Oslo Jazzfestival

Oslo Jazzfestival
Photo: oslojazz.com
Oslo Jazzfestival, sometimes referred to as the Oslo International Jazz Festival, is an annual music festival focused on jazz and related genres. It is held every August in the capital of Norway.

Oslo Jazzfestival was founded by Norwegian jazz trombonist Aage Teigen. He initiated the pilot project in 1984–1985 and held the first official edition of the Oslo Jazz Festival in 1986. The event was organized by a group of more than 40 volunteers and funded by Oslo Municipality. The inaugural festival focused on traditional jazz styles such as New Orleans jazz (Dixieland) and ragtime.

In 1995, the festival was officially registered as a non-profit foundation. In 2002, Teigen received the Oslo City Art Award for his commitment to Oslo Jazzfestival. He retired from the position of festival director in 2006 and was succeeded by jazz bassist Edvard Askeland, who still holds the position as of 2017.

Osslo Jazzfestival runs over a week in August. It offers around 60 or 70 concerts on about 20 stages in downtown Oslo. Concerts are held various venues including concert halls, cafes, clubs, museums, libraries, and even churches. There are plenty of free open-air concerts too. The main venue of Oslo Jazzfestival is the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet (Den Norske Opera & Ballett). The festival draws around 70,000 attendees each year.

The program of the Oslo International Jazz Festival is divided into several sections. The main program features renowned jazz musicians from around the world. Other sections include the Children and Family Program, Nordic Showcase, Side Program, and Jazz Film. Nordic Showcase is a platform for emerging musicians and music students from the Nordic countries that gives them an opportunity to perform in front of a wide audience and maybe even get their big break.

Since 1995, Oslo Jazzfestival has presented the Ella Awards (Ella-prisen). Named after Ella Fitzgerald, they are given out for significant contributions to the festival and the Oslo jazz scene. The first person to receive the award was Norwegian jazz critic and impresario Randi Hutlin. Past winners have included saxophonist Totti Bergh, singer Laila Dalseth, trumpeters Tore Jensen and Eivind Solberg, trombonist Gerhard Aspheim, record producer Hank O’Neal, and others.

Oslo Jazzfestival

Photo: Tore Sætre / Wikimedia




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