On April 19th, NBE returns to Santa Cruz, Bolivia, for the Festival de Musica Renesantista y Barroca “Misiones de Chiquitos” 2014. We stay for two weeks, mainly to teach at several music schools within the Bolivian ‘Sistema de Coros y Orchestras’ (SICOR).

This project is organised by Musicians Bridge, a non-profit organisation seeking to connect musicians and organizations  to let children in Bolivia learn to play instruments and develop through music.


SICOR provides a safe environment in which children and youth, living in some of the poorest societies of the world, learn how to play an instrument and to express themselves through music. The children are given hope of a better future, and a truly magnificent opportunity to develop as human beings. The SICOR students show the most inspiring respect and enthusiasm towards music and arts, and it is a joy and an honour for us to be able to play a small part in their project.

Apart from teaching, we are delivering instruments and accessories that we bring with us from Nordic donors and collaborators, and, naturally, there will be concerts. NBE is featured in at least eight evening concerts during the “Misiones de Chiquitos” festival, and we will be playing numerous smaller concerts during our visits at the schools. We present a full concert programme created specially for this tour, some of the pieces also including pupils from the different SICOR shools. Furthermore, musicians of NBE will participate in the biggest project the festival has ever put on during its 10-year history: Four concerts with a huge ensemble of international and local musicians and singers, performing original Bolivian baroque music. This music, which contains masses, psalms and motets, newly restored from some of the oldest manuscripts found in the jesuit churches of La Plata and Potosi, has not been performed, or heard, for 300 years.

IMG_2505The Festival de Música “Misiones de Chiquitos” is hosted by the Bolivian ‘Asociación Pro Arte y Cultura‘ (APAC). It takes place in the unique setting of the splendid baroque churches spread through the Bolivian rainforest, and also draws it’s inspiration from their history. The jesuit missionaries, who came to Bolivia in the 17th century, left not only the magnificently beautiful churches as a timestamp of their influence to the Bolivian culture. They brought instruments and sheet music from the European baroque era, and they taught the Bolivians how to play, compose, and make instruments of their own. Over 5000 pages of musical manuscripts were stored, and until recently, forgotten, in the churches’ archives. Since the 1970s, when the manuscripts were rediscovered, musicologists have been researching this great treasure. The manuscripts are more than mere documentation of times past. They tell the tale of what happened when western european baroque music encountered the indigenous culture of traditional folk melodies and songs of the Bolivian rainforests. When the music from these restored manuscripts is performed, like now during the 2014 festival, this piece of cultural history comes to life, and the audience of today gets to be a part of it.

[See photos from NBE’s visit to the festival in 2010 HERE]

Musicians on the 2014 Bolivia Tour:

Hans Petter Stangnes (Trondheim Symphony Orchestra)
Brynjar Kolbergsrud (Norrköping Symphony Orchestra)
Jon Behncke Bergen (Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra)
Erik Eilertsen (Royal Norwegian Navy Band)

Rune Brodahl (Norwegian National Opera Orchestra)

Geir Anfinsen (Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra)
Ole Jørgen Melhus (Trondheim Symphony Orchestra)
Petter Winroth (Norwegian Radio Orchestra)
Johan Wiklund (Norrköping Symphony Orchestra)

Karl Johan Elf (Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra)

Heming Valebjørg (Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra)