Bjarte Eike


"Bjarte Eike mixes period-performance with alehouse singalongs to exhilarating effect"

The Guaridan

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Baroque violinist Bjarte Eike pushes the boundaries of classical music, constantly looking for new projects in the borderland of genres and reaching out to new audiences with his infectious playing and style.

As the Artistic Director of Barokksolistene, he has created new and innovative programmes including The Early Joke, a journey through musical history exploring different aspects of humour and music; The Image of Melancholy dealing with sad songs and emotions through renaissance, folk and experimental music; and the critically acclaimed Alehouse Sessions which explores 17th century music from the pubs and alehouses in England and which continues to play to sell-out audiences throughout Europe. Commercial recordings include The Image of Melancholy for BIS and The Alehouse Sessions on Rubicon Classics.

As a freelance violinist he explores alternative ways of approaching classical music. Although rooted in Historically Informed Performance practice he strives to include other artistic aspects in his performances, using visual arts, dance, story-telling and improvisation. Major collaborations include Handel’s Alcina at the Norwegian National Opera, Vespertine with choreographer Liam Scarlett, a staged Messiah with Netia Jones at the Bergen International Festival and recordings and concerts with jazz pianist Jon Balke, including as part of the Siwan project which explores the links between North African Arabic, Andalusian and baroque music.

This broad, unifying approach to music, as well as a desire to curate exhilarating new experiences for audiences has led to him being invited to be Artist-in-Residence at festivals for early music, classical music, folk music, experimental music and jazz and as a conductor he is increasingly in demand for play-direct engagements with major symphony orchestras.

Eike received his training from the Grieg Academy in Bergen, Norway and with Richard Gwilt in London. He teaches baroque violin at the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo and as a guest-teacher at the Royal Danish Music Conservatory in Copenhagen.

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The Image of Melancholy (BIS-2057)

Bjarte Eike/Barokksolistene

This is a compelling and moving program. The playing is rich and gorgeous, to say nothing of creative...Eike seems to have thought of everything in his presentation of melancholy

Crawford, American Record Guide

The spotlight falls on violinist Bjarte Eike, whose effortless technique allows him to slip easily from improvisatory style to folk and art music

Kate Bolton, BBC Music Magazine

The string-playing throughout has the affecting physicality of folk, whether tugging at your emotions in a lament or stirring your (melancholy) feet with bite and swing in a galliard

Lindsay Kemp, Gramophone

The Alehouse Sessions

Bjarte Eike/Barokksolistene

The authenticity being aimed for is less that of performance style – though the calibre of playing is unimpeachable – and more that of experience. The audience stands, beer in hand, and listens to Eike chat from the platform. Some heckle. Before anyone is more than a pint down, Eike manages to get the crowd chanting a call-and-response number – this is not very classical, certainly not very British. But it is exhilarating.

Erica Jeal, The Guardian

Eike was a beacon of focus throughout, linking his ensemble into a chain of artful exchanges, comic interludes, and audience rapport. The energy flying from his bow was an inspiration.

Tyran Grillo, Rootsworld

Eike is a charismatic artist with a talent for conceiving live and recording projects...He leads the line here across instrumental and vocal pieces, bring a clear bell-like tone to the dances and ballads, and isn't afraid to roughen his sound where the style or subject matters require it.

Tim Woodall, The Strad

the performances had a wonderful sense of being thoroughly lived in. The variety of tone and texture was astonishing...The whole joyous evening was a liberation, carrying us back to a time when the terms "classical" and "folk" hadn't yet been invented, and music was simply music

Ivan Hewett, The Telegraph

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