Kolbjørn Holthe (born 1973) is one of the leading Norwegian violinists of his generation and a much sought-after soloist, chamber musician and teacher. He was appointed Associate Professor at the Norwegian Academy of Music in 2001, and as of January 2014 he has been appointed concertmaster of the Norwegian Radio Orchestra.
Holthe was himself a student at the Norwegian Academy of Music between 1991 and 1997, with the exception of two years in the USA at the Louisiana State University where he studied with Camilla Wicks. He is the recipient of numerous prizes and awards and his critically acclaimed recital in 1999 received the Musikkens Venners Landsforbund (National Association of Musical Societies) Award for that year’s best debut performance.
Holthe was concertmaster of the Norwegian National Opera Orchestra from 1997 to 2004 and section leader of the second violins in the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, of which he was a member from 1997 to 2009, working with conductors such as Claudio Abbado, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Paavo Berglund, and Bernard Haitink. In one recording project he also played as concertmaster for the COE in music by JS Bach with soloists François Leleux, oboe, and Lisa Batiashvili, violin.
He has also appeared as soloist with every professional Norwegian symphony orchestra, the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra, the Norwegian Armed Forces’ staff band, and the Norwegian Wind Ensemble, and has performed as a soloist with Symphony Nova Scotia and the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony in Canada. In 2009 he played the Mozart violin concerto no. 5 with the London Philharmonic Orchestra in England.
As guest concertmaster Kolbjørn Holthe has been engaged by the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, the Bergen Philharmonic, the Royal Court Orchestra of the Royal Swedish Opera, the Norrköping Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, and the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra. From 2010 to 2012 he was engaged as concertmaster of the Norwegian Radio Orchestra, and during 2013 he was a member of the first violin section of the Oslo Philharmonic.
In 2006 Holthe was appointed Artistic Director of the Tromsø Chamber Orchestra, a position he held until 2012. This involved some appearances as conductor besides directing projects from the position of concertmaster. Anxious to expand his musical and artistic experiences Holthe is now in the process of establishing a conducting career, and in 2013 he was engaged in this role by the Norwegian Radio Orchestra. The success of the performances with the latter orchestra has led to further engagements.
Kolbjørn Holthe has an extensive catalogue of recordings as a soloist, chamber musician, leader and orchestral musician. These include:
Record label SIMAX, 2012: "Perspectives (69°42', North | 19°00' East)”, in which he assumed the role of artistic director, conductor, leading concertmaster and quartet leader with the Tromsø Chamber Orchestra.
Record label 2L, 2006: “The Art of Transcendence”, violin sonatas by Richard Strauss and George Enescu (no.3). 2L, 2008: “Mirror Canon”, performing Anton Webern’s Vier Stücke für Geige und Klavier.
Both recordings are in collaboration with pianist Tor Espen Aspaas.