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The Lofoten International Chamber Music Festival aims to bring a varied program of classical music – performed by international artists at a high level – to the whole of Lofoten. The festival is held in the second week of July every summer. 

Read the program history of the festival here.


Lofoten International Chamber Music Festival saw its light in 2004 as Norway’s northernmost chamber music festival. The festival has established itself as an institution in northern Norway with its annual events. With its high artistic level, the festival has also made a name for itself internationally.

With the initiators Knut Kirkesæther and Arvid Engegård at the helm, the Lofoten International Chamber Music Festival was held for the first time in 2004. In 2005, the festival was organized as a foundation with Knut Kirkesæther, Arvid Engegård and Vågan Municipality as founders. The festival is still run with Knut Kirkesæther as general manager and Arvid Engegård as artistic director.

In 2019, the festival celebrated its first 15 years. Her Majesty Queen Sonja was in charge of the official opening of the anniversary. The Queen has previously visited the festival several times.

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Queen Sonja has "royal" fun during the final concert in Buksnes church in 2017.

                                                                                                                                                  Photo: Tom Helstad


The program for the chamber music festival is tailored with both breadth and variety – of the best quality. The festival’s artistic director invites approx. 15-20 international artists, quartets and other ensembles. These are the starting point for the festival’s approx. 15-20 concerts.

Apart from the opening concert and the final concert – which are set up as larger gala concerts – two full concerts are normally held every night. In addition, there are several morning concerts as well as smaller events during the festival.

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Two of the most famous pianists who have participated with us.

Leif Ove Andsnes (above) and Sir Andràs Schiff

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In 2004, there was not a single concert grand piano to be found in Lofoten. As a consequence of the festival, there are currently as many as 10 concert grand pianos of the Steinway & Sons type available in Lofoten. This formed the basis for starting the Lofoten Piano Festival in 2014. By the way, this was Norway’s first piano festival. Unlike the chamber music festival, international pianists such as Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, Bertrand Chamayou and Christian Ihle Hadland have had the artistic responsibility. In 2022, it was Dénes Várjon who had the artistic responsibility.

Read about Lofoten’s concert grand pianos here.

The Lofoten Piano Festival quickly gained great recognition, also internationally. Just before the opening in 2018, the magazine Pianist ranked the festival as the third bestin Europe, over several prestigious festivals.

In order to purify the chamber music festival, the piano festival was discontinued in 2023. Nevertheless, the piano and Lofoten’s many Steinway & Sons will get a lot of focus during the festival.

The success of the grand pianos in Lofoten has led to several exciting collaborations. Among other things, a separate Steinway Prize Winner Concert is held in collaboration with Steinway & Sons. Read more about the collaboration here.

Read more about Steinway & Sons here.


Two of the piano edition's French artistic directors: Jean-Eflamm Bavouzet (2014, 2016) and Bertrand Chamayou (2018) (left)

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Unlike many other international music festivals, Lofoten does not have large concert halls where everything can take place. In addition to Lofoten Concert Hall (Svolvær) and Meieriet Art Center (Leknes), several of Lofoten’s many churches are therefore used. In addition, several concerts have been arranged outdoors, including a major concert in Trollfjorden 2015.

In addition to the classical music, the festival is also an opportunity to experience Lofoten. More and more people are commenting that the journey between the concerts is in itself an important part of the festival. This has also meant that more travelers come from afar to the festival. More and more foreign travel agents are arranging music trips to Lofoten to combine first-class concerts with the fantastic surroundings.

Several international newspapers and magazines have taken an interest in the combination. The New York TimesFinancial Times and El Pais have all written about the festival.

Read more about Lofoten as a destination by visiting Destination Lofoten and VisitNorway.

The audience is recommended to have their own transport during the festival as the concerts are arranged with great distances.

Today, there are several travel suppliers who regularly offer package tours to the festival. Read more here:

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Fra Vestvågøy, westwards towards Flakstad. The picture shows the famous Hauklandsstranda. Photo: Bård Løken.

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