1953 Oslo

May 28, 1953 – Jun 5, 1953

Festival info

Start: May 28, 1953

End: Jun 5, 1953

Locations: Oslo

Hosting member(s)


From contemporaneous reviews

The Norwegian section of the International Society for Contemporary Music, led by its admiral chairman, Pauline Hall,
was host to what has probably been the most international, the most social, the most contemporary-minded, and even the most musical of its twenty-seven festivals. At Oslo this June, not only was the previously ailing society put on a firm and sound basis but the way was paved for far-reaching new developments.”

— Peter Gradenwitz, “I. S. C. M. Has Its Most International Festival,”
New York Times,  21 June 1953, Section X, p. 7.

“The main note of the Festival was one of sobriety and solid achievement. The inclusion of such works as Schönberg’s violin concerto, Malipiero’s new ‘Passacaglie’ for orchestra and Kodaly’s orchestral ‘Concerto’ served to stress rather than to conceal the great weakness of the Oslo meeting, namely the absence of any contribution by contemporary composers from such important countries as Italy and Austria. The inclusion of the trumpet Concertino by André Jolivet, a competition piece, as the only French work was hardly fair to this interesting composer or to his country.”

— Edward Clark, “The I.S.C.M. Festival,”
The Musical Times (England), Vol. 94, No. 1326 (August 1953), p. 377.

“The Oslo programs in May and June gave a truly interesting cross-section of today’s musical output. It is, of course, extremely difficult to have a country of wide musical interests represented by a single work: France had thus to be content with a charming Trumpet Concertino by Jolivet, and no composer of the avant garde was given a hearing, while from the United States just one avant garde composition was performed–a song cycle by Milton Babbitt. A much better insight was gained into the production of the Scandinavian countries and into the music of Great Britain, which was represented by three works of quite different schools; Alberto Ginastera’s Piano Sonata was certainly a representative of new Argentinian music, while Belgium did not fare too badly with the middle-aged Jean Absil’s Zodiaque Cantata, and an experimental work by the young Karol Goeyvaerts.

“The programs of festivals of this kind are always controversial, but this year’s jury … had done its best to make the concerts interesting and varied, and it must be said that they yielded a number of highly attractive compositions, some of them novel in style and personal in means of expression.”

— Peter Gradenwitz, “Current Chronicle: Norway,”
Musical Quarterly (USA), Vol. 39, No. 4 (October 1953), pp. 612-613.

Programme information