A Heartwarming Journey of Music and Collaboration: Reflecting on the MERITA Project’s Artistic Residency in Norway

Training | June 5, 2024

When we first joined the MERITA Project, we hardly anticipated that our artistic journey would extend beyond the borders of Poland to the stunning landscapes of Norway. The unexpected opportunity to organise the Residency abroad presented both a challenge and a thrilling adventure, which we embraced wholeheartedly.

PuraCorda Ensemble (Netherlands)Our preparation spanned several months, involving meticulous planning and practice. We were fortunate to collaborate with two exceptional quartets during our stay—the Quatuor Wassily (France) and the PuraCorda Ensemble (Netherlands). Working with these groups, while challenging, proved to be profoundly enriching. This preparation allowed us to refine our projects further during the residency itself.

As co-organizers, we were inspired by the MERITA Project’s mission to positively impact communities. One delightful surprise was connecting with a local violin teacher, originally from Poland, who introduced us to the students at a music school in Steinkjer. This partnership led to a beautiful synergy between the quartets and young musicians, culminating in a joint concert. This event was more than a performance; it was a celebration of our collective musical journey, deeply cherished by the local community. The love for music emerged as a powerful connector, uniting students and quartet members, amateurs and professionals, in a celebration of sound.

Although enveloped by the true winter throughout our stay, the cold never acted as a barrier; instead, it enhanced the magic of our experience. Despite missing the northern lights, the sunny days provided a warmth that beautifully contrasted with the frosty air.

The final concerts at Hegge Gård were a highlight, marking the culmination of our collective efforts. It was incredibly fulfilling to witness the growth and joy our project brought to everyone involved.

The ‘Concert à la carte’ by Quatuor Wassily was particularly memorable, offering an interactive experience where the audience participated in selecting the music. This approach not only made classical music more accessible but also reintroduced the communal joy of shared musical experiences in diverse settings.

The PuraCorda Ensemble’s concert focused on exploring works by female composers on gut-string instruments in a relaxed atmosphere opened new perspectives for us all.

At Hegge Gård, an estate rich in history and designated as part of Norway’s National Building Heritage, we found not just a venue but a source of inspiration. The estate’s historical ambience, coupled with the supportive environment provided by our gracious hosts, played a crucial role in the success of our residency.

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Our time in Norway was filled with inspiration and learning as we shared knowledge and grew together.

In conclusion, our artistic residency under the MERITA Project in Norway was more than just a musical endeavour; it was a journey of warmth, joy, and mutual discovery. The friendships and connections we made, set against the backdrop of Norway’s stunning winter landscape, will resonate with us for years to come. We are deeply grateful to everyone who made this experience unforgettable.

by Julian Cochran Foundation