Léonie Sonning Talent Prize 2018
I dream about making music flow without too much interference
It was somehow a coincidence that I started playing the piano, says Christian Grøvlen.
We had a piano at home and one day when I was sitting playing for myself, my mother asked if I would like to take lessons. I might as well.
I am from Bergen in Norway, so my first musical impressions were from Grieg’s music. At my first piano lesson, I declared that I would like to play Morning Mood by Grieg. My piano teacher was a bit surprised that I knew Grieg, but it meant a lot to me. I have always been ambitious and when I was 10-11, I decided that I wanted to be a professional musician. Ever since, my musical work has been driven by my own ambition.
When Christian is to study a new work, he starts with the score. He does not use the piano at that stage, but notes the finger position with a pencil. It is very important to have that in place before playing to prevent him from developing unsuitable habits.
Fingering is somehow the bridge between the technical and the musical aspects; and the musical aspects are the most important, says Christian.
He also notes all his thoughts and associations formed by the music. He does that a lot; making notes with his pencil. He is inspired by almost everything as a musician. Therefore, he always carries his pencil with him. When there are experiences that inspire, or give input to the music, he makes a note about it. He notes all associations or ideas about something artistic, musical or practical that may help him in the process of improving his skills and making progress.
I dream about freedom; to be able to sit down, not having to make analyses and preparations, and merely present the music without too much interference, to make music flow, says Christian.
As a performing artist, Christian experiences that there are two sides to his work: The one side is very concrete, firm and quality-assured with regard to the play. The other side is more inexplicable. It deals with the volatility of being able to present something that extends beyond our intelligence and perceptiveness.
This is what I dream about, and if I succeed, I may probably also realise my other dreams and career ambitions. It’s not the other way around; you will not become a greater artist by playing at Musikverein in Vienna, says Christian.
That dream, the desire to realise it, is very strong, says Christian.
Christian was born in Bergen and is now living in Oslo, which serves as base for his career as a pianist. He plays many recitals around Norway and will now work on a more international career. He has 30,000 followers on Instagram and would like to meet them at concerts.
Christian Grøvlen, piano, in brief
Born in Bergen in 1990. Christian Grøvlen has played the piano since he was five and is today one of the most prominent young artists in Norway. He went to the Norwegian Academy of Music where he took a Master’s degree in piano. He has debuted from the soloist class at the Royal Danish Academy of Music. From he was a teenager, Christian Grøvlen has performed as a soloist, an accompanist and a chamber musician. He has played at many of the largest festivals in Norway and with e.g. Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Ensemble Allegria and Nordic Harmony. He has also played recitals at the Edvard Grieg Museum in Troldhaugen almost every year. Christian Grøvlen’s first solo recording, “BACH – Inside Polyphony”, was published in July 2017 at the recognised Norwegian record company, 2L Nordic Sound. He is also a composer. In November 2017, he held his first recital at the Norwegian National Opera.
How Christian will use the scholarship from the Léonie Sonning Music Foundation
Christian will use the scholarship to arrange concerts abroad, take lessons and participate in piano competitions.