Q&A with Music Director Candidate Rune Bergmann

Music Director Candidate Rune Bergmann joins the Grand Rapids Symphony for Brahms' German Requiem on November 20 - 21. Learn more about Rune, his background and his hobbies below! 

It has been stated that Brahms’ Requiem is one of your favorite choral works. What do you love about this piece? 

What I love most about Brahms’ Requiem is the purity it possesses and how clear it has been composed and orchestrated. For me there is something very honest in the way Brahms composes, and especially in this work. There is something about it that goes straight to the heart.

In your opinion, what qualities make Nordic repertoire unique? 

Many composers have been very inspired by nature, most famously, Mahler and Strauss, for instance. This is also the case with most of the Nordic repertoire. Surrounded by a very inspiring nature, combined with its culture and traditions often makes the most well-known music easy to recognize.

As the Artistic Director of the Fjord Cadenza Festival, how do you select classical, jazz and fine artists for a successful festival lineup?

Our festival has an audience with different interests and experience with concerts and classical music. It is always a challenge to build a new audience, and for me it’s always a goal to bring the beauty of classical music to those who haven’t had a chance to experience the feeling and joy of a classical concert. In many ways we have been able to present music at the highest level, and audience members who originally came to see a jazz artist suddenly had the chance to encounter classical music in a different way. This goes both ways, and I often meet people who believe they don’t like certain music and genres. I always love to see someone’s face when they realize what they have been missing all these years. That is probably why the audience has been growing every year, and I always try to bring the right artists who I know are able to bring the audience on the journey we have invited them on. 

When did you first realize you wanted to pursue a career in music? 

I always had a special interest for music, and often used my pocket money to buy classical recordings instead of candy. I still have the first recordings I bought with Beethoven Symphonies Nos. 1 and 2 and Mozart Symphonies Nos. 40 and 41. Everything started from that moment. I grew up in a very small place, so I wasn’t exposed to live music with the same possibilities that we have today. As a young boy, I will never forget the day my father woke me up telling me that there was a New Year’s Concert from Vienna on television. I sat down and was sold from the first beat of the great Maestro Carlos Kleiber. I will never forget the feeling seeing such a conductor for the first time. The music spoke straight to me, and the way he communicated with the orchestra was unbelievable. At that moment I told my parents that this is what I am going to do with my life. Coming from a small place where conducting wasn’t even recognized as a profession they probably thought I was a bit crazy, but not many years later my journey started and it has brought me to some very exciting places around the world. 

Grand Rapids Symphony 2015-16 Music Director Candidates

What is something you like to do in your spare time outside of music?

I love skiing. Nature, mountains and snow is something I share with my family. I suppose this is quite typically Norwegian.

What are you most looking forward to during your visit to Grand Rapids? 

I am really looking forward to meeting the musicians. First meetings are always very exciting for me because we get to see if we have the chemistry that is needed to make magical moments in music. I am, of course, also looking very much forward to seeing the city and to meeting the audience, because without them there would be no concerts. But I must say that the first meeting with a new orchestra is like a first date. 

Posted by Sam Napolitan at 06:00
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