Peter Herresthal


"Peter Herresthal played with an analytical precision tempered by great sensitivity to Adès complex structures and layered colourations."

Gary Anderson, Arts Hub

"Herresthal stamps his personality on the piece and turns Nordheims lavish gestures in to meaningful musical discourse."

Philip Clark, The Strad

"Norway's leading violinist"

Richard Whitehouse, Gramophone

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Peter Herresthal is recognised as a brilliant and inspired interpreter of contemporary violin music, strongly associated both in concert and recordings with concertos by composers including Per Nørgård, Arne Nordheim, Ørjan Matre, Henri Dutilleux, Thomas Adès, Harrison Birtwistle, Olav Anton Thommessen, Henrik Hellstenius and Jon Øivind Ness.

Peter Herresthal has appeared with orchestras and ensembles including the Asko Schoenberg Ensemble, Vienna Radio Symphony, BBC Philharmonic, Melbourne Symphony, Oslo Philharmonic, Stockholm Philharmonic, Bergen Philharmonic, Danish Radio Symphony, Remix Ensemble, London Sinfonietta, Tapiola Chamber Orchestra, Stavanger Symphony, Orquesta Sinfonica de Navarra, Orquestra Sinfonica do Porto Casa da Musica, Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire, Helsingborg Symphony, Oslo Sinfonietta, Oulu Sinfonia, Norwegian Radio Orchestra, Kristiansand Symfoniorkester, Stavanger Symphony, Trondheim Symphony, Arctic Philharmonic Sinfonietta and Bit20, with conductors including Andrew Manze, Thomas Adès, Martyn Brabbins, Ludovic Morlot, Anu Tali and Sakari Oramo.

Peter Herresthal has given the Austrian, Norwegian, Spanish and Australian premieres of the Thomas Adès violin concerto ‘Concentric Paths’, the latter conducted by the composer at the Melbourne Festival. Festival appearances have included the Bergen Festival, where he currently curates an annual series, Risor Chamber Music Festival, MAGMA Berlin, Schleswig-Holstein and Mechelburg-Vorpommern.

He has recorded a number of CDs for BIS and Simax/Aurora including prize-winning discs of Nordheim and Ness, and most recently the Buene and Walli concerti nominated for Norwegian Grammys. His Nørgård recording was nominated for a Gramophone Award and was Editors Choice in The Strad and International Record Review. His recording of the violin concerto by Thomas Adès was released by BIS in February 2014 and he gave the Adès new cadenza premiere for the Ligeti concerto with conductor Andrew Manze.

He works closely with composer Kaija Saariaho, and has performed Graal théâtre with the London Sinfonietta in both Bergen and London, and with the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire, and BBC Philharmonic (televised for BBC Four). He has also recorded the work with the Oslo Philharmonic and Clément Mao-Takacs, released in 2019 to critical acclaim. The disc was selected as BBC Music Magazine’s Concerto Choice, and was nominated for a Spellemannsprise and International Classical Music Award.

Peter Herresthal is a Professor at the Oslo Academy and visiting Professor at the Royal College of Music, London.

He performs on a GB Guadagnini from Milan 1753.

This biography is for information only and should not be reproduced.

Saariaho: Graal Théâtre and Vers toi qui es si loin

Copenhagen Philharmonic, February 2022

5 stars: one of those concerts that the reviewer will remember for a long time...'Vers toi qui es si loin' is some of the most beautiful music there is. Here the music speaks purely and with magical effect...Herresthal effortlessly played the difficult solo in Saariaho's violin concerto

Missy Mazzoli - Dark with Excessive Bright (US premiere)

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, October 2021

Perhaps the only moment in the evening’s proceedings that could truly distract from Stutzmann was the debut of Dark with Excessive Bright, a new work by contemporary composer Missy Mazzoli...Mazzoli’s work is avant-garde modernism done right: The witheringly tense melody of the violin (here played superbly by guest soloist Peter Herresthal) and pulsating accompaniment are reminiscent of Ennio Morricone’s scores for the films of Sergio Leone. Herresthal’s violin solo was worthy of note in particular with its brash explorations of the outer limits of the instrument’s sonic capacity, eventually finding melodic satisfaction in a forest of arpeggiated scrapes and muted plucks

Jordan Owen, Arts Atlanta

Guest violinist Peter Herresthal provided adroit contemporary anachronisms atop an orchestral backdrop that sounded Baroque and current at the same time

The Atlanta Journal Constitution

Saariaho: Circle Maps, Graal Théâtre and other works

BIS Records

Performances could scarcely be bettered. Peter Herresthal finds greater expressive variety in Graal Théâtre than Gidon Kremer… The Oslo Philharmonic evince all the clarity and fastidiousness this compelling music requires

Richard Whitehouse, Gramophone

In both this [Vers toi qui es si loin] and Graal Théâtre, Herresthal is a dazzling soloist, at once neat and carefree, imbuing the often-abstract score with tenderness and tackling the extended techniques with aplomb.” Claire Jackson, BBC Music Magazine: Concerto Choice, *****

BBC Music Magazine: Concerto Choice *****

Herresthal plays skillfully and convincingly

Helsingin Sanomat *****

Rolf Wallin Under City Skin / Eivind Buene Miniatures

Arctic Philharmonic Sinfonietta (BIS 2242)

Norwegian contemporary music often gets overlooked… so this disc of works from two of its leading composers comes as welcome redress – not least when it highlights the playing of Norway’s leading violinist… it is Peter Herresthal, whose disc of Nørgård concertos (6/12) was such a revelation, that commands attention on this finely recorded and informatively annotated release. Warmly recommended.

Richard Whitehouse, Gramophone

Peter Herresthal plays both of the concertos with consummate skill, and the Arctic Philharmonic players are clearly world class.

Dominy Clements, Music Web International​

Kaija Saariaho – Graal Theater

Oberlin Contemporary Music Ensemble (March 2017)

Performing the solo part for the eleventh time, Herresthal played with easy virtuosity, a quality he also brought to a brief encore: the sneak preview of an arrangement of the final aria from Saariaho’s opera L’Amour de loin. Scored for solo violin, strings, piccolo, and harp, it was as deeply expressive as its textures were diaphanous.

Daniel Hathaway, Cleveland Classical​

Kaija Saariaho – Graal Theater

London Sinfonietta, Bergen International Festival (June 2017)

Peter Herresthal’s suberb and respectful interpretation of Kaija Saariaho’s violin concerto Graal Theater with London Sinfonietta.

Emil Bernhardt, Morgenbladet

Henrik Hellstenius and Ørjan Matre

Stavanger Symphony Orchestra, BIS-2152 (April 2016)

Herresthal has its measure, both technically and expressively… Superb sound.

Guy Rickards, Gramophone

Ørjan Matre, meanwhile, chose to home in on specific aspects of Herresthal’s playing for his Violin Concerto, notably the violinist’s confidence at the top of the register and his sure way with harmonics… Herresthal’s sound [is] clean and determined.

Andrew Mellor, The Strad

Hellstenius' In Memoriam [Violin Concerto No. 2]… is intensely told by Herresthal… Matre’s concerto is bigger, both in orchestral and musical breadth. Herresthal provides a staggering performance, weaving an almost unearthly picture of ethereal, spinning figures, against deep woodwinds and dark moods. The sound is colorful, rich and wonderfully satisfying.

Maren Ørstavik, Aften Posten

Per Nørgård: violin concertos ‘Helle Nacht’ and ‘Borderlines’

Stavanger Symphony Orchestra (April 2012, BIS-CD-1872)

Herresthal plays here the reduction for chamber orchestra [of Helle Nacht] Norgård made at his suggestion in 2002, which gives the music an extra transparency that proves even more beguiling than the original. Herresthal plays compellingly.

Guy Rickards, Gramophone

A master violinist explores two atmospheric Nordic Landscapes: "This compelling disc serves as much as a showcase for the unfussy, no-nonsense musicianship of Norwegian violinist Peter Herresthal as it does for the rarified music of Danish composer Per Nørgård. Herresthal is by turns muscular, introverted and mercurial in the first concerto. Similarly, Herresthal brings a clean Romanticism to the work's almost folk-like melodies, only to explode into assertive action for its showy pyrotechnics. His vivid, committed reading brilliantly captures the work's luminous, crepuscular world.

The 'Bordelines' of the Second Concert's title refers to the frontier territory the soloist occupies between two radically contrasting sonic worlds…traditional Western equal temperament and a strange microtonal landscape created by overtones in the cellos and basses. Herresthal is entirely convincing, wringing the last expressive possibilities out of not just the ear-tweaking world of sixth- and quartertones, but also the relentless shifting between two systems.

David Kettle, The Strad

Thomas Adès: Violin concerto ‘Concentric Paths’

BIS-8003 (February 2014)

Not a note is wasted: this compact 20-minute concerto grips the ear throughout. Herresthal, with the Norwegian Radio Orchestra, is more in touch with the concerto’s freewheeling fantasy, and the recording showcases the orchestra’s equally absorbing role.

Andrew Clark, The Financial Times ****

Direct, not too Romanticised tone matches the classically-leaning passacaglia structure....The Lightness of texture in the final movement draws together the dance rhythms and the soaring solo lines convincingly.

Martin Cotton, BBC Music Magazine ****

Herresthal and Manze bring and objective intelligence and sonic beauty [to their recording].

Andrew McGregor, BBC Radio 3

Olav Anton Thommessen: Bull’s Eye

Oslo Philharmonic (May 2006, BIS-SACD-1512)

The performance and engineering could hardly be improved upon, Peter Herresthal is equally adept in managing the pyrotechnical demands of Bull and Thommessen.

Peter Quantrill, The Strad

Peter Herresthal does an excellent job…this one of the standout contemporary music releases of 2006.

David Hurwitz, Classic Today

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