KULTURELT INITIATIV was founded 9th of May 1996 with the purpose of promoting cultural activities in Sandefjord, Norway. Mozarthaven was the popular venue for the performances from the very start.
The summer festivals here focused on classical music: opera, operettas and chamber concerts. The programmes were based on Mozart’s music and Austrian music and culture in general. We benefitted from a close cooperation with The Austrian Embassy – which started already in 1991 by marking the bicentennial of Mozart’s death. Visits of musicians from Mozarteum in Salzburg, staging of the operettas The Bat, The Merry Widow, Gräfin Mariza were peak performances together with the celebration of Schubert’s bicentenary and Austria 1000 years! In 2001 Kulturelt Initiativ’s Artistic Director was honoured with The Austrian Cross of Honour for Science and Art.
The greatest success in Mozarthaven was without doubt the performance of George Gershwins opera Porgy and Bess in 1998 – in connection with Gershwin’s 100th anniversary. Anne Brown – who sang the role of Bess at the premiere in 1935 – got the rights for producing this staging from the Gershwin family and supervised the whole production.
In the eagerness of using the outdoor amphitheatre at Hjertnes Concert Hall we added the Midtsommer festkonsert to our schedule in 2002. Rodgers & Hammerstein Gala Concert was a fantastic way of starting this concert tradition! We have focused on the music of Phantom of the Opera – through a nice cooperation with The New York Pops Orchestra – Show Boat in Concert, Romeo and Juliet and Music in a Nordic Summer Night – to name a few. The greatest occasion, though, was when Dame Kiri Te Kanawa was the soloist in the Gala Concert in 2011.
Through the whole of 2006 we celebrated the 250th anniversary of W. A. Mozart – from the birthday on the 27th of January till the 5th of December. In 2007 the property of Midtåsen was opened to the public, and we were thrilled by the idea of making the park, the forest, the sculpture pavilion and the villa into the most exciting cultural arena. Kulturelt Initiativ has by now produced 423 concerts and performances at this venue. Our aim is to make Midtåsen Culture Festival the main arena for classical music in the region. Midtåsen Children Festival is the only festival for children in Norway that is based on classical music and themes.
We are still focusing on completing the plans of TO BEethoven – or not TO BEethoven – in a wonderful extension of the celebration of Beethoven’s 250th anniversary that started in the first and only sensory church, Tomaskirken at Signo in Andebu, on January 29, 2020. All together 53 concerts were played in his spirit throughout 2020. In 2021 we presented the concert lecture Beethoven’s fantasizing brain! – not at least, Grosse Fuge! and guest appearances by Trio Artio from Vienna.
We are proud to have been appointed partner of the international festival BTHVN2020, and to collaborate with the Beethoven-Haus in Bonn and The United Nations on The Pastoral-project! in connection with The World Environmental Day.
The association Kulturelt Initiativ has approximately 250 private members and a close collaboration with regional businesses, public authorities and foundations. Together, we are all looking forward to presenting a season consisting of nearly 50 performances in 2022 Culture is the glue of society – and is most important during the present world situation. Please join us in developing the cultural activities further – become a
FRIEND OF CULTURE
and invite someone you care for to this summer’s finest cultural gifts!
The German Embassy, Oslo – The Austrian Embassy, Oslo – Scandic Park Sandefjord