Picture: Olivier Chassain
Picture: Stein-Erik Olsen

Olivier Chassain

Olivier Chassain was born in Paris in 1957. He was awarded a premier prix in Guitar in Alexandre Lagoya’s class, as well as in Counterpoint and Harmony classes, at the Paris Conservatoire in 1982. Today, his professional activity is divided into three aspects: – his career as a concert performer, which acquired an international dimension when, in 1988, he became the laureate of the Guitar Foundation of America international competition, thereby being the first non-American guitarist to be awarded this distinction. Since then, he has been regularly invited to that continent as well as to the others for concerts and master classes. – his career as a composer. He is the author of numerous works, especially for guitar, and has composed collections for educational purposes, such as “Patchwork”, “Ad hoc”... – his career as a professor, which began as early as 1978, when he succeeded his first professor, Roger Généraux (he acquired a tenure position at the age of 21, after obtaining a Certificat d’Aptitude – the highest French diploma in the musical teaching profession), a career which reached its fulfillment when he was appointed to the Conservatoire Jacques Thibaud in Bordeaux and then in 1994 when he succeeded his master Alexandre Lagoya as a guitar professor at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris (cnsmdp). Numerous works for guitar and concertos have been dedicated to Olivier Chassain by Georges Delerue, Edith Lejet, Stephen Dodgson, A. Ruiz-Pipo and Sean Heim among others, for his passionate advocacy of contemporary music composition. Olivier Chassain has made several recordings for different labels, among which “Almost a song” (Metronome recordings) was awarded the “Choc” of Le Monde de la musique, and “Eventail” was given Classica magazine’s highest distinction.

Stein-Erik Olsen

Stein-Erik Olsen was educated at the Bergen Conservatory of Music and the Norwegian Academy of Music. His post-graduate teachers have included Alexandre Lagoya, at the Concervatoire National Superieur de Musique de Paris, and the Czech pianist Jiri Hlinka. His international career began in 1974 when he represented Norway in the Expo Norr Festival in Sweden, since when he has been invited to many other international festivals and has toured extensively. Olsen is giving concerts – including concerto performances (among these, of course the Concierto de Aranjuez) – and appearing on radio and television throughout Europe, Great Britain, India and Korea. In 1986 his debut recital in the Wigmore Hall, London, was rewarded with undiluted praise from the critics and his recordings have been similarly well received. Stein-Erik Olsen has had works written for him by eminent contemporary composers; those by Ketil Hvoslef, Olav Berg, John Duarte, Nikita Koshkin and Stepan Rak are featured in his recordings for Simax Classics. Following his London debut Music & Musicians magazine commented: "He is a master of his craft and a genuine artist " and writing of his first recording Alice Artzt (New York) wrote: "The world of music must welcome him with open arms". Following his last solo recording the American critic William Zagorski (Fanfare) wrote: "I would install him in the pantheon of guitar greats somewhere near Julian Bream." Stein-Erik Olsen is now a truly international guitarist of distinction, currently Professor at the Grieg Academy, Department of Music, University of Bergen, returning full circle to his "Alma matar" to teach others who hope to follow in his footsteps. www.seolsen.com