Terje Isungset

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Terje Isungset
Born (1964-05-04) 4 May 1964 (age 50)
Hol, Norway
Genres Jazz, Scandinavian traditional
Occupation(s) Musician, composer
Instruments Drums, percussion
Website Official website

Terje Isungset (born May 4, 1964 Hol, Norway) is a Norwegian musician (primarily as a percussionist) and composer. From his background in jazz and traditional Scandinavian music, he has designed musical instruments from non-traditional materials including ice.[1][2]


Isungset was raised in Geilo where he played traditional dance music with his father (accordion) during his high school days. Moving to Bergen in 1984 led him to be a popular member of a number Bergen Groups, «Ictus» and «Tordenskjolds soldater» 1984-85, «Growl» and «Gruv» 1984-88, «Saksbehandlerne» and «Night and Day» 1985-86, «Salsa Pati» 1985-87, «Supply» 1985-88, in addition to periods within the Big Band «Emanon» from 1986, and recording debut Amalgamation (1985) with Kenneth Sivertsen.[1]

Isungset is after more than two decades on the Bergen and Norwegian Jazz scenes, one of Europe's most accomplished and innovative percussionists. With more than 20 years experience in jazz and Scandinavian traditional music he raises these narrow formes of music far beyond their traditional boundaries, becoming more like a crossover between a sound artist and a shaman. When crafting his own instruments from Norwegian natural elements such as arctic birch, granite, slate, sheep bells and even ice, he is highly recommended to those sensible to the poetry and simplicity of sounds.[2][3]

His work is highly acclaimed in the press, often described as innovative, visual, energetic, and different from any previously known concepts. His love for ice music was raised in 1999 when the commission of the winterfestival at Lillehammer asked him to compose and play in a frozen waterfall.[4] Isungset has also been commissioned to compose music for Jazz Festivals, Dance Performances, Theatre, Film, etc., with 41 commissed concerts.[2] He has released 9 solo albums and is doing most of his work internationally. Solo concerts, with his band or in collaboration with other artists. In 2006 he started the Icemusicfestival at Geilo together with Pål Knutsson Medhus. His most recent project is the Glassmusic together with Arve Henriksen.



  • 2010: Organic expressions, project with three dancers (Rebecca Hytting, Guro Rimeslåtten, Christine Kjellberg) from the Carte Blanche Dance Company
  • 2012: Isslottet, at the Oslo Opera and Ballet


Solo albums[edit]

  • 1997: Reise (NorCD)
  • 2000: Floating Rhythms (Via Music)
  • 2002: Iceman Is (Jazzland/Virgin), with Arve Henriksen[5]
  • 2003: Middle of Mist (NorCD)
  • 2006: Igloo (All Ice Records), nominated for Spellemannprisen in the class Jazz, with Sidsel Endresen
  • 2007: Two Moons (All Ice Records), with Per Jørgensen
  • 2008: Ice Concerts (All Ice Records)
  • 2009: Hibernation (All Ice Records)
  • 2010: Winter Songs (All Ice Records/Virgin)
  • 2010: Icemusic (All Ice Records), compilation
  • 2012: Meditations (All Ice Records)
  • 2014: World Of Glass (All Ice Records), with Arve Henriksen

Collaborative works[edit]

With Kenneth Sivertsen
Within Karl Seglem's «Sogn-A-Song»
Within Isglem (duo with Karl Seglem)
  • 1991: Rom (NorCD)
  • 1992: To Steg (NorCD)
  • 1996: Null G (NorCD)
  • 2003: Fire (NorCD)
Within «Orleysa», fest. Tore Brunborg
  • 1991: Orleysa (Odin Records)
  • 1993: Svanshornet (Odin Records)
Within «Utla» (including Håkon Høgemo and Karl Seglem)
  • 1992: Utla (NorCD)
  • 1993: Juv (NorCD)
  • 1995: Brodd (NorCD)
  • 1999: Dans (NorCD)
  • 2003: Song (NorCD), feat. Berit Opheim Versto
Within «Groupa» (including Jonas Simonson and Mats Edén)
  • 1999: Lavalek (Xource)
  • 2008: Frost (Footprint)
  • 2014: Silent Folk (Footprint)
With other projects


  1. ^ a b "Isungset, Terje - Biography" (in Norwegian). Norsk Musikkinformasjon MIC.no. 2011-03-21. Retrieved 2012-12-09. 
  2. ^ a b c "Terje Isungset Drummer, Composer - Directory". MIC.no. Retrieved 2012-12-09. 
  3. ^ "The music that melted". BBC Radio 4. 2011-02-08. Retrieved 2012-12-09. 
  4. ^ Eikeland, Else Berit (January 2012). "The coolest music on earth". Norwegian Embassy. Retrieved 2012-12-09. 
  5. ^ Talkington, Fiona (2003-03-05). "Terje Isungset Iceman Is Review". BBC Music. Retrieved 2012-12-09. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Harald Dahlstrøm
Recipient of the Vossajazzprisen
Succeeded by
Frank Jakobsen
Preceded by
Gisle Kverndokk
Recipient of the «Open class» Edvardprisen
Succeeded by
Alfred Janson