Andrew Litton, Music Director 2003-2015
Pick a date that has changed the musical destiny of Bergen, and one strong answer would be 12 November 1998.
If the weather that night will not jog many memories (rain, probably …), the programme might: an all-Shostakovich affair consisting of the Violin Concerto No. 1 and the Symphony No. 5. On the podium was a 39-year-old New Yorker, new to the city but with a strong track record behind him, including music directorships with the Bournemouth and Dallas Symphony Orchestras (indeed, he was then midway through his Texan tenure).
Andrew Litton takes up the story of autumn 1998 with a certain candour: ‘I was shocked when I showed up in this nice little town late one night, it was pouring with rain, and I said to myself, “Has my career tanked so much that I’m here to conduct an orchestra in this dark outpost?”. The next morning I opened the hotel-room curtains and it was sunny, there was powdery white snow on the mountains, and I thought, “Well, at least it’s pretty”. I walked over to the hall and wasn’t expecting too much when I gave the preparatory beat for the beginning of Shostakovich’s Fifth, but then the lower strings came in with a tremendous “Bah Dum!”. I almost fell backwards, it was such a shock. As I’ve described it before, it was love at first beat!’
Below you can download a list of Maestro Litton's concerts, tours and recordings with the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra to date.