Since the beginning of her career, Norwegian trumpeter Tine Thing Helseth has championed the trumpet repertoire amongst audiences on all six continents, meriting the highest critical praise for her soulful, lyrical sound and collaborative approach to music-making. An artist who challenges the boundaries of genre with an intensely creative, open-minded philosophy, Tine’s ever-expanding repertoire ranges from the classical period to contemporary works and new commissions.
She has been the recipient of numerous awards for her work in classical music, including “Newcomer of the Year” at the 2013 Echo Klassik Awards, the 2009 Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship, and second prize in the 2006 Eurovision Young Musicians Competition, to which Tine returned to serve as juror for the 2016 competition. In 2007, Tine had the rare honour of being the first ever classical artist to win Newcomer of the Year at the Norwegian Grammy® Awards (Spellemannprisen).
Tine has worked with some of the world’s leading orchestras, including the Bamberger Symphoniker, NDR Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, Gürzenich-Orchester Cologne, Tonkünstler-Orchester Vienna, Philharmonia Orchestra, BBC Scottish Orchestra at the BBC Proms, Warsaw, Rotterdam, Oslo, Bergen and Helsinki Philharmonic orchestras, Danish Radio Symphony orchestra, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Baltimore and Cincinnati Symphony orchestras, Singapore Symphony, KBS Symphony and Hong Kong Philharmonic. She also enjoys collaborating with a number of chamber orchestras, namely the Norwegian Chamber, Zurich Chamber and Munich Chamber orchestras, Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, Australian Chamber Orchestra, and as well as the Orchestre de chambre de Lausanne, Mozarteum Salzburg, and the Hong Kong Sinfonietta.
Performances in recent seasons include MiTo Festival with Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della Rai, debut with Minnesota Orchestra, return to Bergen Philharmonic, Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Odense Symphony and Norwegian Opera Orchestra, as well as European tour with Norwegian Chamber Orchestra, and six performances at the Bergen International Festival and a recital at Mogens Dahl Koncertsal in Copenhagen.
Year 2023 marks the first season of Tine’s role as Artistic Director of Risør Kammermusikkfest in Norway, a festival with which she has been associated for over a decade. Current season also sees Tine debut with Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, Symphony Silicon Valley in San Jose, and Orchestra Sinfonica Siciliana in Palermo in addition to her long-awaited return to the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, concerto appearance with Orchestra of Opera North and a series of recitals including Wigmore Hall in London and Reading Town Hall in the UK, and in Bologna, Italy. Together with her brass ensemble tenThing, they embark on a nine-concert tour across the US performing a Holiday-themed programme inspired by Christmas traditions of Europe and America, and in March 2023 the ensemble tours Sweden.
Tine continues regular tours with her ten-piece, all-female brass ensemble tenThing. An idea which started in 2007 as a fun and exciting project to pursue with her closest musical friends, the group have gone on to play to numerous audiences across Europe, USA and China. Past festival appearances include the BBC Proms, Schleswig-Holstein, Beethoven Bonn, Gstaad, MDR Musiksommer, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Rheingau, Merano, Thüringer Bachwochen, and Bremen.
Complimenting her live performances, Tine maintains active presence in a recording studio. Her newest album “Seraph”, released in November 2022, gained worldwide recognition including a 5* review from the BBC Music Magazine, whilst her previous disc “Magical Memories For Trumpet and Organ” (May 2021) was selected by Gramophone to feature in their “Recording of the Year 2021” August selection, and received 5* review from BBC Music Magazine. Earlier recordings include concertos by Haydn, Albioni, Neruda and Hummel with the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra, “Storyteller” disc with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic released on the EMI Classics label, a self-titled CD in March 2013, presenting a personal selection of original and transcribed works accompanied by pianist Kathryn Stott, and an album with tenThing Brass Ensemble released on Warner Classics.
Tine resides in Oslo and maintains an active role in her community as a regular TV and radio presenter, and teaches trumpet at the Norwegian Academy of Music. An all-round musician, she also regularly performs in some of the most iconic jazz bars in Norway. In June 2013, Tine launched her own project, Tine@Munch, in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the birth of Edvard Munch, featuring a variety of performances and guest artists such as Leif Ove Andsnes, Nicola Benedetti, and Truls Mork. Since 2019, she is a member of Artistic Board at Risør Chamber Music Festival.
The Band Post speaks to Tine Thing Helseth as she joins the Resound Collective in Singapore on 27 May 2023 for A Norwegian Celebration!
What inspired your love for the trumpet?
Well, I grew up in a family where everyone kind of played an instrument. My parents played in the local wind band as an hobby, and my mum played the trumpet, so I think I just wanted to be like her.
What are some challenges you faced while working on your career to become a renowned soloist today? How did you overcome these challenges?
Well, I started to play the trumpet from a young age, and at the beginning of my career I wanted to become a soloist. Maybe I didn’t understand everything that it took to actually become a soloist – all the practice, focus and everything like that, but it was my dream to do it. so I just worked very hard, and practised a lot.
Of course, I was very dedicated – I played a lot of concerts and played for many people. I had a fantastic teacher that helped me and saw my dream and my potential. So, I was just living this life, especially as a young adult.
When I started to travel around at around 18 years old, I have to be in focused all the time and prepare for concerts. The minute you start travelling around and play with orchestras, you’re of course, treated like an adult, and not a student anymore. I grew to love the new life and the travelling, as this was my dream.
Who are some of the composers, and pieces that you love to perform?
Well, there is a lot of music that I love to perform, so it’s hard to come up with any favourites. Actually, speaking of this concert that I’m doing in Singapore, Johann Nepomuk Hummel Trumpet Concerto in E-flat major, S. 49 is a piece that has followed me since I was very young, and it will probably follow me for the rest of my career.
I don’t do it so often anymore, so when I do it, it feels a bit special and it’s always a joy. The concert will also feature Norwegian music by Edward Gregg in these beautiful arrangements for trumpet and strings – it’s always fun and it feels nice to bring something from home.
What are some interesting or challenging repertoires for trumpet players? How do you learn to perfect the music?
Well, it’s always a process. My students also ask me, about how do I learn a new piece or work on a certain part. I usually tell them that I will start with looking at the shape of the piece, see what are the technical challenges, and stuff like that, and then learn the music in bits and pieces, until it all just kind of fits together as a whole.
And of course, if you can listen to a recording of it, then it’s easier to hear kind of how it sounds, or maybe you can play the piano or play with someone, and look at the score. It’s very different how each individual person work on their music, but for me, it’s one of the most fun process to actually learn a new piece. This is because I want to play for an audience and it’s what I love.
What is a usual day to day practice routine for you?
Well, it’s very, very different from what I’m doing that day.
If it’s a concert day, a travelling day, a normal day at home, or a day that I’m teaching, it all depends. But of course, I always have my warm ups, which can be 15 minutes or half an hour; whatever I need basically. And then, I try to put in some daily practises, different types of etude, stuff like that, and then I go straight to the repertoire, whatever I have to learn, and practice. It’s not always about the amount of time, but it’s more of how you use the time that you have.
What are your feelings and thoughts about your upcoming concert in Singapore?
Well, I’m very much looking forward to coming back to Singapore.
It’s a beautiful place, I’ve been there a couple of times and I’m very excited to meet this orchestra. I haven’t played with them before and I’ve heard a lot of great things and I am just excited to experience this beautiful country again, which is very special. So, yeah, I am excited for everything about the trip!
Could you briefly describe the pieces you would be performing and why you had chosen them?
Well, I kind of said something about the pieces earlier, but the Hummel Trumpet Concerto in E-flat major is really one of the standards and a piece that you’ll learn when you’re quite young, and it’s a piece that will follow me for the whole career and it has, of course, evolved over time. It’s a challenging piece, but it’s also important to keep it fresh. I am playing the piece more differently now than I did in my recording in 2007, which is 16 years ago.
And then I will play some Norwegian music; it’s always nice to bring something from home, so I’m excited for that.
How are your preparations going for this concert? Any notable changes or experiences to share?
Well, I’m doing as per normal, practising hard and just looking forward to the trip!
Finally, do you have any words or tips for the rising trumpeters that look up to you?
Well, the most important thing is to have fun and to find a way to practise that. Practising is not always fun, not at all, but play for people. Really try to feel comfortable in that situation and you will tend to do that a lot.
Find repertoire that you like to play, and play with others. Really try to make playing the trumpet as much of a comfortable and natural part of you, and just focus on finding your voice, because we shouldn’t all sound the same. Get inspired by different trumpeters and absolutely get inspired by other players such as pianists, violinists, singers and stuff like that. That has always been my main inspiration actually, throughout my career.
So, yeah, it’s all about being inspired by others, playing with people and finding your own voice!