JOhan Dalene playing the violin in a burnished yellow floral shirt, and surrounded by dramatic blue smoke
© Mats Bäcker

For the 2024–25 Season, we are delighted to welcome acclaimed Swedish-Norwegian violinist Johan Dalene as our Artist-in-Residence. Winner of the prestigious Carl Nielsen International Competition in 2019 and Gramophone’s 2022 Young Artist of the Year, he combines dazzling virtuosity with an engaging stage presence and his passionate performances are not to be missed.

Read our interview with Johan below.

Don’t miss Johan’s performances at Cadogan Hall on Wednesday 30 October 2024, Thursday 27 February 2025 and Thursday 29 May 2025.

Tell us about your journey to becoming a violinist.

Both my parents are musicians. My mum plays the piano and my dad is a cellist, and there was always music around the house when I was growing up. Before starting to play the violin at the age of four, I really wanted to play the cello and be like my dad. I was fascinated by the instrument and would watch (and disturb) my father when he was practising. Eventually, I was persuaded to try the violin instead. The teacher in my hometown, Norrköping, had a fantastic reputation and my parents thought it would be nice if we could play a piano trio together (which we have done a few times, though not for a while now...). I tried the violin and fell in love with it. When I was about 12 or 13, I had a period when I really wanted to play football and do other things. All my friends were into football and it just felt more fun at that time, but about a year later, I discovered recordings on Spotify of some fantastic violinists (such as Jascha Heifetz and Maxim Vengerov) and I started becoming extremely interested and inspired and wanted to be able to play like that myself. Since then, my dream has been to live my life as a musician and travel around the world playing concerts.

What are you looking forward to in performing for audiences in London and around the UK?

Outside of Scandinavia, the UK is the place where I’ve performed the most. I’m always struck by how kind people are and how enthusiastic audiences can be. I’m incredibly excited to be Artist-in-Residence with the RPO, an orchestra I’ve admired for a long time. It will be my first time playing with the Orchestra as well as my debut at Cadogan Hall, and I can’t wait to get to know the Orchestra and the audience there!

Where do you look to for inspiration?

When it comes to music, my biggest source of inspiration has always been my teacher Per Enoksson, who is a fantastic violinist himself. Other idols of mine are, for example, Janine Jansen, Gidon Kremer and David Oistrakh, and I am always inspired listening to their playing. In my everyday life, my friends and family always inspire me. Listening to other sorts of music like pop or rock can give me new ideas and perspectives, and sometimes just being in nature somewhere in Sweden when the weather is nice can be a huge source of motivation.

I try not to listen to too many recordings... For me, it then feels easier to look at the music from a fresh perspective.

dalene johan c Mats Bäcker 9 2022

Do you have any advice for young musicians?

My biggest piece of advice would be to focus on developing your own personal style of playing. When I’m working on a piece, I try not to listen to too many recordings (even though there are so many wonderful recordings of great violin playing). For me, it then feels easier to look at the music from a fresh perspective and interpret things from the score in your own original way.

Do you have any pre-concert rituals?

I don’t have a particular routine right before concerts, except for warming up/practicing and going through things in my head. If it’s an evening concert it’s always really nice to eat something substantial a few hours before, like a burger or a steak!

Must listens - if you had to recommend one artist or composer who would it be and why?

A composer I can strongly recommend is Bo Linde. He is a Swedish composer who is quite well known in Scandinavia yet almost no one has heard of him abroad. I think his music is fantastic, I’ve played his Violin Concerto and his two piano trios. It’s very dramatic, serious and often quite rhythmical music, at times playful and light and with some beautiful melodic writing as well. He is such an underrated and completely original composer in my opinion, and there are some great recordings of his music that I would very much recommend listening to!

Symphonic crossover: If you could work with any artists on a performance or project, who would it be and why?

A very difficult choice! Playing together with singers is something I’ve done a little in the past, and it’s something I’ve very much enjoyed! As an instrumentalist, it can be easy to get stuck in thinking about the technical aspect of playing, but when playing with singers it feels so liberating because they constantly think about phrasing and character which inspires one to think about music-making in a more natural way. Thinking off the top of my head, a dream project of mine could be playing together with a group like The King’s Singers. I’m a really big fan of them and have been listening to their music for years!

Away from music, tell us about your favourite hobbies and why they strike such a chord?

I like cooking. I’m not at all good at it, but I think it’s really fun and you always feel happier if you eat something nice. Another hobby of mine is watching and playing football, something I’ve been into since I was a kid. I try watching as many Premier League games as possible! Doing sports or some sort of physical activity from time to time is so important for me. Feeling strong in your body makes life easier in general, reduces the risk of me getting a violin-related injury and just makes one feel happier in general!

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