Ida Aubert Bang was recently named principal harpist with the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet. Since Aug. 2017, Aubert Bang has held the position of acting principal harpist with the orchestra, but she will officially begin her tenure in early 2019. “The opera orchestra in Oslo has been my main work place since graduating. I feel at home there and know the orchestra very well, so needless to say, it was very important for me to do well at the audition,” says Aubert Bang. When asked what excites her most about this position, she says, “What I like about playing opera is that you can really play out, and you’re not as exposed physically as when you’re on stage. I always feel more relaxed in the pit and feel like I can really play and do my thing. I like performing on stage too, but I feel like we have more fun both musically and personally in the pit.”
After a preliminary round where 44 competitors were heard, 14 harpists advanced to semi–finals, with four invited to play in round 3. The final two competitors were asked back three weeks later to play excerpts from Carmen, Manon, La Boheme, Swan Lake, La Forza del Destino, and Tristan und Isolde with the orchestra. Says Aubert Bang, “I don’t think I’ve ever smiled as much as I did that day, apart from my wedding day, maybe. The response and messages from people near and far was just overwhelming. The best feeling, though, was to give my husband and daughter a big hug when I saw them. It was such a relief and a great honor.”
Since graduating from the Norwegian Academy of Music in 2010, Aubert Bang has regularly worked and recorded with all major orchestras in Norway: the Oslo Philharmonic, Bergen Philharmonic, Norwegian Radio Orchestra, Norwegian National Opera Orchestra, and the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra. As a soloist, she performed Debussy’s Danses sacrée et profane at the Ojai Music Festival in California and the Lutoslawski Concerto for Oboe, Harp, and Strings at the Risør Chamber Music Festival with English oboist Nicholas Daniel.