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Norwegian classical singer Aksel Rykkvin (b. 2003) recorded his debut album as a treble with the world renowned Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment at just twelve years old. Aksel! Arias by Bach, Handel & Mozart (2016) was awarded a ‘DIAPASON d'Or découverte’, and BBC Music Magazine named him as one of the ‘six best child prodigies’ in classical music. Aksel was nominated as ‘Newcomer of the year’ at the Spellemannprisen awards in Norway in 2017. Aksel has performed at numerous concerts and festivals all over Norway, including the first edition of Fjord Classics and Oslo Chamber Music Festival. In 2017, he opened the Stockholm Early Music Festival and performed at the Klassiek op het Amstelveld in Amsterdam. He has performed regularly on radio or tv in Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands and the UK, including Scandinavia’s biggest talkshow, ‘Skavlan’, Norwegian ‘Lindmo’ and BBC Radio 3 ‘In tune’. Aksel has sung for the Norwegian Royal family on several occasions, including at the 80 years anniversary party of the King and Queen with a host of European royalty present. He has worked with the Oslo Philharmonic, the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra, Arve Tellefsen, Henning Kraggerud, Håvard Gimse, Christian Ihle Hadland, Lars Anders Tomter, Rolf Lislevand, Sigmund Groven and many more of the most prominent Norwegian orchestras, musicians and conductors. Aksel is something of an international phenomenon in social media, with millions of video views on YouTube and Facebook.
At 13 years old Aksel won the National Norwegian Music Competition for Youth, which is open to classical musicians and singers up to age 22.
Aksel is already a merited soloist at the Norwegian National Opera. The Financial Times described him as “freakishly good” in his first main stage role as ‘the Boy’ in Rolf Wallin’s Elysium. He dazzled critics further as ‘Yniold’ in Debussy’s Pélleas et Mélisande, a performance that ResMusica called ‘unsurpassable’. In September 2017 Aksel made his international opera debut at Opéra Comique in Paris, as ‘Anthony’ in Katie Mitchell and Raphaël Pichon’s Miranda.
Since June 2016, Aksel has collaborated regularly with baroque trumpeter Mark Bennett for concerts together with various Norwegian orchestras, some of which have been broadcast on NRK. After a concert series with the MiN Ensemble in Nordland, the artistic leader Lazar Miletic invited Aksel and Mark to record a baroque album which was released in March 2018 on Signum Classics (London). The Guardian wrote that the soprano arias “suit young Rykkvin’s pure tone and mature musicianship to perfection”.
Aksel still sings in Oslo Cathedral Boys’ Choir where he started out receiving training as a five-year-old from voice teacher Helene Haarr. When he started singing in the Children’s Chorus of the Norwegian National Opera at the age of ten, Aksel began singing studies with his present main voice teacher Marianne Lewis both in the opera and in the classical music talent class at Majorstuen school in Oslo. Aksel and Marianne have been invited to international voice teacher conferences in Stockholm and New York to present their work. Aksel’s voice changed in the late autumn of 2017. He has surprised everyone with a fast transition to baritone and is heading towards a continued career as a classical and opera singer.
A Jolly Good Time
The King of Denmark