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VÅRFEST 2023 “Crossing Borders”

International festival of NEW WORKS FOR VOICE

August 30 - Sept 2, 2023

This year’s VårFEST promises an extraordinary program with internationally recognized composers and musicians, featuring exploratory vocal repertoire and music theatre. Our theme this year is "Crossing Borders", where we are focusing on creating an open musical experience relevant to people everywhere. We are giving space to marginalized voices and promoting powerful tools for change, set against an existential environmental crisis and calls for freedom. We’ll experience renowned and upcoming composers and improvisers who represent different generations, nationalities, and traditions. The one thing they all have in common is that they’re bringing us all together to promote creativity and community building.

The festival opens on August 30 at Litteraturhuset with a launching event where the artistic director Kristin Norderval will present the festival’s program, followed by a discussion panel that delves into the history of improvisation: "50 Years of Improvising - The improvisation scene in "Norway-USA-Netherlands-Hungary-Iran". Join us for a welcome drink, the chance to win free festival tickets, and get the program book.

The festival program includes a variety of electroacoustic and acoustic works, music theater works, an eco-opera, and a workshop with gestural controllers.

On 31.08 at the opening concert, the Norwegian audience will have the opportunity to experience European contemporary musical theater trends and approaches from the so-called Visegrad group countries Hungary, Czechia, Slovakia, and Poland. In addition, there will be world premieres by Oslo-based composers Mirsaeed Hosseiny Panah (IR/NO), and Vanessa Isobel Black (AU/GB/NO), and, works by Oslo-based Mariam Gviniashvili (GE/NO) and Gyrid Nordal Kaldestad (NO). The works are performed by VårFEST’s international guest artist, mezzo-soprano Anna Molnar from Hungary, and Norwegian soprano Amalie Kongssund.

On September 1 we present a special evening concert at Tøyen Kirke focused on deep democracy and the uplifting of marginalized voices with an added focus on the current women-led revolution in Iran. Featured on the program are premieres by Oslo-based composers Kosecka/Mofakham/Black, and a redesigned version of Cardew's historic text score “Paragraph 7” from “The Great Learning” (1971) entitled - “Reboot - Still Learning: Cardew, Confucius & Confusion”.

We close the festival with the world premiere of “Crane Reflects on a Favor - an Eco-Opera” by Oslo-based composer Kristin Norderval, co-created with the ensemble, on september 2nd at Kunsthøgskolen i Oslo. “Crane Reflects on a Favor” is Part Two of the operatic diptych “The Sailmaker’s Wife”. The diptych is loosely based on the Japanese folktale “Tsuru no Ongaeshi” (Crane’s return of a favor). This post-operatic allegory; dream-like sonic performance installation, is performed in three parts by three female sopranos using gestural control to modify their voices, and an ensemble of acclaimed improvisers, among others, Miguel Frasconi (US) on glass instruments and Peter Van Bergen (NL) on the Contrabass clarinet.

We are excited to share with you VoxLAB’s 5th VÅRFEST festival. Welcome to celebrate with us at this "multi-dimensional voice party" ( called VårFEST!

Supported by:

Oslo Kommune, Norsk Komponistforening, Komponistenes Vederlagsfond

Det norske komponistfond, Embassy of Hungary in Oslo, Oslo National Academy of the Arts (Kunsthøgskolen i Oslo), Kulturdirektoratet



"50 Years of Improvising - The improvisation scene in "Norway-US-Netherlands-Hungary-Iran"

Welcome to the launch of VårFEST 2023 - “Crossing Borders”! Join us for a welcome drink, get this year’s program book, meet the artists, and get the chance to win a raffle festival pass.


Anna Molnár (HU), Amalie Kongssund (NO), Strax Saxophone Quartet (NO), Josh Spear (UK/NO), Sanae Yoshida (JP/NO), Eivind Holmboe Leifsen (NO), Martyna Kosecka (PL/NO), Elżbieta Sikora (PL), Lucie Vítková (CZ), Mirsaeed Hosseiny Panah (IR/NO), Gregory Vajda (HU), Vanessa Isobel Black (AU/GB/NO), Mariam Gviniashvili (GE/NO), Gyrid Nordal Kaldestad (NO), Iris Szeghy (SK)


Spectro Duo (IR/PL/NO), Martyna Kosecka (PL/NO), Idin Samimi Mofakham (IR/NO), Vanessa Visobel Black (AU/GB/NO), Ann-Helen Schjølberg (NO), Live Marianne Noven (NO), Viola Othilie Tømte (NO), Josh Spear (UK/NO)

THE TIME WARP - Workshop and Demonstration

Kristin Norderval (US/NO)

Come to the free workshop and demonstration of The TimeWarp, Kristin Norderval´s new gestural instrument for vocal processing.



Kristin Norderval (US/NO), Flora Ångman (SE/NO), Viktoria Nikolova (NL/BG), Rob Waring (US/NO), Miguel Frasconi (US), Viktor Bomstad (NO), Peter van Bergen (NL), Rosanna Vibe (NO)

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