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Critics' Award 2020 and Agder Scholarship awarded to Rolf Gupta

Rolf Gupta, professor at the Department of Classical Music and Music Education, was in 2020 awarded both the Critics' Award and Agder Scholarship.

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Rolf Gupta was awarded both the Critics' Award 2020 and Agder Scholarship.
Rolf Gupta was awarded both the Critics' Award 2020 and Agder Scholarship.

In addition to his professorship at UiA‘s Faculty of Fine Arts, Gupta has been chief conductor of the Kristiansand Symphony Orchestra for almost 10 years. He is a cantor from the Agder Music Conservatory, and has held a number of conducting and leadership positions within the classical music community both nationally and internationally. He received the Critics' Award 2020 for his composition «Jordens sang», a work commissioned for the KSO's 100th anniversary in 2019.

„It is both surprising and very gratifying. To receive such recognition is inspiring, affirming and helps to keep the work alive“, says Gupta.

After the premiere on 14 November 2019, «Jordens sang» is well alive and will be performed with the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra in October. In addition, there are several other  institutions who have shown interest in performing the work.

„This does not happen so often with newly commissioned music. Very often the pieces are only played once, and that is a terrible pity. Therefore, there are many other works as well that should receive this type of attention and opportunities which the award of the Critics' Prize provide, says Gupta.

See the performance «Jordens sang»


Nice to be able to share the joy with others

Gupta has received the Critics' Award once before for his performance of Beethoven's Eroica as conductor with the Norwegian Radio Orchestra.

„When I received the award in 2006, I felt a little alone with it. Therefore it is extra nice to be able to share the prize with the orchestra and Peter Szilvay this time. I have had a relationship with the orchestra since I was a child, and have been chief conductor for almost 10 years, so it is very close to my heart. In addition, it is extra fun that the first national award in the orchestra's history was in connection with a work written for their 100th anniversary“, says Gupta.

He praises the KSO for their great collaboration during the premiering process.

„An important part of the process was that I was allowed to have workshops along the way, which enabled me to take many more chances than I would otherwise have done. I got to try out new aesthetic thoughts that I had never dreamed I would do. For example, the end of the piece consists of a 15-minute C major chord. Ten years ago, I never dared to try out such an idea.“


Great impact on the final result

Gupta believes that this close collaboration had a major impact on the final result. In parallel, workshops were also held with the participating choirs, which consisted of the Cathedral's boys' choir, Kristiansand Free Church Chamber Choir, Kristiansand Opera Choir and Kilden Vocal Ensemble.

„Choirmaster Marianne Sødal Misje did a great job here, and she really deserved to also be the recipient of the award.“

Gupta playing at Kilden.

Gupta playing at Kilden.

Exciting plans for the coming year

Gupta was also one of the recipients of the Agder scholarship, at NOK 250 000.  He has several concrete plans for the time ahead.  Among other things, he wants to further develop the electronic remix of «Jordens sang» which already includes some electronic elements.

«The Agder scholarship provides security, which is important for us artists. I have very specific plans for what I will do next, both for «Jordens sang» and other projects. I am also planning a collaboration with Kulturskolen“, says Gupta.


Cultural life flourishes in Kristiansand

Gupta believes that Kristiansand is an exciting place for culture and the arts in the future. Both Kilden, Sørlandets kunstmuseum, Kulturskolen and the musical community in Domkirka make cultural life flourish in Kristiansand.

„We are facing exciting times, and having the Kulturskolen right next to the Art Museum and Kilden is absolutely golden. We stand out in both the Norwegian and international context with resources and opportunities that have an enormous growth potential. Gupta ends with a future dream for the city:

„I wish that the Kulturskolen was for everyone, including parents and grandparents. The fact that different generations do something together is wonderful, and I think a lot of adults would have enjoyed going to Kulturskolen.“