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For the last twenty years the singer Anna Maria Friman has been working as a freelance musician (voice and hardanger fiddle) in project based chamber music ensembles, soloist engagements ranging from small ensemble formations to Symphony Orchestral works, as well as with her two regular groups Trio Mediaeval and Alternative History. In 2018 she started Friman-Ambrosini-Vicens Trio with Marco Ambrosini (nyckelharpa /jews harp) and Catalina Vicens (organetto / percussion). Most of her ensemble engagements over the last ten years have included performers from different musical styles, crossing borders between folk, improvisation, contemporary, medieval and renaissance music. She has performed and given radio broadcasts throughout Europe, USA, Mexico, Canada, Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan and Australia, and since 2001 she has recorded for ECM Records.  With Trio Mediaeval she has had the great fortune to collaborate with ensembles and artists such as the Bang on a Can All-Stars, musikFabrik Cologne, Vox Clamantis, Tord Gustavsen trio, Mats Eilertsen trio, The Hilliard Ensemble, Sinikka Langeland Ensemble, Birger Mistereggen, Nils Økland, Garth Knox, Gavin Bryars, Arve Henriksen, Rolf Lislevand, The Norwegian Chamber Orchestra, The Norwegian Radio Orchestra, Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra and the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin.

Anna studied singing (BA in Vocal Performance) at the Barratt Due Institute of Music in Oslo and further (Postgraduate Diploma in Vocal performance and MMus) with Linda Hirst and Barbara Bonney at Trinity College of Music in London. In 2010 Anna completed a Doctor of Philosophy in Music at the University of York, UK where she researched the modern performance of medieval music by women. For five years she taught singing and coached vocal ensembles at the University of York, and further through the years she has very much enjoyed giving vocal masterclasses and ensemble workshops at different academic institutions in Europe and USA, teaching at summer courses as well as coaching individual groups. Between 2001 – 2015 she was a jury member at the vocal ensemble competition at the Tampere International Choral Festival, Finland.

In addition to singing, she also plays the Norwegian traditional instrument Hardanger Fiddle. Her instrument was made for her by the Norwegian violin maker Salve Håkedal.

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Her current solo engagement include performances and recordings with Alternative History Quartet including the tenor John Potter and the lute / vihuela players Ariel Abramovich and Jacob Heringman. The group has released two recordings on ECM Records. “Amores Pasados” was released in Aranjuez (Spain) in June 2015, and the quartet has given concerts in Spain, Germany, UK, Poland, Slovakia, Sweden and Ireland. In the Autumn of 2017 the quartet released its second album “Secret History” (ECM) with music by Josquin and Victoria. In April 2020 they are recording their third album in Ceredilla, Spain. John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin), Tony Banks (Genesis), Sting, Peter Erskine and Gavin Bryars have composed lute songs for the ensemble.

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Anna and Manfred Eicher in Rainbow Studio, Oslo. November 2014. Photo: C.F Wesenberg

In the Spring of 2015 Anna started a new exciting project “The travels of St. Brigdet” with Daniel Stighäll´s Ensemble Serikon. They have put together an exciting ensemble of singers and instrumentalists (Anna Maria Friman, John Potter, Katharina Bäuml, Daniel Stighäll, Gawain Glenton and Catalina Vicens). The group gave their first performance at the Trollhättans Tidig Musik dagar. In 2017 the group collaborated with Ensemble Mare Balticum and the actress Cecilia Frode in the performance “Från det blå skåpet” organised by Musik i Syd and last year they performed in Uppsala Domkyrka.

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Anna also give duo concerts with her husband, the Norwegian trumpeter Arve Henriksen.

Anna and Arve

For fourteen years she was a a member of Gavin Bryars Ensemble. Bryars has composed music especially for her voice and together they have given concerts and radio broadcasts in Europe, Canada and Mexico. In September 2020 Anna will join the ensemble in a concert in Galway, Ireland where they will perform Bryars “Irish Maddigals” written for her and John Potter and the ensemble.

Earlier collaborations include solo performances and recordings with  Rolf Lislevand Ensemble, Opera North, Royal Shakespeare Company, The Latvian Radio Choir, Ricercar Consort, Collegium Vocale Gent, Hille Perl and Lee Santana.

Anna is a member of the vocal ensemble Trio Mediaeval that was founded in Oslo in 1997. The trio´s core repertoire features sacred monophonic and polyphonic medieval music from England, Italy and France, contemporary works written for the ensemble, as well as traditional Norwegian, Swedish and Icelandic ballads and songs, arranged by the group members. The trio has released seven recordings on ECM Records. The latest Aquilonis (released in November 2014) immediately reached the Billboard Top 10 Classical music bestseller list, and was was included in The New York Times “Classical Critics Pick the Top Music Recordings of 2014”. In 2008 their Folk Songs was nominated for a US Grammy Award for “Best Chamber Music Performance”. Their most recent recording “Rímur” was released in 2017, and is one of the programmes the trio has been touring most during the last years. For some Rímur concerts they have been joined by the Icelandic musicians Skúli Sverrisson and Hilmar Jenson.

Trio Mediaeval has performed throughout Europe in a variety of venues: churches, cathedrals, monasteries, farms, clubs, industrial spaces, museums as well as prestigious halls such as Oslo Concert Hall, Bozar in Brussels, Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, De Doelen in Rotterdam, London’s Wigmore Hall and the Vienna Konzerthaus. The group made its US debut in 2003. Since that first appearance, the trio has embarked on multiple North American tours, performing in 31 states, in cities across the continent. Highlights include four concerts in New York’s Carnegie Hall, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the National Cathedral in Washington D.C., the Kennedy Center, engagements at San Francisco Performances and Spivey Hall, and broadcasts on American Public Media’s Saint Paul Sunday and Performance Today. In Asia, the trio has performed in Japan, China, Hong Kong and South Korea. In 2019 the trio made its first trip to Australia to join the Adelaide Festival.

The trio has collaborated with ensemble and artists such as Tord Gustavsen trio, Mats Eilertsen trio, Vox Clamantis, The Hilliard Ensemble, MusikFabrik, Trygve Seim and Frode Haltli, Bang on a Can All-Stars,  Sinikka Langeland Ensemble, Terje Isungseth, Ståle Storløkken, Arve Henriksen, Jan Bang, Anders Jormin, Nils Økland, Rolf Lislevand, the Kristiansund Sinfonietta, The Norwegian Chamber Orchestra, The Norwegian Radio Orchestra and the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra.

In the Autumn of 2014 the trio had two new collaboration projects. The singers recorded the pieces ‘Just (after song of songs)’ by David Lang and ‘En la mar hai una torre’ by Betty Olivero with the Saltarello Trio in Drogheda in Ireland. The Recording “Song of Songs” was released in the Spring of 2015. The piece “Just (after song of songs)” was used as one of the title tracks in Paolo Sorrentinos movie “Youth” and has been sampled by the groups The xx (Lips) as well the hip hop duo Mansionz.  They also recorded John Adams´ Grand Pianola Music with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin and the GrauSchumacher Piano Duo. On the 27th of March 2020 they will perform the piece in Munich with the Bayerische Rundfunk Orchestra / GrauSchumacher piano duo, and conductor Brad Lubman in the Die Residenz, Herkulessaal, Munchen.

Friman-Vicens-Ambrosini TRIO was founded in 2018 when Anna Maria Friman (voice and hardager fiddle), Catalina Vicens (organetto and percussion) and Marco Ambrosini (nyckelharpa) came together in Studio Katharco in Germany for a few days making music together. The three of us share our fascination for a broad musical experience where folk, improvisation, medieval/renaissance and contemporary music meet. The group has performed at Chalmers AHA festival for Art&Science (Nov 2018), InCanto –  Musica Divina Festival in Krakow (Aug 2019) and at Göteborg International Organ Festival (Oct 2019) with Arve Henriksen trp. as a guest. In 2020 the group will perform in France, Germany, Norway and Italy and the ensemble is planning a recording with ECM Records in 2020.

In addition to my regular ensembles Anna work with the Göteborg based Ensemble Serikon (Artistic director Daniel Stighäll (historical trombones, medieval slidetrumpet, cowhorn) at different occasions.

More info on Trio Mediaeval

Trio Mediaeval

Photo © Ingvil Skeie Ljones