Artist Liaison

On October 12th, St. Mary’s College of Maryland had the pleasure of hosting a concert by the internationally known Norwegian Violinist, Michael Sussmann, and his accompanist Signe Bakke. This was free and open to the public.

Just a short bio of each

Michael Süssmann is the artistic director of MusicaNord, a Norwegian concert society that produces over 75 concerts every year, and he performs as a solo artist throughout Europe, Asia and North America. In addition to directing MusicaNord, Süssmann is the founder and artistic director of an annual international summer music festival, Bergen International Chamber Music Festival, and he is the chairman for the annual Ole Bull Prize.

After winning Norway’s Youth Piano Competition at age 18, Signe Bakke studied at the Grieg Academy of the University of Bergen, where she now serves as associate professor. While pursuing graduate studies at Norges Musikkhøgskole (Norwegian Academy of Music) in Olso, she appeared as soloist with the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra. Her concert tours have since included performances in Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, Great Britain, Germany, the United States, Georgia and Azerbaijan.

I had the great fortune to coordinate transportation, accommodations, and concert details for Michael and Signe for the two days they were scheduled to be in town. I even introduced them with a very short impromptu talk before the concert!

Michael performed a wonderful concert with the works of

Edvard Grieg: Sonata No. 2 in G Major

Claude Debussy: Sonata

Johan Svendsen: Romance in G Major

Johannes Brahms: Sonata in D minor No. 3

One thing that I came to accept while working in the arts is that it’s a never-ending job. The day of the concert resulted in a 12 hr day for me, but that’s ok. The extra hours put in to make sure that Michael and Signe were comfortable as artists made it all worthwhile. I didn’t work more for a “little bonus.” Things had to be done. So, the time totaled to make sure the few days they were in town was filled with as little stress as possible gave me a sense of meaning for this work. I was filling up my time investment in a significant manor. The attention given to relationship building, and passion for the concerts and music that we were all a part of gave me the reason for why I do what I do. Working alongside musicians provides worth; and because of it, delivers a “happiness” I could not trade elsewhere.

Michael and Signe were a pleasure to work with, and their great sense of humor made it easy for us to get along. I look forward to growing our relationship and having the pleasure to work with Michael again soon.

***

A recording of Michael Sussmann playing Grieg’s Violin Sonata, 2nd mvt., arranged for strings from a concert in Bergen, Norway.

Michael and Signe also performed with St. Mary’s in our ninth summer music tour in Alba, Italy this past summer. Check out the website here http://www.albamusicfestival.com/

With the listing of the 2012 summer festival concert schedule here http://www.albamusicfestival.com/pagine/eng/calendario/calendario_dettaglio.lasso?-idc=189

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Arts administrator with experience in concert production, event planning, website development, and grant writing. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and a trombone performance minor from St. Mary’s College of Maryland. He continues to study trombone with Bryan Bourne, former principal trombonist of “The President’s Own Marine Band,” and perform with the Chesapeake Orchestra in Leonardtown, MD. He is an Honorary Member of the Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity of America and is passionate about reading, international travel, and a great cup of coffee.

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2 comments on “Artist Liaison
  1. Jsburke says:

    You mention their humor was something that you had the chance to embrace during their short visit. It would be intriguing to the readers if you added a short anecdote including an interaction with them that stuck out to you. Also, I like that you have included a short bio about them, and a link to their music with an old Alba schedule, but if I wanted to find out more about the artist, short of Googling it, where would be the best location?

    • afllewellyn says:

      Thank you for your interest. The two of them were just generally nice, easy going people. Very inquisitive about American culture, social norms, and St. Mary’s. A particular instance that stuck out to me was when we were at IHop (Yes, IHop, but many foreign guest artists seem to really enjoy it) and how much they loved the fruity mixed drink that they ordered-a berry splash of some sort. It soon became hysterical when they found out that refills were free, and soon the table had three rounds each!

      As far as more information, I think the best thing to do is to visit the MusicaNord website. You may find contact information there as well http://www.musicanord.no/home.html

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Andrew Llewellyn

Andrew Llewellyn

Arts administrator with experience in concert production, event planning, website development, and grant writing. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and a trombone performance minor from St. Mary’s College of Maryland. He continues to study trombone with Bryan Bourne, former principal trombonist of “The President’s Own Marine Band,” and perform with the Chesapeake Orchestra in Leonardtown, MD. He is an Honorary Member of the Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity of America and is passionate about reading, international travel, and a great cup of coffee.

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