Imaginative and eloquent, violinist Mari Samuelsen is known for her breath-taking artistry and adventurous approach to programming and presentation. With a technique that blends virtuosity and entrancing musical finesse, Mari presents an innovative musical universe that knows no barriers between the music of such composers as Max Richter, Arvo Pärt, Pēteris Vasks and Jeff Mills, and that of Bach, Beethoven and Vivaldi. Her drive to not do what is traditionally expected, is what has turned Mari Samuelsen into an inspiration for a global audience.
Mari has appeared as soloist and recitalist on many of the world’s leading stages, including New York’s Carnegie Hall, the Hollywood Bowl, London’s Barbican Centre, Berlin’s Konzerthaus and Paris’ Philharmonie, Théâtre des Champs-Elysées and at the Bergen International Festival.
In 2019, Mari had her debut with the BBC Concert Orchestra in London and the concert was later broadcast on BBC Radio 3. In 2021, Mari performed at the Crystal Palace Bowl, London together with Max Richter for the premiere of Voices, for which she had previously taken part in the recording of. She regularly works with the British composer as a soloist in concert performances of both his Recomposed and Memoryhouse, as well as on his Deutsche Grammophon album ‘Three Worlds – Music from Woolf Works’. Mari joined Max Richter and the 12 ensemble to open the Montreux Jazz Festival 2018 to critical acclaim and her first single, Max Richter’s November, was released in January 2019 coinciding with the ARTE broadcast of her spectacular performance the previous year at Beijing’s Forbidden City.
Mari Samuelsen’s work also includes collaborations with electronic music artists Jeff Mills and Dubfire and multimedia artist Philipp Geist. Her ground-breaking explorations of contemporary art and classical music as artistic director of Oslo’s Yellow Lounge for its first two seasons reaffirm her position as an innovative artist who is reaching out to new audiences.
Mari is an exclusive Deutsche Grammophon artist and released her debut album, MARI, in 2019recording for their Yellow Label. With this album, she sets to reach and challenge a new audience. Her presence, popularity and the impact of her music among new audiences is astonishing, having reached 25 million views in her YouTube video of Summer from Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons alone. Mari Samuelsen also has recorded the world premiere of James Horner’s double concerto for violin, cello and orchestra with her brother, Håkon Samuelsen, as the centre piece of Pas de Deux, released on Mercury Classics (Universal Music). Very unusual for classical recordings, this album along-side with her first solo recording Nordic Noir as well as the 2019 release MARI were hits in the Norwegian pop charts (reaching the No.1 and No.2 spots respectively).
A classically trained violinist, her studies with Arve Tellefsen and later at the Barratt Due Institute of Music in Oslo were followed by a decade with world-renowned professor Zakhar Bron at the Zurich University of the Arts. Mari Samuelsen plays a G.B. Guadagnini violin (Turin, 1773), on generous loan from the Anders Sveaas Charitable Foundation, Oslo.
“Coruscating repeating patterns leaping off the soundboard as if fingers were treading on hot coals.”
(Gramophone Magazine, September 2019)
“(…) Samuelsen exchanges the dogged intensity of traditional readings for a radiant eloquence that traces the music’s emotional peaks and troughs with a compelling sense of inevitability.”
(BBC Music Magazine, September 2019)
‘When she plays the air freezes (…) She can hold together the piece, stretching the sensible bows over the long length. With her you can hear connections that otherwise wouldn’t be so clear in the hall – Music is understood with Mari.”
(Frankfurter Allgemeine, July 2019)
“Her playing combines virtuosity with musical finesse. She has performed as a soloist in the most renowned international concert halls, but also loves the loft and lounges of new music.”