“Magnificent . . . When you sometimes feel jaded about music, a performer like
Haltli totally wakes you up again.” —Songlines
Norway’s accordion virtuoso Frode Haltli transforms traditional folk sources into atmospheric chamber music. An exceptional improviser and a folk music authority, ECM recording artist Haltli has a repertoire that includes lyrical waltzes from Sweden, free jazz experiments inspired by Albert Ayler, and traditional psalms and ballads from his homeland. The Frode Haltli Quartet, featuring experimental Norwegian composer/vocalist Maja Ratkje, clarinetist Darryl Harper, and violin and Hardanger fiddle player Nils Okland, performs on Saturday, November 10, 8 pm in the Walker Art Center’s William & Nadine McGuire Theater.
Haltli began playing the accordion at the age of seven and won several national competitions and scholarships, including Norwegian TV’s Talentiaden prize (1991), before studying at the Norwegian State Academy of Music and the Royal Danish Conservatory of Music.
Haltli was awarded the Young Soloist of the Year prize by the Norwegian Concert Institute at the Bergen International Festival 2000, as well as second prize in the prestigious International Gaudeamus Interpreters Competition in the Netherlands. His debut album Looking on Darkness (ECM) received a Spellemannprisen (A Norwegian Grammy) for best contemporary music album and the French Prix Gus Viseur (2004). Haltli is based in Oslo but frequently performs in Europe, Russia, North America, and Asia. He has performed as a soloist with major orchestras and is currently working with the contemporary chamber music trio POING with Rolf-Erik Nystrøm on saxophone and Håkon Thelin on double bass. Haltli often performs with Trygve Seim, with whom he recorded a duo CD (ECM) in 2006, and the Norwegian folk group Rusk, with singer Unni Løvlid and fiddler Vegar Vårdal.
Maja Solveig Kjelstrup Ratkje, composer and performer (born in 1973 in Trondheim, Norway), finished composition studies at the Norwegian State Academy of Music in Oslo in 2000. Her music has been heard all over Europe as well as in Japan, China, Canada, the U.S., and Russia. Her composed works have been performed by Klangforum Wien, Oslo Sinfonietta, The Norwegian Radio Orchestra, Arve Tellefsen, Cikada and Vertavo string quartets, Quatuor Renoir, Ticom, crashEnsemble, Torben Snekkestad, SPUNK, Frode Haltli, and POING, among others. Portrait concerts with her music have been heard in Toronto and Vienna, and she has received many awards and commissions from throughout the world, such as the International Rostrum of Composers in Paris for composers under 30 years of age. She has received the Norwegian Edvard prize (work of the year) twice, second prize at the Russolo Foundation, and in 2001 she was the first composer to receive the Arne Nordheim prize. Her solo album, Voice, made in collaboration with Jazzkammer, received a Distinction Award at Prix Ars Electronica in 2003.
Ratkje is active as a singer and electronics player as well as studio engineer, mainly in connection with the contemporary improvisation ensemble SPUNK, the noise metal band Trinacria, and the duo Fe-mail, which together with dancer Lotta Melin forms the performance trio Agrare. Other main collaborators include Jazkammer, POING, Frode Haltli, Odd Johan Fritzøe, Øyvind Berg, and Jaap Blonk. Ratkje has performed her own music for films, dance, and theater performances, installations, and numerous other projects. In 2003, she played a leading part in her own opera, based on the texts from the Nag Hammadi Library. In 2005, she performed the voice solo part of her first big work for orchestra, commissioned by Radio France.
Presented in association with the NE Accordion Festival. For information:
Tickets to the Frode Haltli Quartet are $25 ($21 Walker members) and are available at walkerart.org/tickets or by calling 612.375.7600.
The Walker’s New World Jazz Series presents groundbreaking artists who pair improvisation and experimentation with centuries-old fold and classical traditions from Tunisia, India, and Norway. Up next is Kinsmen/Svajanam featuring Kadri Gopalnath and Rudresh Mahanthappa on Friday, November 16, 8 pm, in the McGuire Theater.