Tan Dun and Eldbjørg Hemsing: the folk connection

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Chinese composer Tan Dun’s new concerto for Norwegian violinist Eldbjørg Hemsing draws on traditions common to the homelands of both artists. Andrew Mellor speaks to them about this latest in a series of collaborations

Tan Dun’s appearance at the Ultima Oslo Festival of Contemporary Music in September was indicative of the transformative capabilities certain living composers still hold within their grasp. In one corner we had the avant-garde music festival that will stop at nothing to maintain its reputation for coolness and innovation; in the other we had the Oslo Philharmonic, a traditional symphony orchestra (and equivalent audience) whose annual concert at Ultima can sometimes appear like it was beamed down from another planet.

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