The progressive Norwegian string ensemble Ensemble Bjergsted 1 (= EnB1, 1B1), was founded by Jan Bjøranger in 2008 (under the name EnB1). A concurrence of circumstances made it possible to establish a free ensemble of the highest caliber in Stavanger in a short period of time. The city was named European Capital of Culture that year and the ensemble was given the opportunity to present itself in different contexts. EnB1 consists of musicians teaching at the University of Stavanger-ImD as well as their most skilled students, free lance musicians and some members of the distinguished Stavanger Symphony Orchestra. Already on opening day, during the official opening of the Stavanger Symphony, the ensemble made its mark with a work commissioned by Kverndokk and later in a concert in St Petri Church under the aegis of ICMF (Stavanger International Chamber Music Festival).
Later that year 1B1 launched its first festival “EnB1 invites” - which was focused on Austrian music and musicians. Musicians Benjamin Schmid and Clemens Hagen were introduced to the public in conjunction with EnB1 and a number of brilliant musicians of Norwegian descent, including Christian Ihle Hadland, Lars Anders Tomter, Stian Carstensen, to name just a few, performing Austrian music for a week at several of the scenes.
EnB1 produces between two and four productions every season with different profile and repertoire. EnB1 wants to perform the best music available, especially music that is not necessarily so well known, to any music-loving audience on any possible stage. EnB1 wants to become a learning facility treating both audience and players.
In 2009 1B1 took the initiative to establish CIRF (Composer In Residence Festival) in Stavanger, inviting Arvo Pärt to spend a week in town to work with the ensemble. The festival was a great success. Although the composer was sick and had to cancel his visit, the concerts in cooperation with the Latvian National Choir, Tonu Kaljuste, The Hilliard Ensemble and Alexei Lubimov were a major artistic success. In 2010, Steve Reich who visited the festival and ensemble, received similar enthusiasm from the public and our colleagues. In the autumn of 2011, Martin Matalon was Composer in Residence, and later that fall, 1B1 collaborated with Erlend Skomsvoll, with a new focus on the music of Edvard Grieg in the form of free improvisation for full orchestra in concert with Skomsvoll, based on Grieg. In January 2012, 1B1 recorded a CD for the label Simax with Martin Kuuskmann and Lars Anders Tomter, featuring music by J.S. Bach and Georg Philipp Telemann. Two of the concertos had not been recorded in this form before.
In parallel with these ambitious productions, the group aims to generate development opportunities for all levels of music in the South West region of Norway. In this context, invited young musicians from Stavanger’s Saturday school and high schools are invited to participate in various productions. One of the highlights among them was a coproduction with UIA in September 2011 at Stavanger Concert, where the music of Benjamin Britten was performed in the same program in which the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra played music by Steve Reich.
The participation during Thanksgiving Week in collaboration with Skeisvang Choir and Jostein Myklebust is another example of this.
1B1 has a clear goal of making a much larger mark in the region in the future - which the projects planned for 2012-2013 demonstrate with great clarity.