Terje Isungset

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Terje Isungset
Terje Isungset.jpg
Terje Isungset at Victoria, Nasjonal jazzscene December 2015
Background information
Born (1964-05-04) 4 May 1964 (age 52)
Hol, Norway
Genres Jazz, Scandinavian traditional
Occupation(s) Musician, composer
Instruments Drums, percussion
Website www.terjeisungset.no

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]


Terje Isungset with Agbaland at Nattjazz
May 30, 2015
Terje Isungset and Arve Henriksen performing glass music at Victoria 2015
Terje Isungset with glass drums at Victoria, December 2015
Terje Isungset with glass instruments
at Victoria, December 2015

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 Jazz scenes, one of Europe's most accomplished and innovative percussionists. With more than 25 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 commissioned concerts.[2] He has released 10 solo albums and is now doing most of his work internationally. Solo concerts, with his band or in collaboration with other artists. In 2006 he started the Ice Music Festival at Geilo, Norway together with Pål Knutsson Medhus, and is the founding manager of the record label All Ice Records. His most recent project is the Glassmusic[5] together with Arve Henriksen. They released an album named World of Glass in late 2014. The recordings were largely made in front of a live audience in Tallinn. All the instruments were made from glass by students from the Estonian Academy of Arts.[6][7]



  • 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]

  • 2015: Collected Works (All Ice Records)

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" (PDF). Norwegian Embassy. Retrieved 2012-12-09. 
  5. ^ "Glassmusic Homepage". Glassmusic Project. Retrieved 8 January 2015. 
  6. ^ "Terje Isungset and Arve Henriksen - World of Glass (All Ice Records 1409. CD Review by Peter Jones)". London Jazz News. 30 December 2014. Retrieved 8 January 2015. 
  7. ^ "Madli-Liis Parts' video of World of Glass / Tallinn 2011". Madli-Liis Parts. Retrieved 8 January 2015. 
  8. ^ 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