Award winning violinist Peter Herresthal is to step-away from live performances following a busy autumn in which he gave numerous concerts throughout Finland, Denmark and Norway. In recent seasons he has made debuts with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Copenhagen Philharmonic and given the world premiere of a work by Missy Mazzoli which was subsequently recorded for BIS for release in 2023.
His close collaboration with Kaija Saariaho has led to 30 performances of her violin concerto Graal Theatre since 2015, both in the chamber and symphonic versions with ensembles such as London Sinfonietta, Bit 20 Bergen and National Sawdust New York to BBC Philharmonic (recorded for television) and Arctic Philharmonic, among many others. A staged version, created with him and La Chambre aux echoes, was also seen in Helsinki, Oslo, Stavanger, Bergen, Paris and Nantes. A recording of the work, along with Saariaho’s aria “Vers Toi” rewritten for Peter was made into a CD by BIS with the Oslo Philharmonic and was nominated for a Grammy Award, an International Classical Music Awards and was concerto choice in BBC Music and Gramophone magazines.
Listen to that disc here
Another very close and long relationship is with Denmark’s leading composer Per Nørgård. Peter’s landmark recording of the two concertos had rave reviews, a Gramophone Award nomination and was CD of the Month in The Strad and Gramophone. They toured together in the US and Europe and in Spring 2023 the recording of his double concerto with cellist Jakob Kullberg and Bergen Philharmonic will be released.
Listen to Peter's recording of Nørgård's violin concertos here
Other highlights have included playing Thomas Adès’ concerto Concentric Paths conducted by the composer with the Melbourne Symphony, as well as further performances with the Vienna Radio Symphony, and working with Sir Harrison Birtwistle on his concerto with the Orquestra Sinfónica do Porto Casa da Música and Henri Dutilleux on his violin concerto ahead of the Norwegian premiere.
Concentric Paths is available to listen to here
He leaves a recording legacy of 21 violin concertos for BIS and Lawo, all highly regarded by critics and with numerous nominations and wins from major award ceremonies. This includes new and existing commission from composers including Rolf Wallin, Olav Anton Thommessen, Jon Øyvind Ness, Ørjan Matre, Henrik Hellstenius, Nils Henrik Asheim, Eivind Buene, Gisle Kverndokk and Arne Nordheim, as well as those already mentioned.
In his native Norway he was named Performer of the Year, received the Norwegian Music Critics Award, the Fegersten Music Award and 5 “Spellemannsprisen” (the Norwegian Grammys).
Peter is one of the leading violin teachers in Europe and will continue as professor at the Norwegian Academy of Music, the Royal Danish Academy and as visiting professor Royal College of Music London & New York University.
A few words about a great artist. It is a privilege for me as a composer that a violinist such as Peter Herresthal has taken my violin concertos under his wings. With an extraordinary feeling for the particular nature of each phrase, and consequently for the specific nature of each of the two concertos, Peter’s virtuosity is so integrated in his playing that it is the expressivity and sensitivity which hold centre stage. Behind the appeal of the beautiful sound and the pure, emotional eloquence, there is an almost supernatural virtuosic sorcery which makes the experience multi-dimensional.
This allows the two concertos to appear as a kind of counterparts to each other: against the witchcraft and nocturnal atmosphere of the bright night, there is the no-man’s land of Borderlines, where the tonality is both strange and enigmatic, owing to the oddness of the scale steps. With a precision that is almost frightening, Peter hits these mysterious pitches right on, as if he had been taking daily walks on the dark side of the moon. Listen and marvel!
Per Nørgård, August 2011