Ketil Bjørnstad

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Ketil Bjørnstad
Ketil Bjornstad mg 1521.jpg
Ketil Bjornstad at the 2004 Moers Festival in Germany
Background information
Birth name Ketil Bjørnstad
Born (1952-04-25) 25 April 1952 (age 62)
Oslo
Origin Norway
Genres Classical music, chamber jazz, third stream, folk jazz, new-age, post-bop
Occupation(s) Musician, composer, author
Instruments Piano and keyboards
Labels ECM Records
Associated acts David Darling, Terje Rypdal, Svante Henryson
Website Official website

Ketil Bjørnstad (born 25 April 1952 in Oslo, Norway) is a Norwegian pianist, composer and author. Initially trained as a classical pianist, Bjørnstad discovered jazz at an early age and has embraced the emergence of "European jazz".[1][2][3]

He is an artist on the ECM record label, but has also published some 20 books (predominantly novels) and a number of poetry and essay collections.[1][3]

He has collaborated with other ECM artists, including cellist David Darling, drummer Jon Christensen, and guitarist Terje Rypdal.[1][3][4]

Biography[edit]

Ketil Bjørnstad was trained as a classical pianist and studied with Amalie Christie and Robert Riefling, and also in London and Paris. He showed great talent at a young age, and won the title of "Youth Piano Master" in 1966 and 1968. When he was 16, he made his debut as a concert pianist[5] with Béla Bartók's third piano concerto.[3]

Bjørnstad subsequently turned towards jazz[5] and rock, in close cooperation with the guitarist Terje Rypdal, bassist Arild Andersen, drummer Jon Christensen and the American cellist David Darling. He has recorded more than 50 albums, for labels which include Universal, Kirkelig Kulturverksted and ECM. He is particularly famous for the work Leve Patagonia (1978), which features Cornelis Vreeswijk and Lill Lindfors. His most famous song is "Sommernatt ved fjorden", sung by Ellen Westberg Andersen. Bjørnstad has released discs with a range of artists including Anneli Drecker, Kristin Asbjørnsen, Kari Bremnes, Lill Lindfors, Randi Stene, no:Lynni Treekrem, Frøydis Armand, the Stavangerensemblet, Anders Wyller, Per Vollestad and Ole Paus. He is internationally known for his Universal and ECM recordings, including The Sea, duo recordings with David Darling and Terje Rypdal, Grace, with Anneli Drecker, Bendik Hofseth and Trilok Gurtu,Floating with bassist Palle Danielsson and percussionist Marilyn Mazur, which went to the top of the jazz charts in Germany, solo triple album Rainbow Sessions and The Light, with Randi Stene and Lars Anders Land, which led Gramophone magazine to compare Bjørnstad's songs to those of Leonard Cohen.[citation needed] His most recent ECM album, Remembrance (2010), adds to his catalogue of his serene, meditative work.[6]

Bjørnstad has worked in recent years with the Swedish cellist Svante Henryson. In 2000 he wrote the millennium oratorio Himmel Rand (The edge of the sky), based on texts of the poet Stein Mehren. He wrote commissions for the Molde International Jazz Festival in 2007 and for the Bjørnson Festival in 2008. He also wrote "Coast Lines" for the Canal Street Festival in Arendal in 2007 and "Hvalenes Song" for Vestfold International Festival in 2009. His music has often been used by film directors, including Ken Loach and Jean-Luc Godard. As a pianist he has toured all over the world, and visited jazz festivals including those in Montreal, Shanghai, Taipei, Rome, Nancy, Frankfurt, Leipzig, London, Molde and Kongsberg.[3][7]

Ketil Bjørnstad in Stavanger, March 2009

Bjørnstad first appeared as an author in 1972 with the poetry collection Alone. He has published about 30 books in all, including poems, novels and biography. Among his earliest novels are Pavane and Bingo – a virtue of Essentials. His novel Oda!, which is based on the life of Oda Krohg is regarded as a reference work on the bohemian scene in Kristiania (Oslo before 1924),[1][3] and sits alongside his biography of Hans Jæger. A translation of his biographical work The story of Edvard Munch was published in English to coincide with a Munch retrospective exhibition.[8] Among his other literary works are the critically acclaimed[1] Villa Europa and the Victor-Alveberg trilogy, which consists of the novels Drift, Dream of the Sea and Road to Dhaka . Bjørnstad won the Riksmål prize in 1998 with Spiritual. The same year he wrote a satirical book about football, The journey to Gaul with Ole Paus. Mention must also be made of the millennium trilogy which comprises Fall, Ludvig Hassel's Tusenårsskiftet (Ludwig Hassel's Millennium) and Tesman.[2][7][9]

Bjørnstad wrote the psychological thrillers The Custom Themes and Twilight. The events of the latter take place in the archipelago of Tvedestrand, where Bjørnstad lived in the 1970s and 80s. More recently, Bjørnstad wrote an award-winning trilogy about the young pianist Aksel Vinding. It consists of the novelsThe music,The River and Damen i Dalen (The Lady in the Valley).[2]

Bjørnstad's literary breakthrough in Germany came in 2006 with Vindings Spiel (To the music) published by Suhrkamp / Insel. The influential critic Elke Heidenreich described the novel as "a perfect book" in her Lesen! program for ZDF, and it went straight into the bestseller list of Der Spiegel. The book was also Bjørnstad's literary breakthrough in France, and was awarded the Prix des lecteurs for 2008. To Music was published in English in 2009.[2][10]

Bibliography[edit]

  • Alene out (poems, 1972)
  • Closer (poems, 1973)
  • Nattsvermere (novel, 1974)
  • Kråker and fighters (novel, 1975)
  • Pavane (novel, 1976)
  • Winter Town (novel, 1977)
  • The country on the other side (novel, 1979)
  • Bingo! or: a virtue of necessity (novel, 1983)
  • Oda ! (documentary novel, 1983)
  • The personal motive (novel, 1985)
  • We accuse! Treholtsaken and legal protection (Revised Edition, 1986)
  • G-moll-balladen (documentary novel, 1986)
  • Conversations with Lill (portrait interview, 1986)
  • Oppstigning from the invisible (novel, 1988)
  • Storm (novel, 1989)
  • Twilightpossibilities (novel, 1990)
  • Villa Europa (novel, 1992)
  • The story about Edvard Munch (documentary novel, 1993)
  • Euro(novel, 1994)
  • Game! Ole Bull and Myllarguten (play in five acts, 1995)
  • Blåmann. Music and lyrics by 20 years (1995)
  • Drift (novel, 1996)
  • Dream of the sea (novel, 1996)
  • The road to Dhaka (novel, 1997)
  • Spiritual (novel, 1998)
  • Fall (novel, 1999)
  • Ludvig Hassels tusenårsskifte (novel, 2000)
  • Jæger (biography, 2001)
  • The man who walked on Earth (2002)
  • Tesmann (2003)
  • Days and nights in Paris (2003)
  • To Music (2004)
  • Flammeslukeren. Ole Bull – a life. (2005)
  • Liv Ullmann – Life Lines. (2005)
  • Stories of vulnerability (With Catharina Jacobsen) (2007)
  • The River (2007)
  • Kolbein Falkeid – a close-up (2008)
  • Damen i Dalen (novel, 2009)

Discography[edit]

  • 1973 - Apning (Philips)
  • 1974 - Berget Det Bla (Philips)
  • 1975 - Tredje Dag (Philips)
  • 1976 - Finnes Du Noensteds Ikveld (Philips)
  • 1977 - Selena (Philips)
  • 1978 - Leve Patagonia (Philips)(later issued as 2 CD set)
  • 1979 - Svart Piano (Philips)
  • 1980 - Tidevann (Philips)
  • 1982 - Engler I Sneen
  • 1983 - Aniara
  • 1984 - Preludes Vol. 1 Uniton Records
  • 1985 - Preludes Vol. 2 Uniton Records
  • 1987 - Pianology
  • 1988 - Karen Mowat-Suite
  • 1990: The Shadow (KKV), poems by John Donne, (1562–1626)
  • 1993: Water Stories (ECM)
  • 1995: The Sea (ECM)
  • 1996: The River (ECM)
  • 1998: The Sea II (Grappa/ECM)
  • 2000: Epigraphs (ECM)
  • 2001: Grace (Emarcy), poems by John Donne, 1562–1626
  • 2003: The Nest (Emarcy), poems by Harte Crane, 1899–1932
  • 2004: Seafarer's Song (Universal Jazz)
  • 2006: Floating (Emarcy)
  • 2008: Life in Leipzig (ECM), with Terje Rypdal
  • 2009: Remembrance (ECM)
  • 2011: Night Song (ECM)
  • 2013: La Notte (ECM)
  • 2014: Sunrise - A cantata on texts by Edvard Munch (ECM)
  • 2014: A passion for John Donne (ECM)

Books[edit]

  • Ketil Bjørnstad. The story of Edvard Munch, London, UK: Arcadia, 2001. ISBN 1-900850-44-3.
  • Ketil Bjørnstad. Villa Europa: novel, Oslo, Norway: Aschehoug, 1992 (Norwegian). ISBN 82-03-16872-8.

Awards[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e "Ketil Bjørnstad – Biography".  Store Norske Leksikon (in Norwegian)
  2. ^ a b c d "Bjørnstad, Ketil – Biography".  Aschehoug.no (in Norwegian)
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Ketil Bjørnstad – Biography".  Rockipedia.no (in Norwegian)
  4. ^ Fordham, John (27 March 2006). "Ketil Bjornstad – Queen Elizabeth Hall, London". The Guardian.  Guardian.co.uk
  5. ^ a b Yanow, Scott. "Ketil Bjørnstad: Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 2011-01-03. 
  6. ^ Nastos, Michael. "Remembrance: Review". Allmusic. Retrieved 2011-01-03. 
  7. ^ a b "Ketil Bjørnstad med gode anmeldelser – Kalleklev.no".  (in Norwegian)
  8. ^ "The Story of Edvard Munch". Royal Norwegian Embassy in London. 4 September 2005. Retrieved 2011-01-03. 
  9. ^ "Gratuler med dagen, Ketil Bjørnstad! – Puls.no".  (in Norwegian)
  10. ^ Bjørnstad, Ketil (2998). To Music. Maia Books. ISBN 1-904559-35-2.  Check date values in: |date= (help)

External links[edit]