Norwegian violinist Henning Kraggerud is a naturally gifted artist who combines an unusually sweet and colourful tone with intelligent expression and impressive virtuosity, drawing audiences and critics alike towards the genuine quality of his playing. Henning is co-Artistic Director of the Risør Festival of Chamber Music, having succeeded Leif Ove Andsnes in 2011. In September 2012, Henning also took up the post of Artistic Director of the Arctic Philharmonic.
Recent and upcoming highlights of Henning’s performances include his Vienna concerto debut with the Vienna Chamber Orchestra, concerts with the RTÉ National Symphony, Danish National Symphony, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Stavanger Symphony, and the Gulbenkian Orchestra, as well as a UK tour with the Stuttgart Radio Orchestra and a national tour with the Australian Chamber Orchestra's celebrated string ensemble, ACO2.
Such is Henning’s exquisite musicianship that he is invited time and time again to join many of the world’s most important orchestras. In August 2012, Henning made his debut at the Hollywood Bowl with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, where his performance was hailed by one critic as “the high point of the night. It was Mozart as...Mozart himself would have wanted it played”. In February 2012, Henning stepped in at late notice to perform two concertos with the Philharmonia Orchestra under Vasily Petrenko, gaining 5-star praise in the UK press. Other highlights include a critically acclaimed debut at the 2010 BBC Proms with the Danish National Symphony and a performance with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra at Carnegie Hall in 2009, extolled by one critic as “a breath of fresh air…who knew that Beethoven could be this much fun?” Similarly, Henning’s collaborative nature earns him the respect of leading conductors with whom he has formed strong connections; examples include Stéphane Denève, Jukka-Pekka Saraste, Kwamé Ryan, Thomas Dausgaard, Osmo Vänskä, Paul McCreesh, Alan Buribayev, and Nicholas McGegan.
An equally dedicated chamber musician, Henning performs both on violin and on viola at major festivals and venues; recent collaborations have included a “Szymanowski Focus” at London’s Wigmore Hall and at New York’s Zankel Hall, curated by Piotr Anderszewski, as well as performances at the Verbier Festival with Joshua Bell, Kathryn Stott, and Martha Argerich. This season he appears with Imogen Cooper and Adrian Brendel at London’s King’s Place and with Steven Isserlis and Dénes Varjon at the Bruges Concertgebouw.
Setting Henning aside from many other violinists of today, and in the spirit of the old masters such as Fritz Kreisler and Eugène Ysaÿe, he composes his own music, performing many of his own works, arrangements, and cadenzas in concert. In addition, Henning is an accomplished improviser, a skill which has led him to his most recent CD release entitled “Last Spring”. Released in June 2012 on the ACT label, the disc was the result of a collaboration with Norwegian jazz pianist Bugge Wesseltoft, exploring improvisations on Norwegian folk music. Bringing together classical and jazz elements, this unique recording made a far-reaching impression in the international press, including a 5-star Editor’s Choice from Classical Music Magazine, which described it as “beautifully recorded and urgently recommended”. Henning’s impressive discography includes many diverse recordings on the Naxos label, the most recent of which is a disc entitled Nordic Violin Favourites. On the Simax label, he has recorded the complete unaccompanied violin sonatas of Ysaÿe, for which he won the prestigious Spellemann CD award. In addition, Henning appeared in a major television and cinema documentary about the Norwegian 19th century violin virtuoso and composer, Ole Bull, released in November 2006 and more recently in an English-language version. Henning received the Ole Bull Prize in 2007.
As of 2014, Henning's reputation as a composer was sealed by the premiere of Equinox: 24 Postludes in All Keys for Violin and String Orchestra, composed as musical counterpoints for a 24 part story written by world-famous author Jostein Gaarder (author of Sophies World). This story takes us on a travel around the world in 24 hours travelling eastwards through the different time zones. In June 2010, Henning gave the first performance of the Munch Suite for Solo Violin – a unique concert project consisting of new pieces by fifteen different composers inspired by the works of Edvard Munch. The premiere took place at the Haugar Vestfold Kunstmuseum in Tønsberg (Norway).
Born in Oslo in 1973, Henning studied with Camilla Wicks and Emanuel Hurwitz. He is a recipient of Norway's prestigious Grieg Prize and in 2007 was awarded the Sibelius Prize for his interpretations and recording of Sibelius’ music around the world. Henning is a Professor at the Barratt-Due music conservatoire in Oslo, where he play/directs the Oslo Camerata, and in April 2012 was a jury member at the Menuhin Competition in Beijing.
Henning Kraggerud plays on a 1744 Guarneri del Gesù, provided by Dextra Musica AS. This company is founded by Sparebankstiftelsen DNB