Øyvind Torvund. Photo: Synne Sofi Bårdsdatter Bønes

Great plans for Øyvind Torvund

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October 25, 2023

The 2024 Bergen International Festival composer is known for his great plans and musical range. This spring he presents new music for both symphony and musicals. 

'It is a great honour to be the Festival composer in Bergen, I found it almost unbelievable at first,' says Øyvind Torvund

The composer from Frekhaug outside the city of Bergen has become one of Norway's most internationally renowned, and his music is widely played both at home and abroad.

'We are incredibly proud to present Øyvind Torvund as the 2024 Festival composer. The Bergen International Festival is a place for meetings between artistic forms of expression, both experimental and traditional, local and international. Within Torvund's creative project, all the above can be found. He is an important ambassador for Norwegian music and represents the openness, curiosity and fearlessness for which Bergen's musical life is known,' says festival director Lars Petter Hagen.

Torvund's music will be presented through four different events. There will be a children's performance, new chamber music with the American JACK

Quartet and Yarn/Wire, plans for new musicals performed by BIT20 Ensemble* and new orchestral music in Grieghallen where members of the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra will be placed in various spots around the large concert hall.

'A common denominator for the pieces is that I try to combine ways of thinking about music and to create new forms of listening experiences, says the Festival composer,' who also has a background as an electric guitarist.

When he received the Kunstpreis Musik in Berlin in 2022 for his work over the past ten years, the jury wrote that Torvund is striving 'to broaden the horizons of our present day experience by giving it a musical form all of its own. Within the composer scene, he is a bold, autonomous voice that puts original ideas into clever and compelling dramaturgic form.'

The composer has created works for solo instruments, ensembles and orchestras and has also incorporated the place where the music is performed into several of his works. In a series of works entitled Plans, Torvund has expanded the music with his own drawings of imaginative situations in the concert hall. Acoustic and electronic sound sources, accurate notations and improvisations, sounds from nature, traditional instruments, new technology and elements from folk, pop, classical and contemporary music, are all equally naturally present in his musical universe.

'Torvund's music is both highly distinctive, brave and wondering at the same time. It is beautiful, subtle and often liberatingly funny,' says Hagen.

Facts/Øyvind Torvund

  • Born in 1976 in Porsgrunn, raised in Kviteseid i Vest-Telemark, Norway

  • Studied composition at the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo and Universität der Künste in Berlin

  • Has written works in several genres and for artists including the Oslo Philharmonic, BIT20 Ensemble, JACK Quartet, Yarn/Wire and Klangforum Wien

  • Has received Arne Nordheim's Composer Prize, the EDVARD Prize, two Spellemann Awards and the Kunstpreis in Berlin and has been nominated for the Nordic Council Music Prize

  • Known for combining acoustic and electronic sound sources, improvisation and a wide range of musical sources of inspiration

  • Will release new music in February 2024 and has several premieres during the 2024 Bergen International Festival

Øyvind Torvund at the 2024 Bergen International Festival

*Great plans for future musicals has been postponed due to illness. A new date for the concert will be announced later.

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