgarde and is one of the leading phone-companies in Serbia. Yes, Aksel now has a Serbian phonenumber contracted by Telenor! Now wouldn´t it be great if Telenor would be interested in collaborateing with Café de Concert in Belgrade in the future...Something tells us that Aksel will not only make a phone call to the owner of Little Bay...

Belgrade, with all of its historical treasures and loving heart, made Aksel so inspired that he wrote these two compositions in two days when he was practising in the Kulturni Centar Beograd and recorded them with his iPhone. Listen to the first two minutes of each. "Two playful butterflies in love" & "A butterfly longing for his love"

New art exhibition at Café de Concert

For our press conference and until now we have had the pleasure of exhibiting the fine art of Monika Helgesen. Now we are proud to present our new exhibition with the wonderful artist painter Yvonne Jeanette Karlsen.

Come in for a cup of coffee or some great food while watching the wonderful art of Yvonne! See Yvonne's art in her mini gallery.

Creative Incubator in Tallinn, Estonia

Aksel had a succesful presentation of Café de Concert on the opening day of the Creative Incubator in Tallinn, Estonia. He was invited to Tallinn after the head of the Incubator in Tallinn, Anu Lõhmus, saw him do a Café de Concert-presentation in Berlin earlier this year. After the presentation Aksel played together wih the amazing violinist Kristina Kriit in the famous café in the old town in Tallinn called von Krahl Baar with lots of people and lots of fun!

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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