After the last round of thrilling concerts conducted by Chief Conductor, Eivind Aadland, we wanted to catch up with Eivind and hear more about his life off the podium and out of the concert hall – to get to know the man behind the maestro and understand what drives his passion and creativity.
Hi Eivind, we’ve heard it mentioned that you are a big fan of visual art. Is there a particular artist that you admire?
There are so many that I’m excited about, but usually I’m very involved in the last things I’ve acquired. Over the last six months I’ve bought paintings by Anna Glantz, a young American artist. She’s on my mind right now as I’m currently working on the transport of one of her paintings (that’s very large) from New York to Oslo. Please be sure to check her out, she is a great painter.
[You can view Anna’s work at annaglantz.com]
Does a particular style of art inspire you, or do you collect a bit of everything?
When I buy art, I focus on collecting Scandinavian, German and American art created by artists 60 years and younger. As an art lover, you cannot keep up to date with the global market so I try to really study and learn about the art that I can possibly buy. We [Eivind and his wife] have many different mediums in our collection: paintings, sculpture, videos, and photography.
Do you display your whole collection in your home?
Oh no, I rotate them. We have a house that holds about 5% of our collection at one time and unfortunately the rest needs to be in storage. We do a re-hang at least once a year and we hold a little party with our friends and family to share the works. That’s something we really enjoy. But there are plans for an exhibition of our collection at the Bergen Museum. The plans were interrupted by COVID, but it is still in the works.
Please tell us when you have details of the exhibition so we can share them!
Oh yes, ok I will! [Just in case any of our Patrons and Friends are thinking of travelling to Norway soon!]
Have you always had an interest in collecting art, or was there an event that started this journey?
When I was very young, I really enjoyed drawing - just for fun with no ambitions. I think I had only worked for a couple of months when I bought my first lithograph by Salvador Dali. So, the interest in collecting has been with me for a very long time.
Is this a passion that passed to you from your parents? Or has it developed in you through your experiences?
No, it didn’t come from my parents. When I was young, I played recitals with a pianist in Bergen, my hometown, who had a lot of art. I went to his house for rehearsals and was completely fascinated by what he had on his walls.
So not visual art, but has music been a practice that flows through your family?
I come from a folk music family on my father’s side, and my grandfather (who died when I was very young) was a famous fiddle player so he played a lot. My father then played a little bit and he wanted me to play. As a result, I took up violin. So that’s where the love of music came from.
Does anyone else in your household play an instrument? [If you weren’t aware, Eivind was a concertmaster before moving into conducting]
My wife is a violinist, and I feel very lucky to be so supported in what I do - she sends me good luck emojis before every concert, wherever I am.
Do you have a professional highlight that you can think of – a time that has given you great joy?
When I grew up, I went to the late Edward Grieg’s house. I listened to his music, and I played my first concerts in his living room. Getting deeply involved in classical music came a little bit through his music, so when I got to record his complete orchestral works with a major German orchestra, that was a project that I am very proud of doing. I always think about that project with great sense of joy.
As a Chief Conductor, are there specific processes or practices you undertake to prepare for your time on the podium?
For the past 15 years I have embraced exercise. It is very important to me. I played sports when I was young, then I did nothing and the I discovered running and exercising later in life. It’s addictive and I really need it now to focus and be ready.
My family is also really important to me and being present with them (whether in person or by phone) plays a part.
We spend a lot of energy and time on art collection, as we travel regularly to art fairs. So, to have something that is outside of the music world is good for me, and I feel that art gives me that.
But still, I wake up every morning knowing music is my life. I cannot deny that.
But have you ever dreamt of a career you’d love to do if you were not a musician or conductor?
When I grew up my father built our summer house. He came from quite poor conditions outside of Bergen in Norway, living on a small farm. He had to learn to do everything by hand, so he built our summer house and I helped him with everything when I was little. So, to be a carpenter, to build furniture, work with my hands. Yes, I would have loved to have done that. I am quite patient when I have to do things like that so I think that would have suited me well.
Finally, as someone who spends so much time crossing the world, where do you love to travel to?
The older I get, the more I like having summers in the North of Europe because of the light. It doesn’t get really dark, and I really enjoy those summers. We’ve just spent two weeks on the Norwegian south coast with beautiful summer weather, the sea rolling in and on the horizon is Denmark. It is where we spent this summer, and the last seven summers. I want to spend many more there.
I also really enjoy my work, and I love that I get to travel the globe. I love visiting Tasmania, and I’m always so happy to be here. I feel privileged to be able to travel the world through music – from Tokyo, Seoul to Australia. I’ve been coming to Australia since 2005 and I wouldn’t come this much if I didn’t like coming here – it’s a beautiful country.