Musikselskabet Harmoniens Orkester was founded in 1765, and its long history makes it one of the oldest orchestras in the world.
The Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra is a national orchestra and has been based out of the Grieg Hall since 1978. The orchestra, which consists of 100 musicians, holds around 80 concerts a year and is an important part of the Bergen International Festival every May. It also tours extensively and holds concerts both in Norway and internationally.
Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra has a rich discography and it has received Spellemannprisen in both 1991 and 2007.
In the past few years, more than 30 recordings with the orchestra were released, including series with music by Johan Halvorsen and Johan Svendsen.
The long list of musical directors and conductors over the past 250 years is an impressive collection of great names from Norwegian and international musical history. Edvard Grieg led the orchestra for two years starting in 1880 and Johan Halvorsen for six years starting in 1893. Harald Heide became conductor in 1907 and directed the orchestra for 41 years. Other famous names among the orchestra’s conductors include Karsten Andersen, Dmitri Kitajenko and Aldo Ceccato.
In Bergen, the Young Artists Concert has been arranged since 1938. Young musicians audition to play with the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, and in recent years the event has been expanded to include young musicians from the entire Nordic region.
From 2003 until October this year the orchestra was led by American Andrew Litton. During Litton’s tenure, the orchestra has drawn critical acclaim after having played in some of the world’s largest concert halls. Starting in October this year, Edward Gardner will take over as chief conductor for the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra.