Håvard Gimse, Piano


Håvard Gimse is one of the Nordic region’s most popular and significant concert- and recording artists. His highly personal sound of the instrument, his sympathetic approach and intelligent, investigative programming have led to numerous prizes and countless glowing reviews. He has received the Diapason d’Or and Gramophone’s Editor’s Choice accolades, among others for his recent recording together with the cellist Truls Mörk. Gimse’s playing is to be heard on recording labels like Naim Audio, Sony Classical, Chandos, Simax, Naxos, Lawo, Fabra and Alpha-Classics. His recordings of especially Nordic repertoire such as the complete piano music by Sibelius, or selected works by Grieg or Geirr Tveitt, have been described as “best on the market”. About Tveitt, Gimse has also been involved in reconstruction works from old live recordings by the composer, since many of these scores were lost in a tragic fire.

Wherever he plays, Håvard tries to bring music from his own area. In this respect many places in the world have experienced music by both well-known and unknown composers from Norway, Sweden, Finland, or Denmark for the first time through Håvard´s playing.

Håvard has performed on many of the world’s most prestigious stages including the Wigmore Hall in London, Carnegie Hall in New York, Palais des Beaux Arts in Brüssels, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Recital Hall in St Petersburg, the Suk Hall in Prague, and the Konzerthaus in Berlin. Most recently he performed in the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester together with the Hallè Orchestra in Beethoven 5th, and in Oslo concert hall with the Oslo Phil doing Bartok. His performance and recording of the second piano concerto by Rachmaninoff with Maestro Petrenko during the pandemic, has been by far the most viewed video with Oslo Philharmonic to this date.

Alongside with all these big events, Håvard has since he was a boy kept up performing on lots of small, local venues. There might be no living classical artist in Norway who has been visiting so many corners of his own country, both as a soloist and as a co-musician. His long collaboration with the legendary violinist Arve Tellefsen has been an inspiration regarding this, and during the years Håvard has developed a highly interesting, broad profile performing with both folk musicians like the Hardanger fiddle player Knut Buen, the folk singer Arve Moen Bergset, the jazz saxophone player Bendik Hofseth or actors like Liv Ullmann and Lise Fjeldstad. Friends like the sculptor Nico Widerberg, and the author Levin Henriksen has also contributed to Gimse’s multifaceted work, which often is headed towards creating new audiences for music.

Håvard is now an honorary citizen of the little town of Kongsvinger (east of Oslo) where he was born and now lives together with his family. Here he started to play the piano when he was 6, and later studied in Oslo (prof Bratlie) followed by the Mozarteum Salzburg and the Hochschule der Künste Berlin with the legendary Hans Leygraf. His latest teacher has been the famous Czech-born pianist Jiri Hlinka.

Gimse’s victory and 1:st prize at the Jugend Musiziert Competition in Frankfurt in 1987 was the last competition he did, but the first in a string of major accolades to come his way. He won the Steinway Prize in 1995, the Grieg Prize in 1996, the Sibelius Prize in 2004, Norwegian Critics Prize for his performances of Beethoven’s Cello Sonatas with Truls Mörk at the 2011 Bergen International Festival, and just some months ago the “Lindeman Prize” which is considered to be the most important musical award in Norway.

In the Nordic countries, Håvard has performed as a concerto soloist with nearly all the major Scandinavian orchestras. Further afield he has performed with the Baltimore, the Atlanta, and City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestras, with the Royal Philharmonic in London and Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestras, plus now recently with the Hallè Orchestra, the Tokyo Philharmonic, Prague Symphony, Konzerthausorchester Berlin, Frankfurt Radio and Belgian National Philharmonic Orchestras.

In addition to performing as a soloist, Håvard has all his life been doing lots of chamber music. He has been heard in numerous chamber music festivals all over the world, performing together with many of today’s most important musicians. His experience from around 40 years on stage is highly appreciated by other musicians, and his ability to adopt to nearly all kinds of musical temperament is rare. He has been leading chamber music festivals both in Elverum and Fredrikstad (the Mozart Festival) and his nearly 30 years of contribution to the Oslo Chamber Music Festival has led to countless memorable concerts with world famous artists.

Håvard Gimse has since the late nineties been a part-time Professor of Piano and chamber music at the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo, and his students coming from all parts of the world are doing annual special projects consisting of deep diving in the piano music by one particular composer, performed in public concerts, whom have become popular also in the audiences.

In addition to this, Håvard is leading the national youth piano talent initiative, plus giving master classes for children at the Siljustøl Music Academy, in the home of the composer Harald Sæverud.


Bach: Concerto No. 5 f-moll

Bartok. Concerto nr. 1
Concerto for 2 Pianos, 2 Percussion and Orchestra

Beethoven: Concerto No 1 C-dur
Concerto No 3 c-moll
Concerto No 4 G-dur
Triple Concerto C-dur

Brahms: Concerto nr. 1 d-moll
Concerto nr. 2 B-dur

Chausson: Concerto for Piano, Violin and String Quartet

Chopin: Concerto nr.1 e-moll

Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue

Grieg: Concerto a-moll

Hindemith: 4 Temperamenter for Piano and Strings

Mendelssohn: Concerto nr.1 g-moll

Mozart: Concerto for 2 Pianos Ess dur
Concerto No. 11 F dur
Concerto No 12 A-Dur
Concerto No 17 G-Dur
Concerto No 20 d-moll
Concerto No 21 C-dur
Concerto No 23 A-dur
Concerto No 27 B-dur

Mozart/Wilby: Reconstructed Dobbelconcerto D-dur

Poulenc: Double Concerto

Prokofiev: Concerto nr. 1
Concerto nr. 5

Rachmaninov: Concerto nr.2 c-moll
Concerto nr. 3 d-moll
Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini

Ravel: Concerto G-dur

Schumann: Concerto a-moll

Shostakovich: Concerto nr 1 for Piano, Trumpet and Strings

Tchaikovsky: Concerto nr. 1 b-moll

Addinsell: Warsaw Concerto

Geirr Tveitt. Concerto nr.1
Concerto nr.4
Concerto nr.5
Concerto for 2 Pianos and Orchestra

Klaus Egge: Concerto for nr. 2 for Pianos and Strings

Egil Hovland: Concerto

David Monrad Johansen: Concerto

Johan Kvandal: Concerto

Ragnar Søderlind: Concerto

Eivind Alnæs: Concerto

Fartein Valen: Concerto

Prokofiev: Violin Sonatas, Op 8O No 2, Op 94, Five Melodies, Op 35b1s, Elise Båtnes and Håvard Gimse
Mon, 2017-05-01
The Prokofiev violin repertoire has been very fruitfully tapped in recent times, and this new release of the two sonatas and the Five Melodies presents something of a dilemma. Not only have we had the Japanese violinist Lisa Oshima in a visceral performance of the First Sonata, but also Alina Ibragimova and Steven Osborne performed both of the sonatas and the Melodies on a 2014 Hyperion disc, featured as that year. The distinguished Norwegian artists Elise Båtnes and Håvard Gimse offer a different perspective, but it is one that has firm stylistic grounding and a persuasive interpretative viewpoint of its own. Båtnes and Gimse are recorded much more closely than Ibragimova and Osborne, but on top of that their playing has in general a sharper edge to the projection, which is by no means out of place in this music. One might, at first, question the measured tempo for the Moderato first movement of the Second Sonata, which adds well over a minute to the timing on the Ibragimova and Osborne disc. But on repeated listening it works, somehow bringing a touch of unease to the melody's sultriness. In fact in the entire programme, while Ibragimova and Osborne offer telling insights into the music's dynamic and emotional shading, the more forthright approach of Båtnes and Gimse has a valid point to make as well — not that they are in any way wanting when it comes to the allure of lyrical restraint, either in the sonatas or in the Five Melodies. Maybe this is not a decisive verdict, but I shall happily live with both versions. By Geoffrey Norris
Alnæs: Piano Concerto, Op 27'. Symphony No 1, Op 7 Håvard Gimse, Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra / Eivind Aadland
Wed, 2017-03-01
Eyvind Alnæs's Piano Concerto (1915) has charm aplenty. The Norwegian composer's score is tuneful and opulently orchestrated, and the virtuoso piano-writing is often dazzling. It's impressive for its craftsmanship, too, the myriad ideas developed and interwoven with a sure hand. What's disconcerting is an occasionally jarring juxtaposition of mood and emotion. Listen to the end of the first movement's central development section (beginning around 8'15"), for example, and how Alnæs screws the tension tighter and tighter, building a climax of Tchaikovskian intensity that leads to nothing more than a flippant recapitulation of the opening theme. Or take the end of the darkly lyrical slow movement, where an even more gripping climax this time subsides into eerie stillness — a spell that's rudely broken by the ditty waltz theme of the finale. The result of these ill-fitting joins is a patchwork effect that undermines the work's structural integrity and narrative coherence. This is the second recording of Alnæs's concerto, and while excellent, it's perhaps a touch sober in comparison with the joyous exuberance of Piers Lane and Andrew Litton (Hyperion). Håvard Gimse conveys a delightful sense of improvisatory freedom in some passages but Lane makes the complex piano part flow more easily, giving the music a much-needed feeling of inevitability, Alnæs's First Symphony (1897), composed following his studies with Reinecke in Leipzig, is less characterful but more cohesive than the concerto, The two inner movements are very fine, particularly the solemnly expressive Adagio with its aching harmonies and inventive orchestration (try at 6' 15", where the upper strings are divided into delicate strands). Certainly Eivind Aadland and the Oslo Philharmonic make a more compelling case for this work than Terje Mikkelsen and the Latvian National Symphony (Sterling), and LAWO's close-up recording adds to the musical impact. By: Andrew Farach-Colton
Perfect Soloist
Vårt Land
Fri, 2017-02-03
..."Håvard Gimse is perfect as soloist in Alnæs' piano concerto. He plays brilliantly with great variation in sound, singing when it is required. The conductor Eivind Aadland submits and adjusts to the music and therefore the concerto appears in its natural colours. Aadland and a spirited Oslo Philharmonic make the orchestra part of the concerto anything but a decoration." Olav Egil Aune Eivind Alnæs: Piano Concerto in D Major, LAWO Classics LWC1112
Excellent Performance
Sat, 2014-11-29
..."Håvard Gimse's playing is out of the ordinary. There is an exceptional clarity and the music sounds like it is freshly laundered. The rhythmical movement and the dancing character gives Grieg's romantic reveries new life and one is drawn into the rhythmic drive. It is simply put an excellent performance. Håvard Gimse with Stavanger Symphony Orchestra in Göteborg Concert Hall
Sibelius Bagatelles, Pieces and Esquisses
UK Grammophone
Fri, 2004-10-01
Chips from the Master’s workbench they may be, but Gimse performs them with consistent style and obvious affection. Nearly an hour of innocuous listening, then, but dipping in is never less than a pleasure When Håvard Gimse plays with such consistent style and obvious affection. Very good sound, too, provided you don’t object to the occasional distant twitter of sparrows nesting in the rafters.
Havard Gimse at Wigmore Hall, London
The Independent / Music
Tue, 2003-03-18
Rarely is a pianist so at ease as Havard Gimse. The mechanics of playing seemed to come naturally, so that he could concentrate on listening to himself. The first half of his programme particularly invited this attentive quality, with the strange Norwegian resonances of five folk-song arrangements by Geirr Tveitt (1908-1981), and the rather stop-start set of variations, forever fading wistfully, that make up Grieg's misleadingly titled Ballade. The theme was so delicately played, so subtly suggestive...
Eivind Alnæs: Klaverkonsert D-dur op. 27, Symfoni nr. 1 c-moll op. 7
Håvard Gimse, piano Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra Dir.: Eivind Aadland LAWO
Prokofiev Sonatas
Håvard Gimse, piano Elise Båtnes, violin LAWO
Press Service

Photo: Ilja Hendel

Photo: Ilja Hendel

Photo: Ilja Hendel

Photo: Ilja Hendel

Photo: Ilja Hendel

Photo: Ilja Hendel

Photo: John Andresen

Photo: John Andresen

Photo: John Andresen