Lasse Thoresen

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Nominert til Nordisk rads musikkpris 2010.jpg

Lasse Thoresen (born 18 October 1949) is a Norwegian composer whose works concentrate on a contemporary transformation of the folk-music traditions of many peoples, especially those of Scandinavia.


Thoresen was born in Oslo in 1949 and studied with Finn Mortensen at the Norwegian Academy of Music, graduating in 1972. He studied electroacoustic music in Utrecht, and musique concrète and spectral music in Paris. He has been professor of composition at the Norwegian Academy of Music since 1988.[1] Thoresen has received many commissions for works which have been performed across Scandinavia, including commissions from all the major Norwegian Philharmonic Orchestras and the French National Radio.[2]

An important source of inspiration for Thoresen has been the Bahá'í religion whose texts he has set in many works.[2] His oratorio Traces of Light (2000) was performed at the inauguration of the 19 terraces of the Bahá'í holy place on Mount Carmel, by forces from Canada, Austria, Israel and Transylvania.

Thoresen was winner of the 2010 Nordic Council Music Prize[3] for his work Opus 42, which consists of four pieces written for the vocal group Nordic Voices.[4]

Thoresen’s piano trio Bird of the heart saw its premiere at the Bergen International Festival in 1982 by Oslo Trio, and has subsequently seen performances in Europe and Canada by a number of ensembles. The symphonic work Concerto for Violin and Orchestra (1984) was premiered live on radio by the EBU and has since seen performances in Norway, Sweden and Germany. 1985 saw Les trois régénérationscommissioned and premiered by Radio France in Paris. Thoresen was also appointed the 1986 festival composer at the Bergen International Festival. Emergence (1997) was commissioned by the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra and perforere on a tour of European capitals including the Musik Verein in Vienna. In 1998, Fire and Light. Cantata and Transformation saw its world premiere in Warsaw - commissioned by the contemporary music festival Warszawa Autumn. In April 2000, his work As the Waves of One Sea for 230 performers was performed in the Oslo Concert Hall as part of the millennial celebrations. May 2001 saw his OratorioTerraces of Light being performed in Haifa in celebration of the inaugurationof the Bahá’í Terraces. In 2003 he was guest composer for the Kiev Musik Fest. May 2003 saw his Triple Concerto Transfigurations being performed by a Norwegian trio of soloists and the St. Petersburg Symphonic Academy as a greeting from the Norwegian State on the occasion of the city’s 300 years jubilee. For a three year period, Thoresen was composer in residence at the Festival Présences - Radio France’s own contemporary music festival. BIT20 Ensemble has featured his work Løp, lokk og linjer on a number of domestic and international tours. [5]

Over the course of his career, Thoresen has received a number of awards including the Norwegian Society of Composers’ Work of the Year award for Stages of the Inner Dialogue for piano (1981), AbUno (1992), Carmel Eulogies (1993); the Music Critics’ Award for Qudrat, the Lindeman award for his integral workas a composer (1987). In 1987 Illuminations for violoncello and orchestra obtained honorary mention in the Prix Italia. He won Spellemannsprisen —the Norwegian equivalent of a Grammy — for the outing The Sonic Mind, featuring a violin and a cello concerto recorded by the Oslo Philharmonic (1998). In 2001, he received Prix Jacques Durand from Institut de France, Academie des Beaux Arts for his music. In 2002 he received the Foundation Samii-Housseinpour Price (Belgium). In 2003 he received the Edvard Prize for his 60 minutes’ suite for Folk Singer and Sinfonietta Løp, lokk og linjar. In 2010 he received the Nordic Council Music Prize for his opus 42, four pieces written for Nordic Voices as a part of the Concressens project, a scientific project Thoresen initiated in 2004 in order to enrich traditionalvocal practice with extened ethnic singing techiques. With influence from French spectral music, Harry Partch’s tonal system “Just Intonation” as well as Norwegian folk music traditions,Thoresen has employed use of microtonal principles in his music since 1985. [6]

Selected works[edit]

  • Bird of the Heart, piano trio (1982)
  • Symphonic Concerto for Violin and Orchestra (1984)
  • Illuminations, double concerto for two celli and orchestra (1985)
  • AbUno (1992)
  • The symphonic poem Emergence (1997)
  • Traces of Light (2000)
  • Løp, Lokk og Linjar for folk singer and sinfonietta (2002)
  • Transfigurations, triple concerto (2003)
  • The Descent of Luminous Waters, piano trio (2003)
  • To the Brother Peoples, double concerto for hardingfele og nyckelharpa (2005)
  • Tidehverv (At a Juncture), 3 Pieces for viola and cello (2007)
  • Opus 42, four vocal works


  • Nordic Voices, Himmelkvad (2012)
  • Ragnhild Hemsing, Yr (2011)
  • Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Lasse Thoresen - To The Brother Peoples (2009)
  • Grieg Trio, Beethoven - Thoresen (2007)
  • Aage Kvalbein, Ten Norwegian Short Stories (2005)
  • Oslo Strykekvartett, The Silver Chord (2002)
  • Oslo Sinfonietta, Norges Musikkhistore Bind 5 (2001)
  • Haifa Symfoniorkester, The Mount Carmel Terraces - Official Opening (2001)
  • Saxofon Concentus, Second Tale (2000)
  • Christian Eggen, Norges Musikkhøgskole Symfoniorkester & Kor, Lasse Thoresen - som Bølger på Ett Hav (2000)
  • The Norwegian Soloists' Choir, Hear (1999)
  • The Sonic Mind (1998)
  • The Norwegian Soloists' Choir, From the Sweet-scented Streams of Eternity / Lasse Thoresen (1998)
  • Lasse Thoresen (1998)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Lasse Thoresen". Norges musikkhøgskole (Norwegian Academy of Music). Retrieved 2010-06-02. 
  2. ^ a b Michael Fitzgerald (1989). Creative Circle: Art Literature and Music in Baha'I Perspective. Kalimat Press. pp. 193–212. ISBN 978-0-933770-68-3. Retrieved 2010-06-02. 
  3. ^ "Lasse Thoresen wins the Nordic Council Music Prize 2010". - Nordic Council. 2010-06-01. 
  4. ^ Catherine Gonsholt Ighanian (2010-06-01). "Lasse Thoresen vant Nordisk Råds musikkpris". VG Nett (in Norwegian). Retrieved 2010-06-02. 
  5. ^ "Biofrom MIC Music Information Centre Norway". Retrieved 2017-03-22. 
  6. ^ "Bio from recordlabel Grappa". Retrieved 2017-03-22. 


Further reading[edit]

  • Vollsnes, Arvid O. 2001. "Thoresen, Lasse". The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, second edition, edited by Stanley Sadie and John Tyrrell. London: Macmillan Publishers.

External links[edit]