Pianist / Composer
Aksel Kolstad has performed in most of the biggest chamber music festivals in Norway and has also performed many times in Estonia and Russia, where he has also had numerous TV and radio performances. He had his debut concert in Carnegie Hall in October 2010 with a full house and a standing ovation. Kolstad studied composition with Wolfgang Plagge and has since the age of 17 performed his own virtuoso works for piano solo in many countries all over the world. He has also conducted many of his orchestral works. Kolstad opened the world´s first classical concert café, Café de Concert, in Oslo in 2009. Today it has become his atelier where hundreds of people gather to see him performing.
When Aksel Kolstad was two years old he asked his mother, pointing at the moon, if they could go there. His mother replied that "It may be just a bit too far away, Aksel". Then he immediately replied: "But we can use a ladder!?" 27 years later he wrote to Richard Branson, asking if he could be the first musician to perform in space on Branson´s Virgin Galactic. This is somehow the best description one could give Aksel Kolstad - making crazy and imaginative ideas come to life. Aksel started to play the piano and compose as soon as he was big enough to sit on a chair. His mother, former actress and singer Kirsti Kolstad started to improvise with little Aksel at the piano. At the age of four he started to take piano lessons each week with a piano teacher, the rest is history.
When Aksel was a child he liked to march around in the streets with many different instruments on top of a snare drum he had attached to his waist and played on all instruments, one after another. His mother and father were marching behind him, also with various instruments. His mother would put storybooks with pictures on the piano and Aksel would play the music he heard through looking at the pictures. Aksel loves fairy-tales. He made his own once, a story between him and the Sweedish Princess Madeleine. He wanted to make an urban fairy-tale and put music to it. So he became a royal pianist in His Majesty the King of Norway´s Royal Guard and wrote music for the Swedish Princess and invited her to the soldier´s pram night. This story is widely known throughout Norway. Aksel´s father, Leon Hazan, was amongst a million things also the national basketball coach for Norway. Aksel played piano ad well as basketball until he was 17, then he had to choose. He chose music as a profession, but kept wearing his basketball sneakers. He considers musicians as athletes. And he mostly wears the colorful suits from Moods of Norway when performing solo. When he performs at Café de Concert, his own concept, he performs in jeans and t-shirt. Aksel is a classical rebel. He wants to make a cultural revolution. He fears nobody, and includes everyone. He is probably the fittest pianist in the world, as he puts it him self: I may not be the world´s greatest pianist of all time, but I certainly may be the fittest classical pianist. Aksel loves to improvise live on stage and writes as easily for large orchestras as well as for piano solo. He puts together orchestras, writes for them, and conducts them. But what Aksel does which sometimes amazes the audience the most is that he turns the concert into a story-telling magical moment. Aksel is considered as much of an actor as he is a musician. He collects alcohol, but doesn´t touch it himself. He likes to get wine for his birthday, then he stores it, and invites his friends for a house concert, serving the wine he was given - now giving it back, only with an even better taste. Aksel loves to play basketball, go kayaking, water-skiing, skiing on snow (as he is a typical Norwegian) and he adores to do pull-ups. He does over 50 pull-ups. Each birthday Aksel makes all of his friends surround him in a circle, counting 100 and the age he is celebrateing in push-ups. He always carries his business cards on him, even when jogging. In addition to Norwegian he is fluent in French, English, Turkish and German, he also speaks some Italian. He loves to dive from high cliffs and gets a buzz out of meeting new people.
Aksel Kolstad, 5 surreal interpretations of five lyrics pieces by Edward Grieg Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Warsaw Chamber Opera