Performing as part of the Bristol New Music Festival on Sunday night read on for a feel of the Christian Wallumrød Ensemble concert…

How did your involvement with Bristol New Music come about?

CWE has visited St George’s a couple of times before (and this lovely hall really is one of the best we’ve come across over the years). Late 2012 BNM and Phil Johnson made contact and proposed a performance with the ensemble as part of the BNM program.

You will be performing music from your acclaimed new ECM album Outstairs. How would you describe it?

From my view the ensemble work is an ongoing process, a great variety of aspects having an impact on how the pieces are initiated, developed, performed and recorded (and then, performed again after the making of an album). Honestly I don’t think I’m the right person to describe the album as such, but it might have ended up a little darker than the previous one.

What can audiences expect from your performance here in Bristol?

A selection of the ensemble’s repertoire, performed by 6 devoted musicians, in a great venue that really suits the ensemble sound. I feel it’s somehow outside my power to predict how the listeners perceive the music. In my experience listening is a very subjective activity and state of being. I’d rather refer to other peoples opinions; please see the following link for album and concert reviews:http://christianwallumrod.com/reviews.html

What did you draw on for inspiration for Outstairs?

I guess it was mainly music (as opposed to for instance other art forms, or even nature). That said, inspiration is for me a strange term (and it goes without saying that it’s very hard to trace and understand what’s really going on in the ‘inspiration matrix’), but in general I think my music making is mainly fed by music. I listen widely, I enjoy a lot to hear live performances within basically any part of the music scene. Some of the most important and enjoyable moments for me have been when experiencing uncompromising contemporary music (both written and improvised), and I have many soft spots when it comes to the field of pop music.

Tell us about the Ensemble, who will be playing with you?

Five exquisite, lovely and all very different musicians: the highly acclaimed drummer Per Oddvar Johansen (we’ve played together now for almost 25 years in many different bands), trumpeter Eivind Lønning and sax player Espen Reinertsen who also form a duo (called Streifenjunko, check it out!), cellist Tove Törngren who is a highly versatile, gifted and experienced chamber musician, and violinist Gjermund Larsen who is considered one of the most prominent musicians from the Norwegian folk music scene.

What do you hope audiences will take away with them?

A very rewarding and interesting part of music making is that it often reflects our dissimilarities. It feels pretentious to hope anything for anyone, however, music always has a sort of potential to touch something in someone. Short version: good memories and a pile of cds.


BOOK NOW: Christian Wallumrød Ensemble, Sunday 23 February, 7.30pm.

At 6.15pm there’s a pre-concert talk with Christian in conversation with Late Junction’s Fiona Talkington, presented as part of our new Scene Norway Plus series.