After a one and a half hour journey from Bergen airport the “Hardangerfjord Express Boat” sails into harbour – a small village set in a green valley below the dramatic mountains that rise steeply behind it.

Here in 1661 Ludwig Rosenkrantz and his young wife Karen began to create a lavish manor house and garden which they called Rosendal and, in 1678, their estate was to be given the unique status of the only Barony in Norway by King Christian V of Denmark and Norway. Today the house and its beautifully kept gardens offer visitors a glimpse of Norwegian history in one of the country’s most spectacular natural settings.

For pianist Leif Ove Andsnes, this is the perfect location for a new chamber music festival, which he launched in August 2016 together with the inauguration of a new concert hall at Baroniet Rosendal Manor House and Gardens. Alongside performances in the manor house itself, the four day festival features concerts on the new stage – a concert hall with 400 seats, converted from an original barn on the estate. Additional evening concerts take place in the white-washed 13th century Kvinnherad church whilst lectures and open discussions are offered during the day.

Leif Ove Andsnes has been a regular visitor and performer in Rosendal for over 20 years. “Baroniet Rosendal is a very special place” he commented “and music has been a part of its cultural life for generations. Its incredible to think that artists and musicians have been crossing the fjord for over three hundred years and amongst them were apparently both Edvard Grieg and Ole Bull – our Bergen musical legends.”

“From my Homeland” is the title of this year’s Rosendal Chamber Music Festival, which takes place from 5 – 8 August and focuses on the music of Antonin Dvořák. Over four days, Leif Ove Andsnes and guest artists will explore the great Czech composer’s works and look at how the national romantic movement of the period influenced both Dvořák and his contemporaries. Special tribute will also be paid to Piazzolla in the 100th anniversary year.

This year’s guest artists include Zlata Chochieva and Joachim Carr (piano), Josef Špaček, Johan Dalene and Daniela Braun (violin), Sheku Kanneh-Mason (cello), Arnulf Ballhorn (double bass) and the Dover String Quartet. Joining them on stage are Per Arne Glorvigen (bandoneon / composer), Lene Grenager (composer/ cellist ) and 16 musicians from KonstKnekt – an inspirational initiative which gives young Norwegian musicians the opportunity to collaborate with members of the Berlin Philharmonic.