…looking back at 2011, the month of March stands out. Two premieres, both of them in Bergen. Yet The Sea Is Never Full was beautifully rendered by Bergen Domkantori and the fantastic Raschér Saxophone Quartet on March 11. 

 

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… the 22nd of the same month, the wind band FMKV (Forsvarets Musikkorps Vestlandet) played Venezia at the opening of Borealis Festival. A piece about being over and under water. 
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I had the pleasure of leading a new festival at Tou Scene: Tou Camp. This multi-disciplinary event lasted from May 26 to June 26 and ranks as Stavanger's second best attended festival with 14.500 visitors ... many of them showing up for the outdoor event Tou Tower, where Alf Terje Hana and I gathered 48 guitarists on a 6-floor scaffold to mark Tou Scene's 10 years celebration. We composed the music in collaboration.
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Definitely, 2011 was a year of prizes: First, Mazurka - remaking Chopin was awarded the Spellemannsprisen, the Norwegian "Grammy". If you're interested in the CD: buy on iTunes or buy on musiconline.no.  Speaking of CDs, this one was released in 2011: Catch Light, with Peter Herresthal interpreting four new Norwegian violin concertos including my own, with percussionist Peter Kates and Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra.  buy tracks on musiconline | buy CD on Grappa

I was proud to receive the Lindemanprisen, Norway's largest music award,  given to a composer every third year. At the prize ceremony, the excellent choir Ensemble 96 performed Spør Havet, to be repeated a few weeks later at their 10 years concert described by Morgenbladet's reviewer "as if the church was a lighthouse in the open sea, with traditional choral singing drifted into vocal percussive elements.  At the same ceremony, Trio Valentin played the new piece  Game of Three, a commission from Trondheim Chamber Music Competition that had been premiered 5 times in one day of September 23,  by 5 outstanding international trios.

Reworking classical repertoire: Kitchen Barokk happened on August 11 at Stavanger Chamber Music Festival, as a collaboration between Stavanger Barokk and Kitchen Orchestra. I arranged and conducted the music, based on Italian baroque grooves. Singers: Elin Aase (baroque) and Stine Janvin Motland (free impro)
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The Mazurka project with Gjertruds Gypsy Orchestra is actively touring: A peak was Music Gardens Festival, Warszaw - 1100 audience members filling a large tent in the middle of the Royal Castle courtyard. We also enjoyed very much to perform at Ultima Festival, at Osa Festival, Voss, in Kabuso, Øystese and St.Johannes Church, Stavanger.  

Speaking of Chopin Mazurkas - in September I made it back to the old piano at Ulefoss where the aforementioned CD was recorded, only to record again the same Mazurkas and some more… this time solo, in the original versions. We'll be able to see how it works out on CD hopefully before summer 2012.

As improvising pianist I appeared with ZAS Trio, SS Motsol and Kitchen Orchestra. On the church organ, I performed with singer Anne-Lise Berntsen and gave an improvised solo concert at Fagerborg church, Oslo.  I also found some new approaches to the music of Fartein Valen with myself on piano and Lars-Erik ter Jung leading a string ensemble in Haugesund.

During the autumn of 2011 I have been working on two pieces that will see the light of day early in 2012: "Time to be silent, time to speak" for choir an strings, written in the aftermath of the shocking events of July 22nd, will be a part of the opening week of Kilden Concert Hall in Kristiansand. And a collaboration between Russian and Norwegian singers/musicians in February, prepared during my visit to Ensemble Noor in December, under the dark dark winter light of Alta, Northern Norway.

Best wishes for the New Year to everyone and thanks to all of you that lend your ear to my music, for your inspiration!