"Freedom and Transformation"

Welcome to the Hemsing Festival 2020! Our festival theme this year is freedom and transformation. In 2020 we are celebrating one of music's greatest freedom fighters, Ludvig van Beethoven. He was on a lifelong quest for freedom and individual expression, both as a human and also as a composer. This led to him, for example, changing his place of residence in Vienna at least once every year- he wanted to maintain his own space, without having to adjust for others. As a composer, he was politically engaged, with strong idealistic views. Having had great hopes for Napoleon, he was so disappointed that the revolutionary Bonaparte laid claim to the crown that he tore into pieces the first page - which contained a dedication to Napoleon - of his 3rd symphony (Eroika) and instead wrote "In memory of a hero." In his compositions he frequently broke with adopted conventions, to the point that his last string quartets were referred to as being "crazy."


This tension between the artist and the community around them seems to be not only something which Beethoven experienced, but something which is indeed inherent to art itself.


Beethoven created a template for the freedom an artist must have. And this freedom the artist must fight for, both with themselves, and with the world outside them.


Grieg said that "Freedom - it is the fight for freedom".


Today, the discussion is whether there is any limit to this freedom. Where is the line between an artist’s right to freedom of expression and the audience’s right to not have their views violated?


Is it art itself which is transgressing limits, or is it the person(s) being violated who have too narrow limits? 


Beethoven was a child of the French Revolution, and the ideals that came out of the events of 1789 - despite political setbacks, wars, dictators, imperialism and colonialism, nationalism, globalization, and the abundance of media diversity (many of the same conditions which we find now) - gave birth to freedom, equality, and brotherhood. But we must constantly fight for these values.


The artists are in a prime position to fight this fight, because they are constantly working within the tension between tradition and transformation. Great art is always composed of an abundance of information concentrated in an artistic expression. The result is not necessarily "true" - think Piccasso's distorted women portraits - but all art is about truth. It can be both comfortable and beautiful, but also harrowing and ugly. If we accept this, we can enter into dialogue with ourselves, with others and with the artist. The artist's knowledge, skill and freedom can bring transformation and change - both within ourselves and in society.




It is our great pleasure to welcome you to the 2020 edition of the Hemsing Festival, from the 19th through the 23rd of February, when our small mountain village of 700 people will play host to some of the biggest stars from around the world. We are thrilled to present an exciting and varied program with fantastic artists for you to enjoy.


Our desire is the same as our motto: to create intimate encounters with great music! The magical atmosphere which occurs as a result of these intimate encounters means as much to the musicians as it does to the audience. 


The 2020 festival program includes 19 different concerts spread out over five days, with over 50 musicians of a top international level. You will be sure to enjoy the qualiity of this music performed by stars from abroad and from our home here in Norway, working together in close partnership.


In addition to the evening concerts at Aurdal Church and Frikar-Smia, visitors can also enjoy "Tasting with Tones" at Nythun, lectures and musicl experiences at Frydenlund Skysstation, concert lectures at Valdres Folk Museum, "Rakfisk Forte Fortissimo" at Noraker gard and matiné concert “The music track” in Aurdal mountain church. You can even enjoy a guided ski tour from Nythun to Aurdalsåsen or a ride on a dogsled before the concerts in the mountain church!


The Hemsing Festival is a unique opportunity to experience classical music combined with outdoor activities in beautiful surroundings, with a stunning view over snow-capped mountains and deep river valleys


We wish you a wonderful experience filled with magical moments. Welcome to our festival, which is sure to leave you filled to overflowing from its content, its culture, and its cuisine!


Artistic leaders,

Ragnhild Hemsing og Eldbjørg Hemsing

Capricorn Offshore AS

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