On This Day
16 February: Eldbjørg Hemsing Was Born

Acclaimed for her radiant and sophisticated performances, Eldbjørg Hemsing is one of the leading young violinists on the international scene today. A subtle and sensitive performer, Hemsing creates a sense of magic through her warm and gentle tones. She is also passionately involved in a number of projects to bring classical music to new and emerging audiences across the globe.

Eldbjørg Hemsing Plays Bach’s Partita No. 2 for Solo Violin, “Chaconne”


Eldbjørg Hemsing

Eldbjørg Hemsing © Gregor Hohenberg

Eldbjørg Hemsing was born on 16 February 1990 in Nord-Aurdal, Valdres, Norway. The municipality is located on the western side of Innlandet county, and the village of Aurdal was the historic centre of the Church of Norway parish. She remembers growing up in an environment where “silence intensified all sounds, like the trickling of the water in a mountain stream, the summer breeze through the valley, or the gust of wind in the tree branches.”

Her mother worked in music education, and her father as a game warden, so “I grew up in a harmonious mixture of music and nature.” Eldbjørg frequently accompanied her father to work in the mountains to “assess avalanche danger, or to measure fish stocks and water depths.”

Edvard Grieg: Violin Sonata No. 3 in C Minor, Op. 45 (Eldbjørg Hemsing, violin; Simon Trpčeski, piano)

Education and First Travel

Eldbjørg Hemsing playing violin with an orchestra

The area of Valdres is known for traditional folk music that often mixes with new genres. Hemsing’s musical aptitude was discovered early and she started violin lessons at the age of five. Making incredible progress, she performed for the Norwegian royal family just a year later.

Every Friday, Hemsing travelled to Oslo to take lessons with Alf Richard Kraggerud and Stephan Barratt-Due at the Barratt Due Institute of Music. And at the age of eight, she made her first trip abroad performing in the Czech Republic. Additional lessons with Boris Kuschnir, who had known David Oistrakh, followed, and the highlight of her early career saw her perform at the Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony in Oslo.

Dimitri Shostakovich: Violin Concerto No. 1 in A Minor, Op. 77 – IV. Burlesca: Allegro con brio (Eldbjørg Hemsing, violin; Vienna Symphony Orchestra; Olari Elts, cond.)

Debut Album

Hjalmar Borgstrøm


In March 2018, Hemsing released her debut album on BIS, pairing the ultimate 20th-century challenge to violinists, Shostakovich’s First Violin concerto, with a 1914 concerto by Hjalmar Borgstrøm (1864-1925). For Hemsing, the Borgstrøm concerto is “a work full of authenticity and sincerity of utterance as it showcases the lyrical soul of the violin in rich melodies.”

Hemsing became aware of Borgstrøm through a family friend, the conductor and bassoonist Terje Boye Hansen. “He has been very passionate about Norwegian music and especially about Borgstrøm as a really good composer who deserves to be heard, so he gave me a pile of Borgstrøm’s music, and I took it home to my village about three years ago, and the Violin Concerto leapt out at me.” For Hemsing it was “a strange and fantastic discovery, one that she is now happy to share with her audience.

Eldbjørg Hemsing Plays Borgstrøm’s Violin Concerto, Op. 25 “Allegro moderato”

Tan Dun

Tan Dun

Tan Dun

Hemsing was chosen to represent Norway at the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai. It opened up her musical horizons and represented the starting point of a close collaboration with composer Tan Dun. Both have strong connections to the traditional music of their respective native countries, and this proved the starting point for a fruitful relationship.

Hemsing relates, “I am very grateful and feel continuously privileged that our ongoing collaboration has allowed me a deep insight into Tan Dun’s repertoire, simultaneously enriching my perspective and understanding of the cultural links between the East and the West.” Tan Dun has composed a number of works specifically for Hemsing, and she loves the opportunity to work with a living composer who takes part in the whole process. And since Tan Dun also plays the violin, “he knows how to write for it, and it’s really inspiring and fun too.”

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Hemsing/Bjelland Perform Tan Dun’s Hero Sonata

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