By Liam Carroll

Violin player for Meteorôs Quartet, Stephan Frolov shows a little boy how to hold a baton when conducting music.
Violin player for Meteorôs Quartet, Stephan Frolov shows a little boy how to hold a baton when conducting music. Photo by Liam Carroll

Familiar family-friendly musicians were all on hand to perform at the annual Minioya Festival – with artists such as electronic act Datarock playing a fun-filled set perfect for the crowd of dancing tots and Oslo-born rapper Hkeem, whose audience nodded heads to funky beats and lively vocals.

The atmosphere was decidedly different on one of the smaller stages right in the centre of Miniøya where the audience was treated to a multi-sensory experience with the Meteorôs Quartet, a classical ensemble of four string musicians all born in different countries.

Adding a participatory element to their 20-minute set, the quartet brought along an array of art supplies and distributed them to the audience. About 30 children sat down and let their creative juices flow,  drawing and colouring while listening to classical music.

Violinist Stephan Frolov said, “The point of our show is to make children interested in classical music and we’re trying to do something that makes them happy and not to play anything depressing.”

After the performance, children were invited to try their hand at playing the violin and conducting the band with Frolov’s guidance. Smiling students clamored to take a turn.

“In this age it’s very hard to start loving music just by ears, but bringing this social activity makes it much more easy,” Frovlov said.

A little girl uses magnetic notes and a board to write her own music.
A little girl writes her own music by adding magnetic notes to a board. Photo by Liam Carroll

The funding has had a positive impact on Meteorôs Quartet.  Frolov said, “We were involved in a beautiful organization in Norway which invites young quartets to be trained and also encourage us to find ways to enable children to enjoy the classical genre.”

The band will return to Oslo in late August for the Oslo Chamber Music Festival.

You can follow Meteorôs Quartet on their Facebook page.

The quartet’s unique approach has flourished under the Norwegian government’s recent increased funding of the arts. In a 2017 article, internationally recognized music magazine Pitchfork described the surge in Norway’s funding for music: in the six years from  2011 to 2017, the Norwegian government’s contributions increased by $28 million per year, from $19 million to nearly $47 million