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Henning Kraggerud (b1973)

Norwegian Henning Kraggerud, who began playing the violin at the age of seven, later studied with Camilla Wicks and Emanuel Hurwitz, thus tapping into American and mid-European traditions of playing. He has, however, always maintained strong connections with his native land. A recipient of the prestigious Grieg Prize, he appears frequently at Norway’s major festivals playing both violin and viola. Kraggerud, who is greatly inspired by Ysaÿe’s compositions, hailing him as possibly the greatest violinist-composer, is also active as a composer himself (producing several cadenzas as well as original works) and is a keen exponent of new music. Directing and conducting activities have seen him work with the Zürich Chamber Orchestra and at the City of London Festival with the Britten Sinfonia. He is currently professor at the Barratt Due Institute of Music in Oslo.

Commenting on the influences of historical performing practice upon his playing, Kraggerud complains that early music is often made to sound too stylised or self-conscious: ‘I think in order to enchant an audience, you need a lot of different tools to make a suitably varied interpretation…If you take away vibrato altogether, and put nothing in its place, the result, for me, is likely to be sterile. In Louis Spohr’s generation, they used a lot of portamento […] If you […] remove the vibrato in common use today without adding the compensatory portamento, you may end up with nothing at all.’



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