Grand piano – the impossible journey

Grand piano – the impossible journey is an art journey in the true sense of the word. In June 2023, we invite the whole of Norway to take part in a ten-day continuous concert – on a grand piano that is manually pulled from Hemsedal in the north to Halden in the south.

Half a ton of black lacquer and shiny glossy keys will be pushed, floated or pulled through this small slice of Norway, while it is constantly being played on. The pianists and the team moving the carriage with the grand piano will change along the way. The journey will take ten days, in both daytime and nighttime. Along this arduous journey, we invite a broad field of art and culture to contribute with adjacent works / events along the entire route. Can we manage to get all the way to Halden while the grand piano plays all the way, day and night?

VIDEO: Here you can have a look at what we have planned, and view film clips from the test run of the Grand Piano:

The Grand piano conveys a down-to-earth and fundamental component in Norwegian history and nation-building: wandering. In the same way that Asbjørnsen and Moe walked around collecting fairy tales and Vinje collected dialects, The Grand Piano will seek out people and places that all have stories to tell.

The migration of previous generations is physically manifested in infrastructure; paths, roads, piers and squares. We start and end the journey on one of the many Kongeveiene and will use these where possible. Like Askeladden’s ship, the grand piano must be able to travel both on land and on water. One criterion is that the specially designed carriage and catamaran will only move forward with the help of muscle and wind power.

We’ve placed emphasis on variation and uniqueness in the route selection, as well as accessibility. The grand piano will move through towns and cities, but also stop in places where you would not usually have an audience.

Human encounters, collaboration and participation

Grand piano is quite literally an outreach production. The point is to reach out to a wide group of people, both in the audience and with participants. We work with all the municipalities that the route runs through, 16 as of today, to make this happen. In some places the grand piano reaches the audience, in other places the audience must seek out the grand piano. Each evening will end with a meeting with cultural events.

The theater is part of a larger international network (In Situ). Throughout 2020 there will be several local events and workshops – with national and international artists – in the municipalities and cities that the piano will visit, to open up for local perspectives and elements in the production. Local contributions can range from a symphony orchestra in a field, to an exhibition in a lighted forest, dance groups in a roundabout or bands on a bridge. The local ideas are as different as they are wonderful: like dog teams pulling the grand piano over snow-covered passages in the mountains, and agricultural colleges that have developed a dance for tractors with tailor-made composition for grand piano and chainsaw.

If you are an artist/work in culture and want to meet The Grand Piano with a production in Viken, or have other good suggestions for the project, please contact producer Anette Tømmerholen: anette@oit.no!