Christian Ihle Hadland receives classical music award

The 26-year-old pianist Christian Ihle Hadland has been named the young classical music talent of the year for 2009 and awarded a grant by Statoil worth NOK 1 million.

Pianist Christian Ihle Hadland was awarded the grant at Statoil’s autumn concert on Monday, Nov.16. (Photo: Trond A. Isaksen)

Pianist Christian Ihle Hadland was awarded the grant at Statoil’s autumn concert on Monday, Nov.16. (Photo: Trond A. Isaksen)

Each year Statoil awards a grant to a talented young classical musician who is selected by an independent jury. The purpose of the NOK 1 million grant is to help further the development of the recipient’s talent and potential. This year’s grant is awarded to pianist Christian Ihle Hadland from Stavanger.

“That such a highly respected jury chooses to award me this prize as a result of my efforts and skills is a fantastic honour. It will, in the years ahead, enhance my inspiration and boost my opportunities tremendously,” says Ihle Hadland.

This year’s jury is chaired by Leif Ove Andsnes. Andsnes substantiates the jury’s choice by pointing to Ihle Hadland’s unrivalled affinity for his instrument.

“Christian demonstrates great skill and a real sense for the timbre of the piano. It is really quite a vertical instrument, somewhat percussion-like, but Christian makes it sing. He is a musician in motion, who listens all the time to what is going on around him. That’s why it’s really fantastic to play along with him,” says Andsnes.

Pianist Christian Ihle Hadland was named the winner of Statoil’s grant for the talented classical musician of 2009 by chief executive Helge Lund (right) and Reidar Gjærum, executive vice president for corporate communication. (Photo: Trond A. Isaksen)

Pianist Christian Ihle Hadland was named the winner of Statoil’s grant for the talented classical musician of 2009 by chief executive Helge Lund (right) and Reidar Gjærum, executive vice president for corporate communication. (Photo: Trond A. Isaksen)

Heroes of tomorrow

Statoil has been supporting musical talents ever since 1990, and has awarded grants to promising young performers in the fields of classical music, rock and art. Previous recipients of the classical grant include Ole Edvard Antonsen, Henning Kraggerud and current jury chairman Leif Ove Andsnes.

“The purpose of the talent grant is to promote the performing arts in Norway by supporting the heroes of tomorrow and boosting their careers internationally. Christian is one of the country’s major talents and a magnificent pianist who will bring us much joy for many years in the future,” says Oddvar Høie, Statoil marketing manager.

Major talent

Stavanger-born Christian made his orchestral debut performing with the Norwegian Radio Orchestra when only 15 years old. Since then he has been soloist with the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra and appeared at the chamber music festivals in Trondheim, Oslo and Stavanger, as well as at the Bergen International Festival.

He has received a number of prizes and awards. In 2000 he won the international Balys Dvarionas competition in Vilnius and the Rudolf Firkusny competition in Prague three years later. In 2005 he was awarded the Friends of Music’s  newcomer’s prize. And in July of this year he became artistic director of the Stavanger Chamber Music Festival.

Ihle Hadland was awarded the grant at Statoil’s autumn concert on Monday 16 November. The funds are paid out over a four-year period.

In addition to Andsnes, the jury consists of Anne Gjevang, casting director and acting head of  the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet, Øyvind Gimse, leader of the Trondheim Soloists, Rolf-Cato Raade, director, Nordnorsk Opera og Symfoniorkester AS, Eirik Birkeland, principal of the Norwegian Academy of Music, and violinist Henning Kraggerud.

In 2008 the grant was awarded to violinist Eldbjørg Hemsing.

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