foto: Harald Ueland
On 15th June 2003, (Edvard Grieg´s birthday), pianist Håkon Austbø received Norway's most prestigious music award, the "Grieg Prize", awarded by the Grieg Museum. The ceremony prize-winner concert took place at Edvard Grieg´s estate "Troldhaugen" in Bergen. The chairman of the museum Geir Kjell Andersland submitted the prize at this occasion saying, among other things, the following:

"In the midst of this world of new and foreign repertoire, Austbø has a close relationship with Grieg's music. The last years he has brought this music forward again in concerts and recordings, which have gained great acclaim for their audacity and their characteristic interpretation.
Only a couple of weeks ago we had the joy of hearing Håkon Austbø in the closing concert of the Bergen International Festival, where he performed the first edition of Griegs immortal Piano Concerto in a way that enthusiasted the public. Everyone knew that we were confronted here with a non compromising artist who had gotten on the inside of the music he performs and who managed to convey it by means of his own artistic personality."

Press voices after the closing concert of the Bergen Festival, June 1, 2003, with the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra and conductor Alexander Vedernikov:

"Austbø is an extremely listening pianist, open to everything happening in the orchestra that surrounds him, willing to take risks, to set himself and the music at stake. It is as though nothing is decided on beforehand when his fingers touch the keyboard. He plays with high odds, with and against the orchestra. It is a risky strategy but one that yields music. In this case, one of the most intense and dramatic Grieg-accounts we have heard for a long time."  (Bergens Tidende)

"Austbø is inside his own musical space and doesn't  relate to anything outside it. It is as though the music hypnotizes him - a state he readily transmitted to the audience." (BergensAvisen)