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Her debut with the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra at the age of 12, in which she played three concertos (those by Johann Sebastian Bach in F minor, Joseph Haydn in D major and Carl Maria von Weber in C major), was received with rave reviews. Knardahl was a student of Mary Barrat Due, who was educated in Italy. Idar Karevold, a music professor in Oslo, said that Knardahl's Italian style was unique in Norway.
She emigrated at 19 to the United States, where she had a distinguished career with the Minnesota Orchestra for 15 years, before returning to Norway in 1967. She became a popular fixture on the Norwegian music scene and was named the first professor of chamber music at the Norwegian Academy of Music. Knardahl was awarded the Norwegian Spellemanspris twice, and she also won the Norwegian Critics' Prize in 1968. She died in Oslo, aged 79.
Knardahl is most known for her interpretations of the piano works of Edvard Grieg. She has recorded the composer's complete piano music during 1978 and 1980. The recordings were reissued in 2006 on 12 compact discs by BIS Records.
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