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.  

Volvo Ocean Race in Boston = teambuilding

We have never in our lives experienced such an extreme sensation of massive sailboats with great power crunching through the sea just a few feet away from us where we were sitting breathless in the boat next to master and commander of the Volvo Ocean Race - the one and only Knut Frostad.

We were so fortunate to be onboard with both Knut Frostad, CEO of Volvo Ocean Race and racing director Jack Lloyd during the start of Leg 7 from Boston to Galway.

This major and unbelievable event was the greatest team building-tour ever for Café de Concert. Thank you so much Knut, you gave us energy to fill up and perform 250 new concerts - at least!

Knut Frostad has from the very beginning of Café de Concert guided Aksel and given him good advice of experience and taste on how to develop the concept into big business, and how to be a good leader. To be an "apprentice" of Frostad is an unforgetable situation. His leadership, wisdom, boldness and collaborating skills are high above average.

Knut Frostad is a great inspiration to Café de Concert and we hope that in the future we are able to collaborate and give something back to him and the fabulos Volvo Ocean Race.

Concert at the contemporary furniture fair reception and Germany/Berlin debut.

Yesterday we performed at the contemporary furniture fair reception at the Norwegian consule general's apartment in New York. We love playing in intimate venues, and this is as intimate as it gets. If the audience would get any closer, they would actually have to play with the musicians.. The mood was just great and Aksel's jokes about classical music styles compared to furniture design perfectly put the music in perspective to the contemporary furniture fair.

At the moment we're on a bus heading for Boston to visit Knut Frostad and the Volvo Ocean Race. Aksel and Catharina is sleeping after a long week filled with concerts and meetings. Even Aksel needs some rest from time to time, even though he seems to have unlimited resources of energy. It has to be all the apple juice he's been drinking. Together with Aksel and Catharina, the actor Robin Alexander Eriksen (which is producing a new contemporary art movie with CdC next week) and Morgan are looking forward to see the start of Leg 7 of the Volvo Ocean Race from Boston to Galway (2.550 miles of transatlantic sailing).

We're also proud to announce that Café de Concert today also debuted in Berlin. We'll get reports from the concert by tomorrow.

We also want to congratulate the guys at Moods of Norway with the Beverly Hills retail store opening. You're such a great inspiration to all Norwegian entrepreneurs! You put the tractor on the map!

Café de Concert in NY = Full house

There was not a chair left, nor room for more people to even sit on top of the tables at the fabulous Caffe Vivaldi when we performed there yesterday for the second time this week.
Innovation Norway invited a lot people and we felt at the top of our game when performing for them. Many thanks to Ishrat, the owner of the café, for his apperance at the concert and for an inspiring conversation after the concert.

After the concert we all went out to the great Schiller´s Liquor Bar.

On the way to Schiller´s we bumped into a " walking street-band" who stopped infront of us and gave us a spectacular performance. Yet another "only in NY-story". We just love this city!

Tonight we´re peforming for the Consule General of Norway.

Rehersal with dancers for contemporary furniture fair.

Today, we headed for Roy Arias Studios and Theater and rehersal with dancers for a show on a Norwegian contemporary furniture fair. This is a colaboration between Innovation Norway and Café de Concert, and we're very exited to be a part of the show. The combination of modern dance, beautiful furniture and classical music is just perfect, and we think this is a great opportunity to present Café de Concert for a new audience in the US.

Catharina Chen, violin

Aksel Kolstad, piano

Dancers: Eric Brathwaite & Meghan MacAlpine

Dancer: Eric Brathwaite

Dancer: Meghan MacAlpine

Living like kings

Yesterday we moved in to a spectacular NYC-JC apartment.
Catharina exclaimed "are you serious!?" about hundred times. That has to be a new record! We all love the place! These gorgeous and spacious apartments is just top notch and it has the best view of the Manhattan skyline ever! Even more exiting is that it's run by the two Norwegians, Jarl Haugedal and Atle Fossdal. Their business is literally taking off and they're just about to open up more luxury apartments. We invited Jarl and Atle and a couple of friends over for dinner to celebrate! It's just breathtaking, guys! You rock!
Be sure to check out their website!

Café de Concert Boot Camp, New York

While Michelle was sleeping and snoring like a baby, and Nick was...probably doing the same thing...the rest of the gang, including Christina Wiig (Café de Concerts party-planner and publicity-activist in NY), went training with CdC Boot Camp instructor Odd Roar Jakobsen in Central Park at 9 AM.

We must not forget that Brahms used to be an athlete when he was young and that Grieg loved to hike in the mountains. They were all great sportsmen in music as well as in life. So must performers at Café de Concert be too. It´s time we changed the image of unhealthy and lazy musicians! As there is art in sports - there is also athletism in art!

See more pictures in our media center.

Norwegian surprise at Caffé Vivaldi

All of a sudden, from out of the blue, several young musicians and students from the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo (where Café de Concert started) popped up at the concert last night at Caffé Vivaldi. A venue with amlost every classical composer framed on the wall in the back of the café. What can you say - it´s one of those "only in New York-stories" that happened.

The grand piano was delightful to play on and the intimate atmosphere was extraordiary at this wonderful venue. We are lucky to be performing there again on Thursday at 7.30 PM!

See more pictures from the concert in our media center.

Full house at the Gershwin Hotel yesterday, and a new concert tonight at Caffe Vivaldi.

With approx. 80 people in the audience, the concert lobby of the Gershwin Hotel was filled up to it´s maximum. Catharina and Aksel blasted off with the Brahms Scherzo who took the audience by storm.

This was actually the first concert either of the artists ever had played together, still it looked as if they were having so much fun and being totally relaxed together on stage. Michelle and Nicholas also made a fantastic impression on the audience. The relaxed environment combined with the outstanding performances and Aksel's hilarious jokes made the audience connect with the musicians in a very unique way.

The day before the concert, after the piano tuner had finished off and left the Gershwin Hotel, the grand piano got a undefined "click" on almost every key. The tuner wasn´t able to come back to cure the sick Baldwin grand piano before just one hour on the concert day - but thankfully, he succeded, just in time. But something tells us the Baldwin needs a total makeover today..

You can see more pictures from the concert on the media center.

Right now, we're heading off to Caffé Vivaldi where we're performing tonight. We took a detour to take som pictures on Times Square.

Getting ready for the concerts next week!

As the days go by, we're getting in pretty good shape for the concerts next week. On wednesday, Aksel and Catharina met up with the talented clarinetist Nicholas Gallas for rehearsals at the Norwegian seamen's church. Thank's for letting us use your facilities, guys!

Nicholas Gallas is a young outstanding clarinettist who just finished his masters degree at Juilliard, NY.
He is performing as a soloist and a chamber musicians and is well know for his Stravinsky and Mozart interpretations.
He will be performing the Brahms sonata in f minor with us on the NY & Washington DC tour.

As the interest of the concept grows day by day, we're excited to have started planning concerts in october, november and december in the US.

We're very excited to play here again and are looking forward to see you all on Monday at the Gershwin Hotel!

Want to get in touch?
We're now all on US phone numbers.
Aksel: +1 (347) 822-0740
Catharina: +1 (267) 808-5588
Morgan: +1 (646) 255-6716

Here's some images from the rehersals.

A new day in wonderful midtown Manhattan.

Aksel is as always strolling around the city, enthusiastically inviting people to the concerts and spreading the word about CdC. That's what we call direct marketing!

This time in the US, our team consists of Aksel Kolstad, (MD, pianist), Catharina Chen (violin), Nicholas Gallas (clarinet), Michelle Alexandra (actress) and Morgan Nicolaysen (multimedia, web, blogging, taking musicians out shopping)

As we're exploring the US, our Norwegian producer, Marcia Titley is taking great care of business in Norway. Marcia is the latest member of the administration and brings valuable knowledge to CdC.

In Norway today, musicians from Fredrikstad Chamber Orchestra will be performing at Verdensspeilet Café in Fredrikstad at 7 PM (19:00) and Amelie Lied Haga, violin and Christian Hundsnes Grøvlen, piano are playing at Café Frölich in Oslo at 8 PM (20:00) If you're either in Oslo or Fredrikstad, be sure not to miss out on these great musicians.

Innovation Norway in the US
Since december 2008, we have been so lucky to be supported by Innovation Norway.
Because of I.N., we're able to travel around the world with support from all of their offices abroad. We are very proud to be profiled on their Visit Norway page and extremely thankful for everything they do for us! Looking forward to see you at our concert on Monday, guys!

We're also doing our best to take care of our musicians while touring.
A part of that is taking them out shopping for shoes..

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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