COMPOSER / DIRECTOR / VIOLIN

Mendelssohn Violin Concerto / Welsh National Opera Orchestra with Tomas Hanus / St David’s Hall, Cardiff

“In a dazzling display of musicianship, the soloist’s understated yet masterful style meshed perfectly with the orchestra, ebbing and flowing in perfect unison.”

South Wales Argos, January 2018

 

Vivaldi Between the Seasons / Arctic Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra – Simax (2017)

“The idea is brilliant and the concept works… the four compositions by Henning Kraggerud are truly great music, accessible and beautiful, and should be heard by every music lover… The solo playing is stunning, the orchestra, the world’s youngest and northernmost, is fantastic and the recording is superb in every respect… Things couldn’t be better!”

MusicWeb International, December 2017

 

“Kraggerud interpolates attractive works of his own between each concerto, which all have a melancholy air… Kraggerud enjoys the theatre of it all, without over-exaggeration… Such vivid interpretation marks all the concertos… It is all entertaining, and very well played. The recording is warm and clear.”

The Strad, December 2017

 

“Naturally I turned to Winter first. Wrap up warm: this performance has even more shocks than Richard Tognetti’s Australian Chamber Orchestra recording… suffice to say that the opening of Spring’s last movement had me collapsing in giggles, and that the storm sequence in Summer made my windows rattle.”

The Arts Desk, September 2017

 

“Vivaldi’s concertos are performed on this new album in a fantastically beautiful, glowingly intense way, and the acoustically amazing original compositions of the soloist Kraggerud with well-written programme notes increase the listening pleasure once again” (Trans.)

 Der Neue Merker, August 2017

 

Sibelius Violin Concerto / Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra with Jacek Kaspszyk / Guild Hall

“In this masterwork of the repertory Kraggerud displayed a striking virtuosity which felt bold with a masculine ruggedness yet natural, attributes so often absent from performance. Rich, mellow sound streamed from his Guarneri del Gesù (1744) of a volume that easily cut through the hall, one known for its challenging acoustics… Kraggerud’s passion fuelled performance was a special one of a type that comes around all too infrequently and will stay long in the memory.”

Seen and Heard International, October 2017

 

 

Grieg / Australian Chamber Orchestra tour / City Recital Hall

“[Kraggerud] plays the violin like a dream, with an intense, clear sound which projects across the orchestral texture without feeling in any way forced, and sashaying through the trollish folk melodies with great beauty… [Topelius-Variations (From Topelius’ Time) is] a very convincing, deeply idiomatic work for strings which sits brilliantly well alongside the Grieg.”

A Cunning Plan, September 2017

 

Australian Chamber Orchestra tour

“Henning Kraggerud was persuasive, his lengthy verbal prequels, kaleidoscopic violin timbres and energised direction revealing his Grieg passion at every turn… Kraggerud’s own Topelius Variations (From Topelius Time), an almost equally new work, provided a far more emotional counterpoint to one of Finland’s most compelling authors with a helter-skelter procession of strongly etched statements and immense drive.”

The Advertiser, September 2017

 

“Bold, high-energy Grieg from Kraggerud and the ACO… Kraggerud cut through with his biting tone – he’s certainly not short on exuberance – at times floating just above the surface before ascending to soaring heights… Kraggerud was a gregarious musical host, with a story to tell for each performance, his own joy and vitality reflected in the ACO musicians.”

Limelight Magazine, 4.5 stars, September 2017

 

“[Henning Kraggerud and Bernt Simen Lund’s] arrangement of the third [Grieg violin] sonata respects the composer’s ­intentions that it be bold and exuberant. Kraggerud’s rich, full-bodied tone and clear articulation captured its virtuosic flair and ­romantic ardour.”

The Australian, September 2017

 

“Norwegian violinist Henning Kraggerud offered a late-night survey of the six solo violin sonatas that Belgian violinist, composer and conductor Eugène Ysaÿe wrote in 1924… [Kraggerud] spoke about each of the pieces in advance with insight and wit. He’s a composer as well as a violinist, and he talks about music with a composer’s hunger for understanding its material and the nature of its construction.

All this would be beside the point, of course, if his playing did not match up to the ambition of the music. It did, and the concert provided its listeners with a rare kind of immersion in pieces that are not often communicated with the intensity of focus that Kraggerud brought to them.”

 The Irish Times, July 2017

 

Mozart, Bruckner and Equinox / Vancouver Symphony Orchestra

“There is a lovely freedom in Kraggerud’s manner and a sense of fantasy and feeling in his playing and, indeed, in his sensitive explorations as a composer … His tone is particularly fine and pure and he shows beguiling flexibility … The sheer speed and bounding energy of the opening Allegro was about as truculent as I have ever heard.

A most enjoyable variety of works here; interestingly enough, I left the concert immediately wanting to seek out the rest of Henning Kraggerud’s Equinox.

 Seen and Heard International, April 2017

 

Mozart Violin Concerto no. 5 / Danish National Symphony Orchestra with Juanjo Mena / DR Concert Hall

“The Norwegian Star stands for life and happy days and does everything in his own personal way. Nobody will forget his dexterous flight over the strings for some time. Nobody has ever heard the middle movement as beautiful, or the Finales Turkish Music as fiery.” (trans.)

Berlingske, April 2017

 

Halvorsen and Nielsen Violin Concertos / Malmö Symphony Orchestra with Bjarte Engeset – Naxos (2016)

“With his catchy melodies and his musical joke, the violin concerto by Johann Halvorsen is a real discovery, freshly and vividly interpreted by Henning Kraggerud and the symphony orchestra Malmö under Bjarte Engeset” (trans.)

 Deutschlandfunk, March 2017

 

“Kraggerud’s 1744 Guarneri Del Gesù has surely never sounded warmer or brighter, and the joy, exuberance and perfect communication between soloist and orchestral players is a delight to see. The performances throughout are superb, with brilliant outer movements and beautifully judged slow movements.

Kraggerud, who provides his own cadenzas, gives introductions to each work (in Norwegian with English subtitles) with fascinating insight and stories”

The Whole Note, March 2017

 

“No doubt other violinists and orchestras will now make a bee-line for the work, but they’ll have a job coming close to this highly charged reading, which burns with conviction – Kraggerud’s playing is quite wonderful.”

KlassiskMusikk.com, March 2017

 

“Kraggurd and the Malmo Symphony conducted by Bjarte Engeset, give us a spirited, idiomatic reading fully worthy of the work’s substance and charm. And so we have something of great interest in fully fleshed out form. The Halvorsen performance certainly makes this release worth pursuing in itself. But then we have the Nielsen Concerto nicely done… And all-in-all this is a thoughtful combination, well worth the good Naxos price. Hear it!”

Classical-Modern Music, March 2017

 

Mozart Violin Concerto no. 3 / Baltimore Symphony Orchestra with Nicholas McGegan / Strathmore

“[Kraggerud] is disarmingly informal and a deeply engaging performer … [he] very carefully choreographed his movement, turning his back on the audience to ‘jam’ with the first violins before turning back to reveal the true tone of his solo instrument, direct and resonant throughout the entire hall. The vibrant communication between the orchestra, McGegan and Kraggerud was palpable and simply a joy throughout.”

 Maryland Theatre Guide, February 2017

 

Janáček Violin Sonata and Equinox with Dénes Várjon / Kamara.hu Festival

“Kraggerud’s haunting composition [Equinox] draws its power from being steeped in tradition while at the same time astounding us with its originality.”

Seen and Heard, December 2016

 

Sibelius Six Humoresques for Violin and Orchestra / L.A. Chamber Orchestra with Thomas Dausgaard

“In Sibelius’ ‘Humoresques’, a delightful Scandinavian rarity, the 43-year-old Kraggerud conveyed both musicality and unassuming virtuosity, from the mazurka-like opening piece and double-stopped melodies of the second to the more lyrical fourth and introspective sixth. Throughout, Dausgaard and the ensemble were as one with the soloist.”

Los Angeles Times, November 2016

 

Mozart Concertos no. 3, 4 and 5 / Norwegian Chamber Orchestra – Naxos (2016)

“Even in an age when technical cleanliness and accuracy can be taken virtually for granted, Kraggerud’s buoyant, mellifluous spontaneity and spotless intonation are in a class apart. Although tempos are free-flowing (with a total timing just a shade over 66 minutes), such is Kraggerud’s infectiously smiling way with these delightful scores that there isn’t the slightest hint of breathlessness. A triumph for all concerned, guaranteed to blow away any musical cobwebs.”

The Strad, September 2016

 

“In the Fourth Concerto, there’s a lovely singing character to the central Andante, Kraggerud producing a variety of tone which matches the changing intensity of the line. Here, as in all the concertos, he plays his own cadenzas, which are stylish in the best sense, and show off his technique”

BBC Music Magazine, September 2016

 

“The admixture Nordic coolness and a proactive approach to the scores is a potent one, and enables the ‘character’ moments … to make their mark … Kraggerud provides his own cadenzas throughout, which demonstrate both his dexterity and his sympathy for the idiom, and never feel like anachronistic accretions. The sound and balance, too, are ideal, with the soloist integrated fully within the orchestral picture, just as he should be.”

Gramophone, August 2016

 

“His breezy music blows away a lot of dust, making room for new colours and new dynamics. Here, the directing soloist gives a fresh and powerful performance, while also beautiful and artistic.”

Pizzicato, July 2016

 

“[Kraggerud] creat[es] a breezy but neat partnership with the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra. The performances are light and energetic. Kraggerud’s tone is eloquent and beautiful, marrying richness in the low notes with sweetness at the top, and he plays his own long, sparky cadenzas.”

Guardian, four stars, March 2016

 

Sibelius Violin Concerto / Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra with Vasily Petrenko / Colston Hall

“Kraggerud and the OPO’s excellent principal cellist, Louisa Tuck, played his own composition, [Variation Suite]. Here was a natural charm to complement the Grieg.”

Guardian, four stars, March 2016

 

Grieg Sonatas with Håvard Gimse / Wigmore Hall

“Norwegian violinist Henning Kraggerud is clearly a native speaker when it comes to Grieg … Kraggerud brings azn ideal fluency that allows him to integrate the folk idioms into the music’s otherwise classical discourse. His tone is robust and, when required, impressively muscular.”

The finale, a classic Grieg stamping dance, was beautifully executed, the sophistication of the playing never compromising the music’s direct line to its folk roots.”

 The Arts Desk, February 2016

 

Bruch Violin Concerto / Auckland Symphony Orchestra

“Norwegian violinist Henning Kraggerud injected the well-worn grooves of Bruch’s G minor Concerto with the freshness of an early morning on the fjords.”

New Zealand Herald, October 2015

 

Bruch Violin Concerto and Kraggerud Variation Suite encore / Seattle Symphony Orchestra

“Some of the most delightful concert moments occur in the encores — when spontaneity and surprises overrule the strictures of the printed program…

… Kraggerud chose one of his own pieces as an encore, following an ovation for his concerto performance. The encore was a sparkling, folk-influenced violin-cello duo called “Variation Suite,” performed with the symphony’s principal cellist, Efe Baltacigil. The two players clicked as if they had been rehearsing together for months, not hours, and were ready to take the duo on the road. Members of the audience roared their approval and headed out for intermission still wearing appreciative smiles.”

Seattle Times, November 2015

 

Equinox – Simax (2015)

“Violinist-composer Henning Kraggerud’s booklet biography describes him as ‘an artist of exquisite musicianship’ and that’s not hyperbole. Hearing him play as a Prom encore the tenth of his 24 ‘Postludes in All Keys’ … opened a window on a magical world … [the music] is endlessly resourceful and surprising … from meditation to lopsided dance, it is extraordinary. I can’t wait to hear the whole thing in action.”

BBC Music Magazine, five stars, December 2015

 

“Kraggerud sticks to a lush, late-Romantic idiom and delivers a beautifully clean, superbly articulated performance of his self-composed solo line throughout, full of character and wit.”

The Strad, November 2015