Symphonies Reframed – orchestral music in a new framework

The project Symphonies Reframed – orchestral music in a new framework; an investigation into artistic and educational opportunities in medium-sized chamber ensembles looks at the artistic and educational potential that emerges when recreating and performing orchestral works in a chamber music format.

In the project Symphonies Reframed large orchestral works are re-arranged for a medium-sized chamber ensemble comprising 7–9 instrumentalists plus singers where required. Examples of such works are Brahms’ Symphony No. 4, Schumann’s Symphony No. 2, Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 20, Brahms’ A German Requiem and Mozart’s The Impresario. Since the ensemble is made up of equal numbers of strings and winds plus piano, the instrumental format is dubbed “triharmonic ensemble”. As well as reducing orchestral formats to medium-sized chamber scores, the project also includes expanding smaller-scale works. Brahms’ Sonata No. 1 for Clarinet and Piano has for example been enlarged to involve eight musicians rather than two. 

Our chamber ensembles are made up of NMH students and teachers. All transcriptions are by Sigstein Folgerø

Excerpts from concerts

J. Brahms: 4th Symphony, 3rd mvmt. (arr. S. Folgerø)
Bjarne Magnus Jensen (violin), Christine Oseland (viola), Sara Viluksela (cello) Eskild Abelseth (double bass), Marit Charlotte Steinum (flute), Ida Kateraas (clarinet), Joakim Raivio (bassoon), Julius Pranevicius (horn), Sigstein Folgerø (piano)

J. Brahms: Ein deutsches Requiem. op. 45. 1st mvmt. (arr. S. Folgerø)

Ensemble, choir and soloists from The Norwegian Academy of Music. Grete Pedersen, conductor
Bjarne Magnus Jensen (violin), Ivan Zecevic (viola), Joon-Ho Shim (cello), Mathias Sunde Valseth (double bass), Jan Bertelsen (oboe), Espen Aas (clarinet), Didrik Åsnes (basson), Tone Langsrud (horn), Sigstein Folgerø (piano)


Symphonies Reframed examines artistic, educational and historical perspectives. 

Artistic perspectives:

  • Which artistic innovations can come to light when symphonic repertoire is recreated and performed as chamber music? 
  • Which musical roles do the musicians in the triharmonic ensemble assume?
  • How can the triharmonic ensemble explore new performance platforms?

Educational perspectives: 

  • How can the triharmonic ensemble engage with teaching and learning?
  • How might the triharmonic ensemble work as a relevant practice platform for instrumental and voice students at the NMH?
  • How can we enable the students to reflect on their own learning processes? 

Historical and contemporary perspectives:

  • How can we view our triharmonic ensemble in light of traditions involving the transcription of orchestral music, e.g. for piano two hands or four hands, string quartet and medium-sized chamber ensemble?
  • How might it be relevant to view this project in light of Arnold Schoenberg’s performances at the Society for Private Musical Performances (established 1918)?

Upcoming concerts and presentations

  • 11. February 2019 - Concert lecture at Klaverdagene at NMH. 
  • 26. February 2019 - Concert lecture at the University of Stavanger. 
  • 24. April 2019 - Presentation Fellesdag at NMH.  

The article “Symphonies Reframed: Investigating the artistic and educational potential of mid-sized chamber groups” will be published as part of the publication Unfolding the Process, ed. Darla Crispin, NMH Publications during the spring 2019. 

Previous concerts and presentations 

  • 23. January 2019 (NMH) Jubilant! A concert celebration of Arnold Schönberg,19:00 Levinsalen
  • 10. November 2018 (NMH) - Performance of Brahms’ Variations on a Theme by Haydn (op. 56), arranged for chamber ensemble by Sigstein Folgerø.  
  • 22.-24. March 2018 (Porto) - Conference paper at the European Platform for Artistic Research in Music 2018. 
  • 12. November 2017 (NMH) - Performance of Brahms Sonata No. 1, op. 120 (f minor) in chamber version (arr. Sigstein Folgerø) for octet. Performed by teachers and students at NMH. 
  • 5. May 2017 (Majorstuen kirke)- Performance of Mozart Piano Concerto No. 20 (d minor) in chamber version for septet (arr. Sigstein Folgerø). Performed by students at NMH. 
  • 23. March 2017 (Operaen as a part of the festival “Lyden av musikkhøgskolen”) - Performance of Mozart’s opera The Impresario (Der Schauspieldirektor) and excerpts from other works by Mozart. Chamber version for singers and instrumental septet. All scores arranged by Sigstein Folgerø. 
  • 5.-7. July 2016 (Stavanger) -Conference paper at the IMS Conference Music as Art, Artefact and Fact. 
  • 18. March 2016 (Majorstuen kirke) - Performance of Brahms’s Ein deutsches Requiem, arranged for choir, soloists and chamber ensemble (nonet) by Sigstein Folgerø.  
  • 17.-19. November 2015 (NMH) - Conference paper at the conference Unfolding the Process. 
  • 5. November 2015 (NMH) - Performance of the second and third movements from Schumann’s Symphony No. 2. Chamber version (nonet) arranged by Sigstein Folgerø. Performed by students and teachers from NMH. 
  • 24. March 2015 (NMH) - Performance of Brahms 4. Symphony. Chamber version (nonet) by Sigstein Folgerø. 
  • 26. November 2014 (NMH) - Performance of the third and fourth movements from Brahms 4. Symphony. Chamber version (nonet) by Sigstein Folgerø. Performed by students and teachers from NMH. 

Project leader


Sigstein Folgerø

Associate Professor



Gjertrud Pedersen

Associate Professor

Music History


Gjertrud Pedersen

Associate Professor

Music History

Last updated: 15. November 2018