Spring 2017: KB is finishing off Åttitallet (The
Eighties), the third volume of the novel cycle Verden Som
Var Min (The World I Used To Know). The book will be
released in October 2017. The first two volumes have passed
80.000 copies in print.
Winter, Spring, Summer 2017: KB on tour: Wien (Porgy and Bess)
and Rottenmann 3-4 January (postponed from December 2016),
Istanbul (with Terje Rypdal) 13 February, Mosjøen (solo) 1
March, Lørenskog Kulturhus (with Anne Grosvold) 2 March,
Schorndorf and Marburg (solo) 17-18 March, Prøysen-huset (solo)
26 March, Schloss Elmau (solo) 29-30 April, Ringelien gård,
Søndre Land 24 May, Valdres Sommersymfoni (with Guro Kleven
Hagen, Anne Grosvold a.o.)
Fagernes, 25 June, Fjæreheia, Grimstad (Terje Vigen) 4-12 July,
Kabelvåg Kirke (Lofotoratoriet) 15 July, Baroniet Rosendal
(solo) 28 July, Wesel (solo) 27 August.
May 2017: The students at Tonheim Folkehøgskole, outside Hamar
are making a stage version of Leve Patagonia (KB 1978) at
Hamar Kulturhus, 12 May.
January 2017: Lofoten Voices, conducted by the distinguished
mezzo soprano Marianne Beate Kielland, starts rehearsing KB’s
new oratorio Lofotoratoriet, with Kielland herself as
soloist and local musicians in the ensemble. The composition,
with texts by local poets, will have its world-premiere at The
Lofoten Festival (www.lofotenfestival.com)
15 July 2017 in Lofotkatedralen, Vågan kirke, Kabelvåg, Norway.
December 2016: KB finishes composing the music score for Kilden
Teater’s stage production of Henrik Ibsen’s poem Terje Vigen
at Fjæreheia Amfi outside Grimstad, Norway, where the original
drama took place, according to Ibsen himself. Kilden’s theatre
director Amalie Nilssen has written the script and is also
directing the play. More info about the musicians, dancers and
singers can be found at
will be performed between 4 and 12 July 2017.
November 2016: Elke Heidenreich writes about Mein Weg zu
Mozart: “What an impressively, wonderful book!”
September 2016: Insel/Suhrkamp Verlag releases Mein Weg zu
Mozart (Veien til Mozart), translated by Lothar Schneider.
August 2016: The release of the sequel to Sekstitallet/The
Sixties, Syttitallet/The Seventies, sends the novel directly
to the top 2 and 3 on the Ark and Tanum bookstore lists. The
release gets huge attention and much praise in the press. Both
Guri Hjeltnes in VG and Marius Wulfsberg in Dagbladet
give the novel 5 stars. Hjeltnes names it “a tour de force” and
says the reading is “and adventurous journey”. Wulfsberg writes
that KB “meets the expectations again”, and in Adresseavisa,
Ole Jacob Hoel writes that KB “exceeds the expectations”,
writing about “a particulary exciting decade, both for the
world, for Norway and for the protagonist himself.” In
Dagsavisen, Turid Larsen is already looking forward to
July 2016: The producer Manfred Eicher and KB agrees on making a
new ECM-album, the first since A Passion for John Donne
January 2016: KB releases the concert-recording of Sanger om
tilhørighet/Songs of belonging on Grappa, featuring Håkon
Kornstad, Anja Lechner, Birger Mistereggen and Nidarosdomen
oratoriekor . Weltmusik-Magazin writes that the album is
special, with “wonderful music”. Tor Hammerø writes that the
music is “very special and grandiose” and that the oratorium
invites to “a journey that provides as many afterthoughts that I
have rarely been confronted with during a music experience”.
Winter, Spring, Summer, Autumn 2016: KB on tour: München,
Innsbruck, Langenau 20-23 January, Stavanger (with Ole Paus) 24
January, Moster (solo piano) 6 March, Fredrikstad (solo piano) 9
March, Drammen (solo piano) 10 March, Sandnessjøen (with Ole
Paus) 12 March, Schwäbisch Hall 17 March, Flekkefjord (solo
piano) 27 April, Balestrand (Frolandia) 6 May, Oslo (with Svante
Henryson) 12 May, Sandefjord (solo piano) 23 May, Tønsberg (solo
piano) 22 June, Baroniet Rosendal (solo piano) 1 July, Lofoten
Int. Pianofestival (lectures) 12-19 July, Froland (Frolandia) 23
July, Rockefeller (with Anne Grosvold and Ole Paus) 1 September,
Nord-Aurdal (solo piano) 3 September, Herne (solo piano and
reading) 8 September, Berlin (solo piano and book-launch) 9
September, Tynset 14 and Stavanger 16 September (with Anne
Grosvold), Oslo 19-20 September, Landsberg (solo piano) 24
September, Leipzig Opera Haus (solo piano) 29 September, Bergen
(with Anne Grosvold) 14 October, Trondheim 20, Haugesund 21 and
Asker 22 October (with Anne Grosvold), Skien (with Anne Grosvold)
26 October, Sandnes 29-30 October (Grace with choir),
Stange (with Anne Grosvold) 2 November, Oslo (solo piano) 8
November, Sarpsborg (with Anne Grosvold) 9 November, Svelvik
(with Anne Grosvold) 10 November, Stockholm (solo piano) 16
November, Kristiansand (with Håkon Kornstad) 17 November, Narvik/Harstad
18 and 19 November (with Anne Grosvold), Kalkmølla/Sandvika
(with Håkon Kornstad) 14 November, Rottenman 9 December, Wien 10
October 2015: KB releases his two solo piano albums
Shimmering and Images on Grappa. In Jazznytt,
Maren Ørstavik writes that both albums are “deeply satisfying”.
And in Leipziger Volkzeitung, Ulrich Steinmetzger gives
the album much praise, writing that KB “is a storyteller” and
that both albums has “power and intimacy”. At the same time, KB
releases a live-recording of his concert with Oslo Philharmonic
in January 1969, when he was still sixteen years old, playing
Bartok’s Piano Concerto no. 3. KB also plays pieces by Ravel and
Debussy, recorded by NRK the same year. This album also on the
August 2015: Sekstitallet(The Sixties) reaches top 5 on
the official Norwegian bestseller list, after glowing reviews in
major newspapers. Turid Larsen (Dagsavisen) writes that
the novel is one of the best KB has ever written. Both Guri
Hjeltnes (VG) and Marius Wulfsberg (Dagbladet)
gives the novel 5 stars, writing that the book is “warm and
invigorated” (VG) and “an important contribution to the
autobiographical literature. (Dagbladet). Wulfsberg also
writes that the project, a six volume novel cycle, is “a daring
larg-scale project,” different from Karl Ove Knausgård, and that
“KB has succeeded to describe his own time.”
July 2015: Sekstitallet (The Sixties), KB’s
first novel in the planned six volume cycle Verden Som Var
Min (The World I Used To Know) is presented as “book
of the month” in Bokklubben Nye Bøker. The official
release is on 12 August. KB has already started writing
Syttitallet (The Seventies).
May 2015: Frolandia (GRAPPA) gets much attention and
critical acclaim in Norway. In Aftenposten, Svein
Andersen gives the CD 5 stars and calls the recording “some of
this duo’s best moments ever”. In Dagsavisen, Geir
Rakvaag also gives the recording 5 stars and says it is “a great
piece of music”. The CD reached the top of the charts at
Platekompaniet and the first live performance, in the
Kongsberg Cathedral, during the International Jazz Festival was
Winter, Spring, Summer, Autumn 2015: KB on tour: Ringve Museum,
Trondheim, 8 February (solo piano), Kalkmølla 12 February (with
Randi Stene and Lars Anders Tomter), Brumunddal 26 February
(solo piano), Kolben, Asker, Lillestrøm 14-16 April (solo
piano), Drammen 5 May (solo piano), Holmestrand 28 May (solo
piano), Søndre Land 30 May (solo piano) Kongsberg Int. Jazz
Festival 4 July (Frolandia with Ole Paus, a.o. First
Performance), Skåtøy Visefestival, Kragerø 16 July (with Lill
Lindfors), The Barony (Rosendal) 18 July (with Håkon Kornstad),
Peperonchino Jazz Festival (Italy) 25 July (solo piano), The
Norwegian Opera (Oslo), 10 August (Frolandia with Ole
Paus, a.o, Oslo Int. Jazz Festival), Oslo Int. Chamber Music
Festival 22 August (solo piano), Bran (Romania), 30 August (with
Svante Henryson), Trondheim, Bergen, 15-16 September (reading),
Hamar 18 September (Frolandia with Ole Paus, a.o.), Tønsberg 24
September (reading), Sandnessjøen 12 October (solo piano),
Trondheim 13 October (reading), Haugesund Kulturnatt 17 October
(with Ole Paus a.o.), Bergen 20 October (reading), Porsgrund 21
October (reading), Nes 23 October (reading), Fredrikstad 27
October (reading) Haugesund 29 October (reading), Steinkjær 6
November (with Ole Paus), Josefine, Oslo, 11 November (various
artists), Arendal 12 november (reading), Sting (Stavanger) 13
November (reading), Lyngdal 14 November (solo piano), Gjøvik 17
November (solo piano), Os 19 November (solo piano).
January 2015: KB records Frolandia with Ole Paus, a. o.,
in Kongshavn Studios, Kristiansand. It is their first recording
together since Kildens Bredd (UNIVERSAL 2002)
December 2014: KB writes on a new novel, called The Sixties.
It is planned for release in the Fall, 2015.
December 2014: KB changes his Germany, Austria, Switzerland
management to Werner Oberender in Neuwied (ref. Contact).
December 2014: Veien til Mozart (The road to Mozart) is
sold to Suhrkamp/Insel Verlag in Berlin, Germany and will be
translated by Lothar Schneider with a planned release in 2016.
In Norway, the book has already two reprints and gets unison
praise by the critics.
November 2014: A Passion for John Donne (ECM) gets praise
from two of Norway’s leading jazz critics. On
torhammero.blogg.no, Tor Hammerø writes that this could be
KB’s greatest masterpiece so far, and that KB always finds the
right melody making his beautiful music. He also praises Håkon
Kornstad, Birgier Mistereggen and the Oslo Chamber Choir
conducted by Håkon Daniel Nystedt. In Jazzinorge.no, the
former Dagbladet newspaper critic Terje Mosnes calls the
cd “vital and beautiful”. He recommends the recording, saying
that it could be this year’s Christmas gift.
October 2014: CNNs Richard Quest talks to the Nordic Choice
Hotel-owner Petter Stordalen about KBs book Veien til Mozart
(The road to Mozart) in his series Reading for Leading,
Saturday 11 October. The interview is a part of the 30 minute
weekly Best of Quest-program. Stordalen talks about how
reading KBs book about Mozart was an inspiration for thinking
about different values in life, also when you are a businessman.
October 2014: KBs Veien til Mozart (The road to Mozart)
gets much praise after the release in August. In Norways biggest
newspaper Aftenposten, Toril Sæther writes: “Is it
anything more to say about Mozart, more than 200 years after his
death? After the reading of KBs biography, the answer is yes.”
She also writes that the book is “as much a biography as an
auto-biography, and that it is a successful combination of both.
She concludes that the book is “wise, insightful, well written
and, not at least, a humorous book about Mozart, Bjørnstad, the
music and life itself.” And in Stavanger Aftenblad, Erik
Lodén also finds the autobiographic touch “convincing”. At the
same time he writes that the book is a ”stimulating,
knowledgeable and reliable guide into Mozart’s life and music”.
In Klassisk Musikkmagasin, Ida Habbestad praises the
rhythm in KBs way of writing.
Autumn 2014: KB on tour: Gjerdrum 22 October, Salzburg 26
October (with Svante Henryson), Oslo (Universitetets Aula) 31
October (A Passion For John Donne, ECM-release), Innsbruck 4
November (solo piano), Rottenmann 5 November (solo piano),
Marburg 6 November (solo piano), Neuwied 7 November (solo
piano), München 8 November (solo piano), Spanish-Norwegian days
in Villajoyosa, L’Alfàs del Pi and Torrevieja 16-19 November
(solo piano and with Ole Paus), Mosjøen 2 December (solo piano),
Sandnessjøen 3 December (solo piano), Mo i Rana 4 December (solo
piano), Mainz 11 December (with Tore Brunborg and Jon
July 2014: First performance of KBs oratorio Sanger om
Tilhørighet in Nidaros Cathedral 26 July gets five stars in
Adresseavisen. Hroar Klempe writes that Bjørnstad is “a
mature oratorio-composer”, that he is at his best with his
melodies, when he also can be “very advanced” and “moving”. He
gives much praise to the soloists Håkon Kornstad, Tora Augestad
and Anja Lechner, and concludes his review with writing that
Sanger om Tilhørighet is a “memorable” piece of music.
Summer 2014: More praise for Sunrise (ECM). In
Gramophone, Pwyll ap Siön writes that Bjørnstad “steers
clear of providing a musical analogue to Munch’s texts. His
style is rooted in jazz-style modal and harmonic inflections,
reminiscent at times of ECM stablemates Keith Jarrett, Pat
Metheny and Lyle Mays … Bjørnstad’s style is expressive rather
than expressionist; lyrical, reflective, sometimes beautifully
so, such as in the songs that feature vocalist Kari Bremnes …
There are also some very telling contributions from cellist Aage
Kvalbein and dynamic double bassist Bjørn Kjellemyr, as well as
the composer himself on piano. The Oslo Chamber Choir sings with
an intelligence and understanding for both the words and the
music” In Aesthetica, Hannah Clugston writes that
vocalist Kari Bremnes and the Oslo Chamber Choir renders
Bjørnstad’s musical interpretation of Munch’s writing truly
magical. In Independent On Sunday, Phil Johnson writes
that “Bjørnstad is the perfect interpreter of this (Munch’s)
legacy”, and in Jasswise, Stuart Nicholson writes that
Sunrise is “a remarkable album that numbers among
Bjørnstad’s finest achievments.”
May 2014: The ECM-release Sunrise gets praise in England.
Stephen Graham in Marlbank writes that “You might think
of Munch in a very different way after listening to Sunrise,
the sheer elementalism of the words and honesty of the
performance striking and immediate.” He also writes that “You
come away from the album with an overriding glimpse of the
vividness and extremeties of Munch’s sheer passion and even
terror in his texts. It’s Bjørnstad’s keenness in observing
these and channelling them thrugh voices and his small group
that is so remarkable.” And in The Jazz Breakfast, Peter
Bacon writes that the album is “a delicious success”.
May 2014: KBs book about Wolfang Amadeus Mozart gets the title
Veien til Mozart (The road to Mozart) and will be
released by Aschehoug by the end of August 2014. It is both a
strictly empiric Mozart-biography and an auto-biography about
KBs life since he, as a 5 years old child, was told by his
mother to love Mozart and play him on his piano. KB tries to
emphasize the struggle Mozart had with different authorities,
included his beloved father, and to describe how he, himself, in
the landscape of his Aksel Vinding-novels,
related to, and struggled with, Mozart on different levels
through his own childhood.
May 2014: KBs novel Nåde gets significant recognition in
Bangladesh’ The Daily Star. Salahuddin Ayub, a faculty
member in the Department of Criminal Justice, Philosophy and
Political Science at Chicago State University, writes that the
novel is: “Gracefully composed, unsettling, and quietly
provocative. Nåde is a profound indictment of our
acquiescence to the status quo, our growing appetite for boorish
tribalism disguised as progressive nationalist politics, and our
appalling indifference to the plight of minorities.” He also
writes that Anis Pervez’ translation of this “luminous, moving
prose” is superb.
Spring/Summer/Autumn 2014: KB on tour: Warszawa Radio House (Komeda
Festival) 8 March (with Tore Brunborg. Flekkefjord 11 June (solo
piano). Sarpsborg Church 22 June (Sunrise/Edvard Munch). Harstad
(North Norway Festival) 25 June (duo with Paolo Fresu).
Tyssnes Festival 10 July (solo piano). Nidaros Cathedral,
Trondheim 26 July (Songs of Belonging, commissioned work
for Olavsfestdagene, with Anja Lechner, Håkon Kornstad, Tora
Augestad, Birger Mistereggen and Nidaros Oratorie Choir,
conducted by Petra Bjørkhaug). Rosendal Barony 1 August (solo
piano). Moster Amfi 21 September (solo piano).
Jarasum Int. Jazzfestival, Korea 4 October (with Terje Rypdal).
University Aula, Oslo 31 October (A Passion For John Donne –
ECM release concert). Southampton, England 21 November (solo
piano). Bristol, England 22 November (solo piano).
December 2013: The ECM production A Passion For John Donne,
with KB (composer and pianist), Håkon Kornstad (sax and vocals),
Birger Mistereggen (percussion), Håkon Daniel Nystedt
(conductor) and Oslo Kammerkor (Oslo Chamber Choir) is planned
for release on All Saints Day, 2 November 2014.
December 2013- March 2014: Except for a concert in Reykjavik
(Iceland) 30 January and in Kristiansund 2 February, KB will not
be touring this winter. He will be writing new music as well as
a book about Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, called Mozart’s roads –
The roads to Mozart.
December 2013: KB is engaged to write the commissioned work for
Olavsfestdagene in Trondheim, 26 July 2014, Sanger om
tilhørighet (Songs of belonging), for soloist, choir and
small ensemble in Nidarosdomen (The Nidaros Cathedral). Tora
Augestad will sing the main vocal part.
November 2013: The Norwegian singer Kari Bremnes and KB honoured
Edvard Munch as a writer in South Banks Purcell Room on 21
November at the London Jazz Festival. In Jazz Journal,
Michael Tucker writes: “Beautifully
measured, Bjørnstad’s classical touch and adagio-tinged phrasing
served many a lyrically turned open-voiced melody but there were
also some thunderous passages of clustered improvisation deep in
the bass register, during a violently expressive reading of
The Scream. Throughout, Bremnes’ lucid, soulfully pitched
phrasing delivered the direct and often very moving lyrics of
love and death, longing, belonging and loss with consummate
poetic understanding – and, where needed, controlled drama.
Warmly acknowledged by the two participants at one point, sound
man Sven Persson was very much the (unseen) third person of the
performance, his excellent work throughout enabling the audience
to relish a consistently arresting yet never overforced blend of
voice, lyric and piano in a thought-provoking program of
considerable dynamic range.”
November 2013: KB’s ECM production Sunrise gets critical
acclaim in Norway. In Nettavisen, Tor Hammerø gives five
stars and writes: “What a birthday present! Nobody can honour
Edvard Munch in a musical way better than KB and Kari Bremnes.
Nobody!” In Audiophile, Karl Erik Sylthe writes that the
cd “joins the ranks of KB’s huge range of good and interesting
music releases. Warmly recommended!” In Klassekampen,
Arvid Skancke-Knudsen writes that Sunrise is “succesful”
with “many strong elements”, and that KB’s piano-playing is
“delicate and detailed, smooth and full of fascinating
phrasing.” And in Romeriks blad, Rune Westergren also
gives five stars and writes that the work is “magnificent and
vital”. The international release will follow in March 2014.
November 2013: KB’s novel Ensomheten (Loneliness) gets
significant recognition among Norwegian critics. In
Adresseavisen, Ole Jacob Hoel writes that the book is
“musically tuned and painfully vulnerable … the protagonists
will be remembered long after the reading is finished.” In
Knutepunktet, Knut Gørvell writes that “KB has written one
of this Autumn’s strongest novels about adultery, passion and
the labyrinths of love. I have to admit that I am a great
admirer of KB. He is one of the very few authors in this country
who writes great and existential novels about the most important
aspect of life.” Tine’s blogg writes: “If you have liked
what KB has written before, you will love this. The language is
incredibly rich. I don’t know how he manages it.” Reading
Randi (giving five stars): “Well written, well
composed, cultured and engaging …exactly how a beautiful piece
of music should be composed.” And, finally, Rose-Maries
litteratur- og filmblogg (also giving five stars): “This is
one of KB’s best novels!”
August 2013: The Taiwanese publishing house Chiuku will publish
Til Musikken/To Music in a translation by Professor Thomas C. K.
Tseng early 2014.
August 2013: The French director Lionel Delplanque will start
the shooting of La Société des Jeunes Pianistes (To Music/Til
Musikken/Vindings Spiel) in April 2014 with a casting including
Charlotte Rampling, Christa Therét, Louis-Do de Lencquesaing and
August 2013: ECM has decided to release Sunrise in Norway 11
October 2013 in connection with the Edvard Munch 150th
Anniversary. The international release will follow early 2014.
Autumn 2013: KB on tour: Bakkenteigen 19 September (Munch & Solo
Piano). Haugesund 21 September (Munch & Solo Piano). Sunndalsøra 24
September (Munch w/Kari Bremnes). Ålesund 28 September (Soloppgang/Sunrise).
Tønsberg and Oslo 13 and 15 October (Munch reading w/ The
Norwegian Chamber Orchestra). Moster Amfi 20 October (Munch &
Solo Piano). Nes 21 October (Munch & Solo Piano). Asker 25
October (Munch & Solo Piano). Åsgårdstrand/Bakkenteigen 27
October (Munch Evening). Grue 2 November (Munch & Solo Piano).
Voksenåsen 3 November (Munch & Solo Piano). Tønsberg 4 November
(Munch & Solo Piano). Holmestrand 5 November (Munch & Solo
Piano). Sande 6 November (Munch & Solo Piano). Sarpsborg 7
November (w/ Ole Paus). Sarpsborg 8 November (w/ Terje Rypdal).
Sarpsborg 9 November (Soloppgang/Sunrise). Oslo Concert
House 14 November (Munch reading w/ Oslo Philharmonic
Orchestra). The Munch Museum 15 November (Munch reading w/ Oslo
Philharmonic Orchestra). Universitetets Aula 16 November (Munch
reading w/ Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra). London, Purcell Room 21
November (Munch w/Kari Bremnes). Berlin 24 November (Munch &
Solo Piano). Tokke 8 December (Munch w/ Kari Bremnes). Oslo,
Universitetets Aula 12 December (Soloppgang/Sunrise – Munch’s
150th birthday). Stockholm 13 December (Munch & Solo Piano).
June 2013: KB prepares for the printing of his new novel The
Loneliness to be published by Aschehoug Forlag on 9
September 2013. The novel will be the Book of the Month in
Litteraturklubben in September. A reprint of The Story Of
Edvard Munch is the Book of the Month in Den Norske
Bokklubben in June.
May 2013: La Notte (ECM) gets exceptional reviews. In the London Jazz News, Chris Parker writes that the “musicians
are also sensitive enough, when negotiating Bjørnstad’s more
restrained, graceful moments, to ensure that the truth of his
statement ‘visual art creates music in our minds, and music
creates pictures and visual expressions with the same
intensity’ is borne out throughout this consistently affecting,
sometimes downright mesmerising live performance.” The
Independent’s Nick Coleman writes that the ensemble is
“impressive” and in Dagbladet, Terje Mosnes gives the album
maximum rating and writes that the album has a kind of
“melancholic elegance” and has to be placed on the highest
possible level in KB’s discography.
April 2013: The Munch cantata Soloppgang is performed in
a sold out Oslo Cathedral 20 April. The CD album will be
released in Norway in October in connection with the 150th
Anniversary of Edvard Munch’s birth. The international
release will follow in 2014.
April 2013: ECM will release The Antonioni Project with
the new title La Notte.
March 2013: In connection with the Edvard Munch jubilee, KB is
touring with his concert lecture The Story Of Edvard Munch and
gets six stars in the newspaper Varden. Fredrik Nordahl writes
that the concert and the lecture are “outstanding”.
March 2013: Premiere of Otto Homlung’s new play
Tvillingsjeler about Gunvor Hofmo and Ruth Maier for
Riksteatret, starring Marit Østbye, Silje Storstein and Janne
Heltberg. Ketil Bjørnstad writes the music for solo piano.
Winter/Spring/Summer 2013: KB on tour: Løten 12 January (solo
piano), Sørum 29/30 January (solo piano) Stavanger, Fjaler,
Meløy, Sandnessjøen, Mosjøen and Fredrikstad, 26 February-3
March (solo piano). Lillestrøm and Os 7-8 March (solo piano).
Skien 14 March (solo piano). Bodø 20 March (with Svante
Henryson), Bodø 21 March (solo piano), Voss 22 March (with Kari
Bremnes). Lørenskog 9 April (solo piano) Fredrikstad (solo
piano) 13 April. Oslo, The Ibsen Museum, 14 April (solo piano).
Oslo domkirke/Cathedral 20 April (Soloppgang/Sunrise with
Munch koret, Solveig Andsnes, a.o.) Sandvika, Bergen, Stavanger,
Balestrand, Notodden 8-12 May (with Kari Bremnes).
Trondheim/Byneset 14 May (with Randi Stene), Tallin 23 May (solo
piano), Copenhagen 25 May (solo piano), Moss 1 June (with Kari
Bremnes), Leipzig 14 June (solo piano), Åsgårdsstrand 22 June
(with Kari Bremnes Band), Harstad 24 June (with Kari Bremnes
Band) Risør Chamber Music Festival 28-30 June (solo piano),
Skåtøy 14 July (with Anneli Drecker), The Barony, Rosendal, 18
July (solo piano), Grimstad , The Hamsun Days, 8 August (solo
piano). Oslo, Pianothon, 23 August (solo piano), Bjørkelangen 31
August (with Tore Brunborg and Jon Christensen).
December 2012: KB’s novel Verdens Ende (End of the world)
gets much attention and some very good reviews, both in major
newspapers, blogs and magazines in Norway. In Dagsavisen,
Turid Larsen writes that the book is “an observant and
reflective narrative that stretches toward the major life
issues.” In the BnB Magazine, Nina Aspen writes that “I
was touched, provoked and inspired, as only good literature is
able to.” Mari Nymoen Nilsen in Verdens Gang writes that
“Bjørnstad writes wisely and well, and sometimes with a vibrant
passion for language.” In Dagbladet, Maya Troberg Djuve
writes that Bjørnstad “Is reflecting on a good level.” The
magazine Det gode liv says that the novel is “Raw and
brutal, but sad and beautiful” and in the blog Knutepunktet,
the editor Knut Gørvell calls KB “Aksel Sandemose’s successor”.
He puts the book on the top of his “Best novels of 2012” list
and writes: “For me it was a huge experience to read End of
the world, and I was reminded of why I started reading ...
The great writers can touch you deeply, and KB does.”
November 2012: KB's new contemporary novel Verdens Ende (End
of the world) will be released by Aschehoug on November 19.
The book is also the Book of the Month in Bokklubben Nye
Bøker in January 2013. NRK journalist Marit Lie makes a
30-minute feature on KB for Bokprogrammet, shown first
time November 13.
October 2012: KB’s producer Manfred Eicher (ECM) has decided to
release The Antonioni Project in March 2013. The Edvard
Munch cantata Soloppgang will be released by ECM in
October the same year. A Passion for John Donne will be
released by ECM in March 2014.
May/June 2012: The ECM double cd Vinding's Music receives
glowing reviews. In The Independent Phil Johnsons writes
that the cds are “lovely” and “great”. And the English music
critic Robert Hutton writes that the first cd is: “A brilliant
set of music from an outstanding artist. ECM give Bjornstad a
fine, dry, transparent recording that is an honest and faithful
representation of his piano tone. Highly, highly recommended.
This must be among the very best solo piano recordings to come
along in many years.” In the Norwegian Nettavisen, Tor
Hammerø gives the albums 5 stars and says that the cd is “a
masterwork”. He calls the music “beautiful, heartfelt, melodic,
Summer/Autumn 2012: KB on tour: Hønefoss, Pettersens Kolonial 30
May (solo piano and cd recording), Tallinn 2 June (solo piano),
Bekkelaget kirke 10 June (Soloppgang with Nordstrand
Musikkselskaps kor), Melbu 7 June (solo piano), Nyksund brygge 8
June (solo piano), The Barony Rosendal 21 July (solo piano),
Canal Street Festival, Arendal 24 July (with Kari Bremnes),
Ystad 2 August (with Terje Rypdal), Warszawa 31 August (with
Tore Brunborg & Jon Christensen), Kolbotn (Kolben) 18 September
(with Ole Paus), Moster Amfi 23 September (solo piano), Røros
Literary Festival 28, 29 September (solo piano and reading),
Istanbul 11 October (with Terje Rypdal), Lørenskog 19 October
(with Ole Paus), Haugesund 27 October (solo piano), Grue 4
November (with Ole Paus), Gjøvik 15 November (solo piano),
Moscow 30 November (literary festival).
Spring 2012: KB’s novel Die Unsterblichen (De
Udødelige/The immortals) gets much praise in Germany. In
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Klaus Birnstiel writes that
it is “a great novel ... penetrating ... a sad and tragic book
you don’t forget.” In Figaro, Michael Hametner says that
KB is “a master of melancholy”, and in Neue Zürcher Zeitung,
J.F.K. writes that the novel is “a very topical story of a
Norwegian middle class family”.
April 2012: ECM will release the double album Songs From The
Alder Thicket. KB’s publishing house Aschehoug will at the
same time release the three novels about Aksel Vinding in one
volume. The music on the ECM-cd is closely related to the books.
Winter 2012: KB writes on a new, contemporary novel.
February 2012: KB and Oslo Kammerkor have reached agreement on a
cd-recording of Soloppgang in Rainbow Studio with the
original musicians and the singer Kari Bremnes in April 2012.
The cd will be released in 2013, during the one hundred and
fiftieth anniversary of Edvard Munch’s birth.
December 2011/January 2012: KB writes A Passion for John
Donne for the Oslo International Church Music Festival. It
will be performed in Sofienberg Kirke in Oslo on 16 March 2012.
The concert will also be recorded for a possible cd-release in
the future. KB collaborates with Oslo Kammerkor, conductor Håkon
Nystedt and percussionist Birger Mistereggen. Håkon Kornstad
both sings and plays saxophone.
November 2011: Release of KB’s book Belonging about the
famous Jarrett/Garbarek/Danielsson/Christensen-album from 1974
(ECM). The book is also a very personal document and a tribute
to Manfred Eicher, the musicians, the studio and ECM. In
Dagsavisen, Mode Steinkjær writes that these "very personal
reflections" could be even better than KB’s fiction, and he asks
him to write more about contemporary persons and matters. In
Aftenposten (February 2012), Vidar Kvalshaug writes that this
little book is KB’s strongest text in years.
12 November 2011: First performance of Soloppgang, with
text by Edvard Munch and music by KB at the Universitetets Aula,
in front of Munch’s famous painting. The concert was totally
sold out and many people didn’t get tickets. New performances
and a cd-recording are being discussed.
October/November 2011: Riksteateret’s re-production of the huge
success “Undset”, with Ellen Horn as Sigrid Undset. KB writes
19 October 2011: First performance of the musical Amanda fra
Haugesund at Haugesund Teater. KB’s music to Birgit Amalie
Nielssen’s play, casting Solveig Andsnæs, Jørgen Langhelle, Linn
Løvvik and Jon Eikemo, a. o.
October 2011: KB gets significant recognition for his book
Drømmemesteren on the Norwegian painter Bendik Riis
(1911-1988). During a seminar in Litteraturhuset, Oslo, KB
discusses the Norwegian psychiatric institution Gaustad Sykehus
about its right to put Bendik Riis in prison for six years, with
the prominent psychiatrist Ellen Hagemo, a.o. In Morgenbladet,
Tommy Olsson writes: “My respect for your (KB’s) work is
virtually limitless ... One will hardly remain unaffected when
one enters into this (book) ... It works in a trance-like
manner.” And in Vårt Land, the Cultural Editor Olav Egil Aune
writes: “Bjørnstad takes a white-hot confrontation with Gaustad
Hospital’s treatment of the painter Bendik Riis ...Glory, honour
and many thanks for a warm book about the cold.”
1 October 2011: KB plays outdoor solo piano for more than 12.000
people at the Jarasum International Jazz Festival outside Seoul,
Korea. He also records a solo piano live concert for Korean
Autumn 2011/Winter 2012: KB on tour: Nyksund Brygge 6 August
(solo piano), Fredrikstad 1 September (solo piano), Asker 18
September (with Tore Brunborg & Jon Christensen), Trondheim 22
September (solo piano), Korea 30 September-1 October (Television
concert and Jarasum International Jazz Festival – solo piano),
Köln 11 October (with Svante Henryson), Haugesund 27 October
(solo piano), Neuwied (with Terje Rypdal) 4 November, Karmøy
(with Ole Paus) 6 november, Mjøndalen 10 November (solo piano),
Oslo 12 November (First performance of Soloppgang at the
Universitetets Aula, under the “The Sun”-picture of Edvard
Munch), Gjøvik 16 November (solo piano), Oslo (with Kari
Bremnes) 22 November, Berlin, Hamburg, Bremen, Frankfurt 23-27
November (Lesung-tour). 2012: Kongsberg 18 January (solo piano),
Oslo, Torshov 19 & 26 January (solo piano), Langenau 11 February
(solo piano), Oslo 16 March (First performance of A Passion
for John Donne, with Håkon Kornstad (sax), Birger
Mistereggen (percussion) and Oslo Kammerkor, conducted by Håkon
Nystedt – Oslo International Church Music Festival), Lørenskog
12 April (with Kari Bremnes), Oslo 5 May (with Ole Paus at the
National Library), Rosendal Barony 21 July (solo piano), Arendal
25 July (with Kari Bremnes).
July 2011: KB completes Soloppgang (Sunrise), a cantata
written on the texts by Edvard Munch for Nordstrand
Musikkselskaps Kor, conducted by Egil Fossum. The cantata will
be performed at Universitetets Aula, Oslo, Saturday 12 November
2011, with Kari Bremnes (vocal), Aage Kvalbein (cello), Matias
Bjørnstad (sax) and Bjørn Kjellemyr (double bass).
May 2011: KBs three solo recitals at the Spoleto Festival in
U.S. is a huge success.
In Charleston City Newspaper T. Ballard Lesemann writes
that KB gives the piano ”a special sonic treatment”, also
writing that his technique was terrific, and “at times, it
sounded like three pianists playing simultaneously”. The critic
also praised the “gorgeous, refined moments of tenderness”. In
The Post And Courier, Jack McCray writes that KB kept the
“growing tradition” after Dave Brubeck and Horace Silver, a.o.,
intact: “His execution was flawless. He created moods that were
at once delightful and profound.” He compared KB with Chick
Corea, Keith Jarrett and Charles Lloyd, “bringing fresh
treatments to classic structures”.
April 2011: In a huge review in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung,
the author Peter Henning gives KB exceptional praise for his
Vinding-trilogy. He writes that the trilogy is impressive. “A
painful inner journey marked by the limits of love ... The story
is told over more than eleven hundred pages in sentences and
images of great poetry and, sometimes, of icy beauty.” Henning
writes that “Bjørnstad’s extensive self-portrait is completed as
a great narrative of a utopia that remains unfulfilled.” And he
concludes that KB “succeeds with a grand undertaking: portraying
the futility of trying to hold on to happiness.”
Spring/Summer 2011: KB on tour: Engø Gård 8 April (solo piano),
Lyngør Fyr 7 May (solo piano), Mai-Jazz Stavanger 13 May (with
Tore Brunborg & Jon Christensen), Spoleto Festival, Charleston,
USA 29-31 May (solo piano), Lørenskog kulturhus 3 June &
Junikveld Børli/Eidskog 5 June (both with Lill Lindfors),
Sunndal 21 June (with Terje Rypdal & Ole Paus), Elba, Italy 7
July (with Svante Henryson), Skåtøy 14 July & Engø 17 July (both
with Kari Bremnes), The Barony Rosendal 29 July (with Ole Paus).
April 2011: At last KB’s praised and very much demanded solo
albums from the eighties, Preludes I & II and
Pianology are once again becoming available on Hubro Records
on the double CD Early Piano Music.
April 2011: KB and Svante Henryson’s Night Song gets an
excellent review in All About Jazz by John Kelman. He
writes that “The ease with which Franz Schubert created a
substantive body of work that still rings true nearly two
centuries after the Austrian composer’s death at the age of 31,
is the stuff of legends, and while it might be hubris to
suggest, at this point, that Ketil Bjørnstad will be remembered
the same way, the Norwegian pianist’s career certainly bears
comparison in its seemingly effortless prolificacy.” Kelman also
writes that the album is “defined by stark simplicity.”
Bjørnstad’s “touch has never been more delicate or assured,” and
he concludes that “both Night Song and Remembrance
stand as career highlights amongst his extensive discography.”
February 2011: Ketil Bjørnstad’s novel “De Udødelige” hits the
Norwegian bestseller list and sparks a debate, partly due to the
controversial subject of the book: a man who feels overwhelmed
by the care needs of both his elderly parents and his grown-up
children. Anne-Grete Strøm Erichsen, Norwegian Minister of
Health and Care Services, meets Bjørnstad to discuss the issues
raised by the book on Norwegian radio and TV, and says that the
book addresses an important theme. In Dagsavisen Turid
Larsen writes that it is “a novel you don’t want to put down”,
and that the book is “a penetrating and well-defined picture of
comfortable Norwegian reality at the beginning of the 21st
century”. In Oppland Arbeiderblad Liv Romsås Bekkelund
writes that the book “grabbed this reader from the first page,
and maintained its grip until the final full stop”. Jan Askelund
of Stavanger Aftenblad writes that Bjørnstad “deserves
both gratitude and praise”. And in Aftenposten Vidar
Kvalshaug writes that Bjørnstad at his best has lived up to his
ideal of writing “the great European novel of ideas”. He also
writes that the book has a lot to offer to “Bjørnstad fans”.
January 2011: The ECM album “Night Song”, with Svante Henryson,
receives glowing reviews in the Nordic press. In the Swedish
newspaper Dagens Nyheter Martin Nyström compares the
music with a Franz Schubert sonata, and in his opinion the music
also has “an intriguingly close connection with Nordic folk
music”. In Dagbladet Terje Mosnes writes that “the music
is so sonorously and beautifully executed that it acquires a
sort of timelessness, rising above changing ideals of style and
genre. Quite simply superb music and sublime playing.” Tor
Hammerø writes in Nettavisen that “the collaboration of
Svante Henryson and Ketil Bjørnstad was one of last year’s top
festival experiences. Now the rest of the world will be able to
enjoy it, too.” According to Adresseavisen’s Trygve
Lundemo, “Bjørnstad’s piano and Henryson’s cello together are
greater than the sum of their parts.” And in Vårt Land,
Bjørn Olav Nordahl writes that “Night Song is at times radiantly
May 2011: KB gives 3 solo-concerts at the American Spoleto
Festival in Charleston, South Carolina, 29-30 May. (Cathedral
church of St. Luke and St. Paul.)
Winter/Spring 2011: KB on tour: Kalkmølla, Bærum 10 February
(with Jon Christensen and Tore Brunborg), Haugesund 11 February
(with Kari Bremnes), Kolbotn (Kolben) 29 March and Hov i Land 30
March (both with Kari Bremnes).
February 2011: KBs new novel De Udødelige (The Immortal) is
published by Aschehoug Forlag, Norway. It is already sold to
Suhrkamp/Insel Verlag, Germany. Bokklubben nye Bøker will
present the novel as their Book-of-the month in March 2011.
January 2011: Night Song with Svante Henryson released worldwide
by ECM. KB and Henryson will give a concert at Liljevalchs
Konsthall in Stockholm 7 March.
January 2011: KB visits the Hay Cartagena Festival in Colombia
Saturday 29 January (solo piano and author-interview).
November/December 2010: KB on tour: Berlin 3 November (Lesung).
Oberursel 4 November (Lesung with Moritz Stoepel). Fürth 6
November (Lesung). Nittedal 21 November (solo piano), Hamar 2
December (solo piano). Vilnius 14 December (solo piano).
Autumn 2010: KB on tour: Berlin 6 September (presenting the
German version of Damen i Dalen – Die Frau im Tal).
Nordhausen 7 September (Lesung), Köln 8 September (solo piano.
St. Mauritius Kirche). Sortland 15, Lørenskog 16, Ørsta 17 Stryn
18 and Sandvika 25 September (all with Lill Lindfors.) Tønsberg
25 September (Lecture about Oda Krohg). Madrid 27 September
(presenting the Spanish version of To Music). Kvinesdal
29 September (solo piano). Frankfurt Book-Fair, 6-8 October
(presenting Die Frau im Tal). Eidsvoll 16. October (solo
piano). Moster 24 October (solo piano). Notodden 26 October
(solo piano). Neuwied 29 October (solo Piano).
July 2010: KB and his powerful ensemble (Shepard, Lechner,
Mazur, Aarset, Andersen) got standing ovations after their
performance of The Antonioni Project at Molde Int.
Jazzfestival. The reviews gave unison praise to the musicians,
and in a huge and detailed review in All About Jazz,
John Kelman wrote about “the feeling of having been there
... in this very specific place, at this very particular point
in time.” The concert was recorded for ECM, and Kelman wrote
that the recording “will, no doubt, be a terrific one – perhaps,
even, the best recording of Bjørnstad’s career.”
July 2010: In a huge review in Le Monde, Nils C. Ahl
gives KB exceptional praise for his novel The River (L’appel
de la rivière). He writes that the novel is an excellent
sequel of To Music (La Société des Jeunes Pianists) and
concludes that it is a novel that makes you feel you don’t miss
anything. In Libération, Claire Devarrieux praises the
novels beautiful parts, and France TV 2 concludes that it is a
strong and beautiful novel about love, elevated by music.
July 2010: John Kelman from All About Jazz visits
Norway’s most famous jazz-festivals, and after KB and Svante
Henryson’s concert at Kongsberg Jazzfestival, where the duo for
the first time presented music from their upcoming Night
Song-album (ECM, January 2011), he wrote that it was “a
show that was largely gentle, occationally majestic and always
elegant ... Nearing 60, Bjørnstad continues at a pace that would
put many younger musicians to shame ... Henryson’s understated
passion created a dramatic undercurrent to Bjørnstad that made
their performance a trancendent experience.”
Summer 2010: Unison praise for Remembrance in German,
French, Italian, English and Canadian magazines and newspapers.
In Jazzpodium, Heribert Ickerott writes that it is
“klang- und formschönen Jazz-Kammermusik". In Daily Express,
Chris Pearson writes that the album is “exquisite, intriguing
and, in its quiet way, life-affirming,” In The Irish Times,
Ray Comiskey concludes that “it’s all undeniably lovely ... It
takes class musicians to bring off the artful simplicity of this
sumptuously melodic album.” And in Jazz Journal, Michael
Tucker writes: “Sometimes an album comes along that simply –
really – stops you in your tracks, that demands your attention
time and time again ... Many thank’s gentlemen.” In Jazzwise,
Stuart Nicholson writes that “it is an absorbing musical
journey.” And in All About Jazz, Dan McClenaghan
compares the album to Paul Motian’s Lost in a Dream, and
writes that Remembrance is “cool, spacious, unhurried,
Summer 2010: KB gives several concerts. Lillehammer
Litteraturfestival 27 May (with Kari Bremnes), Hay Festival,
Wales, 29 May (solo piano), Bergen Nattjazz 2 June (with Kari
Bremnes), Reine Festival, Lofoten, 4 June (solo piano), Vestfold
Festspillene, Åsgårdstrand, 6 June (solo piano) and the day
after (with Kari Bremnes). Rosendal Barony 19 June (with Lill
Lindfors), Tjuvholmen, Oslo, 20 June (with Lill Lindfors),
Sunndal 22 June (with Lill Lindfors), Hochneunkirchen, Austria,
25 June (solo piano), Kongsberg Int. Jazzfestival 8 July (with
cellist Svante Henryson), Dovre 12 July (solo piano), Molde Int.
Jazzfestival 21 July (Commisioned work, The Antonioni-project).
Augsburg 4 August (with Tore Brunborg and Jon Christensen).
Hamsun-dagene, Hamarøy, 6 August (solo piano) and Oslo
Jazzfestival, 21 August (night-concert with Tore Brunborg and
Jon Christensen in Oslo Domkirke).
April 2010: KBs new ECM-recording Remembrance, with drummer Jon
Christensen and saxophone-player Tore Brunborg gets very good
reviews in Scandinavian newspapers. In Sweedish Dagens Nyheter,
Johannes Cornell writes that the music has “a poetic closeness
to nature” and gives much praise to the trio. In Dagbladet,
Terje Mosnes gives the album top score and writes that the album
could become a classic, and in Dagens Næringsliv, Per A. Risnes
jr. compares Ketil Bjørnstad with Arvo Pärth, and writes that
the music has a timeless quality.
Spring 2010: KB works on The Antonioni-project, a commissioned
work for the Molde International Festival, in collaboration with
Manfred Eicher. ECM has earlier released albums connected to
Tarkovsky and Pasolini. KB will perform the music together with
Andy Sheppard (sax), Eivind Aarset (guitars), Anja Lechner
(cello), Arild Andersen (bass) and Marilyn Mazur (percussion)
the 21 July 2010.
March 2010: KB's novel
To Music (Til Musikken)
is longlisted for
The Independent Foreign Fiction Prize 2010.
Other nominees are Boris Akunin, Jonathan Littell & Philippe
Claudel. The book is translated by Deborah Dawkin and Erik
January 2010: In
Paul Binding praises
and writes that it is "a powerful novel" ... "a demonstration of
the price society demands for the recognition of all outstanding
Spring 2010: KB will give a few concerts in Norway, Germany,
England, France and Korea. He also writes on a new novel.
Winter 2009/2010: Remarkable attention for KB’s novel To
Music (Til Musikken) in England. In The Independent,
Tone Sutterud writes: “This is an enchanting tale of love and
death, desire and loss, about how parents and mentors manipulate
and ultimately fail the young people entrusted to them. Above
all, it’s a story of music written by a master in the field.” In
the Financial Times, the author Henry Hitchings writes:
“Bjørnstad diligently maps out a plot that’s charged with Gothic
intensity, as the creepy adults repeatedly forsake their
sensitive dependants. The main strength of the novel is its
evocation of the pathology of adolescent rivalry ... there are
moments of wiry drama and of psychological acuity.”
Christmas 2009: The producer Manfred Eicher edits KB’s new album
Remembrance (ECM) in Rainbow Studio. The album is
recorded together with the drummer Jon Christensen and the
saxophone player Tore Brunborg, and will be released worldwide
in spring 2010. The album Night Song (ECM) with the
Swedish cello player Svante Henryson will be released in
4 December 2009: KB performs Grace with Anneli Drecker in
St. Martin-in-the-Fields, London. He also performs at The
Norwegian Seamen’s Church the day after. 17 December he performs
with the Norwegian poet Ove Røsbak in Lillehammer.
December 2009: Lars Müller Publishers (Switzerland) release
Windfall Light – The Visual Language of ECM. KB contributes
with his essay about ECM, Manfred Eicher and his cd covers:
Landscapes and Soundscapes.
Autumn 2009: KB visits Germany 16 (Langenau), 17 (Ecquinox Music
Festival, Köln) and 18 September (Münster), playing both solo
piano and with Arild Andersen and Alex Riel (Köln). He will
perform in Sarpsborg with Ole Paus 24 September. 14 and 15
October KB will visit “Lettres du Monde” in Bordeaux, France,
and 17 October he gives a concert with Terje Rypdal at the
Istanbul Jazz-festival, Turkey. He gives two concerts in
Haugesund, Norway 23/24 October, one solo-recital in Purcell
Room, London, 27 October, Sandefjord 29 October, Larvik (With
Ole Paus) 3th November, Koblenz, Neuwied and Fürth (Germany)
5th, 6th and 7th November. Asker (Norway) with Randi Stene and
Lars Anders Tomter 11 November. Solo-piano in Hamm (Germany) 19
November. Moster, Horten, Asker and Lillestrøm with Lill
Lindfors, November/December 2009.
19 September 2009: Det Norske Teatret, Scene 2. ”Ikkje lenger
enn min kjærleik rekk”.
The Norwegian actor Jon Eikemo celebrates his 70th anniversary
with a new play about the Norwegian author and journalist Per
Sivle, written by Ola E. Bø/Jon Eikemo. KB has written the music
to the play. The Russian pianist Olga Konkova will perform the
music live on stage.
Summer 2009: KB gives an outdoor-concert in Kragerø 2
July, commemorating the 100th Anniversary of Edvard Munch's
arrival to the city in 1909, after his mental breakdown in 1908.
The concert was the city’s gift to its inhabitants. KB also
gives a solo piano concert at Baroniet Rosendal on 10 July, and
in Moss (with Lill Lindfors) on 14 August.
28 June 2009 “Hvalenes Sang” (“Song of the Whales”) is
performed at Oseberg Kulturhus, Tønsberg. Svein-Erik Tandberg
writes in Tønsberg Blad: ‘The Song of the Whales’ – an
engrossing oratorio in the style of a ballad … a powerful
musical and rhetorical testimonial to the complexity of life and
the human mind. This is an intriguing work of documentation,
featuring richly contrasting sound colours, uncomplicated
narrative, heartfelt poetry and visual impressions. An extremely
original interaction of brutality, nature mysticism and
Christian piety. At the core is Ketil Bjørnstad’s unique ability
to create beautiful melodies, and here he offers a wealth of
these. We predict that several of the melodies in this work will
live independent lives in the future, beyond the framework of
the piece as a whole. Here there are gems in abundance.”
Summer 2009: More remarkable attention for KB's novel Der Fluss
in Germany: In the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Anja Hirsch
writes that “Vindings Spiel was exciting, full of atmosphere and
instructive… In Der Fluss, KB consequently gives attention to
the deepest conflicts … And telling about the close connection
between sorrow and desire, he is also this time able to seduce
his reader.” In Kölner Stadtanzeiger, the author Peter Henning
writes that Der Fluss is “a great and upsetting novel.” And in
Sachsische Zeitung, Ulrich Steinmetzger writes that Der Fluss is
a novel about deep passion, and that it is KB's achievement to
find the right words for it.”
17 March 2009. Elke Heidenreich talks for the third time about
one of KBs books in her famous Lesen!-program
(litColony.de). She presents Bjørnstads novel Der Fluss (Elven)
and says it is “a brilliant, quiet, intense and profound
March/April 2009. KBs novel Damen i Dalen is reviewed in
Norways major newspapers. Jan Askelund of Stavanger Aftenblad
says that the novel is “thrilling Ketil Bjørnstad at his very
best. His best book ever.” Svein Johs Ottesen of Aftenposten
writes that the book is “a reading experience on the highest
level” and that “KB writes about music in a way that few other
authors are able to do.” Ole Jacob Hoel of Adresseavisen calls
the novel “a very good read”. In VG, Sindre Hovdenak praise the
book as “a full-blooded artist novel”. And in Dagbladet,
Cathrine Krøger says that “KB is professional. He knows how to
create a story.”
7 March 2009 in Dagsavisen, Damen I Dalen gets an
excellent review by Kjell Olaf Jensen. He writes that the last
volume of the Vinding-trilogy is both “thrilling, vivid and
entertaining.” Jensen specially values Bjørnstad's attempt to
describe life, love and self-analysis through music. More
reviews of this novel are expected to come.
Friday 13 March 2009 KB will attend the Leipzig
Bookfair, in Blüthner Klavierschule. He will read from the novel
Der Fluss and also play solo piano. The day before, he
gives a solo-concert at Schloss Landestrost outside Hannover. He
is also performing with Anneli Drecker and Lill Lindfors on
different concerts in Norway this spring. He will visit Germany
and Austria in April (Frankfurt 22, Oberursel 23, together with
Moritz Stoepel, and Innsbruck 25), playing solo-piano.
6 March 2009 the third novel about Aksel Vinding, Damen I
Dalen is published in Norway by Aschehoug. The publishing
house also invites to a release concert in Store Studio, NRK,
with KORK (The Norwegian Radio Orchestra) Friday 20 March,
presenting music from the trilogy. Jie Zhang will play Chopin
and Ravel, Gunilla Süssmann will play Debussy, Beethoven and
Rachmaninov. Christian Eggen is the conductor. He will also play
Mozart. KB will read and tell from the books. Both radio and
television will record the concert.
In January 2009, KB will record a new album for ECM together
with Svante Henryson. Manfred Eicher is the producer and the
duo-album has an expected release late Fall 2009 or winter
Sunday 28 June 2009 KB has been asked to compose the
commissioned work for the Vestfold Festspillene 2009. The
oratorium “Hvalenes Sang” (“Song of the Whales) will be
performed at Oseberg Kulturhus, Tønsberg with Anneli Drecker,
Svante Henryson, Bjørn Kjellemyr, Rune Arnesen, Bjørn Meyer
Charles, Sven Persson and Sjøbodkoret with Arne Næss, together
with the composer and two actors from Teater Ibsen.
January 2009 excerpts from Bjørnstad's 3CD solo-piano set
Rainbow Sessions is released by Universal Music.
Ketil Bjørnstad’s novel The River (Aschehoug 2007) is
currently being published in Denmark to glowing reviews. The
River was given a full-page review in Politiken, one
of Denmark’s major daily newspapers, 25 October 2008. Mette
Winge writes, “It is not without good reason that Ketil
Bjørnstad has been awarded the Prix des Lecteurs for To Music.”
She calls The River “a worthy successor”, and writes,
“Like To Music, The River is great literature –
sombre and uplifting at the same time.” Henriette Bacher Lind of
Jyllands-Posten, Denmark’s largest-selling daily
newspaper, writes: “As the musician he is, Ketil Bjørnstad
constructs his story very elegantly, like a musical composition,
repeating the same passages again and again in new ways.” She
concludes that the reader is “once again captivated by Ketil
Bjørnstad’s musical and expressive language”. And Eva Pohl of
Berlingske Tidende opens her review by commenting, “Waves of
drama sweep over the characters in Ketil Bjørnstad’s compelling
and psychologically insightful novel The River.” The
third volume of the trilogy about Aksel Vinding, The Lady of
the Valley, will be published in Norwegian in February 2009.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung has a very favourable review of
KB's "Oda" by Matthias Hannemann October 25. 2008. Hannemann
writes that the novel is very elegantly written, and that
KB shows all his musical talent in his work with the text. He
also praises KB for being trustworthy with all the biographical
Tom Stalsberg writes that KB's book "Kolbein Falkeid - Et
nærbilde" is a wonderful book about poetry, life and cosmos. Gro
Jørstad Nilsen of
says that KB gives a brilliant portrait of a wise poet.
23 September 2008, Ketil Bjørnstad was announced as the winner
of the prestigious French readers’ award "Prix des Lecteurs" for
his novel Til Musikken (La Société des Jeunes Pianistes).
This prize is awarded by a large jury composed of readers all
over France, who have read four books each month for an entire
year. They select one candidate every month as a finalist, and
then one of the twelve finalists is chosen as the winner. Ketil
Bjørnstad’s novel Til Musikken, competing with novels by
writers such as Paul Auster and Truman Capote, was the favourite
of the French readers. Previous winners include Carlos Ruiz
Zafón and Isabel Allende.
Ketil Bjørnstad presents a reading from his forthcoming novel
"To Music" (Maia Press 2009) and a solo piano performance at
Kings Place, 17 November 2008, during London Jazz Festival.
“The Light – Songs Of Love And Fair” (ECM) gets critical acclaim
both in Norway, Great Britain and in Germany. In the October
2008 issue of Gramophone, Richard Whitehouse writes: “Ketil
Bjørnstad has followed a distinctive creative course from
classical piano prodigy to jazz pianist and sui generis
composer, while not forgetting his success as a poet, lyricist
and novelist. They are attributes that puts one in mind of a
latter-day Leonard Cohen, and the song-cycles on this disc are
redolent of the Canadian master in their fastidious alignment
between words and music … listening of the deepest, most
thought-provoking kind.” In Jazzwise, Stuart Nicholson writes
that “Bjørnstad creates an album of wonderfully understated
passions … Once again his melodies allow the voice to invest
each word with rich, personal meaning in an album that, like so
much of Bjørnstad’s work, can not be easily set aside.” Ray
Comiskey of Irish Times writes that the album is “gorgeous”, and
in Norwegian DN, Trond Jensen compares the music of KB with
Gorecki and writes: “Always beautiful. And, at the same time,
KBs novel ”Oda” is getting great attention in German newspapers.
In his review for Züddeutsche Zeitung, Joseph Hanimann writes:
“We are happy to believe that this woman anticipated the liberal
masquerade between honesty and new pretence – a masquerade which
the author’s generation would enjoy to its fullest extent – by
almost a hundred years.” In Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Peter
Urban-Halle writes that KBs novel reminds him of the writing of
Per-Olov Enquist, but more sober, and without hysteria. In
Rheinischer Merkur, KB is praised by Ulrich Steinmetzger, who
writes that KBs novel is a sovereign piece of art.
Together with the Swedish cello-player Svante Henryson, KB is
expected to record a new album for ECM in January 2009. The two
musicians worked together on KBs “Seafarer’s Song” (Universal
2004) and have also given a recital at the Bath Festival.
KB was given the honour of writing the prologue for
Bjørnsonfestivalen – The Norwegian festival of international
literature – in Molde, August 2008.
The live-recording of “Coastlines” with Lill Lindfors (Canal
Street, Arendal 2007) will be released on Grappa (Norwegian
ECM-distributors) 24 November 2008.
A one-cd excerpt of KBs tripple-album “Rainbow Sessions” will be
released by EmArcy/Universal in 2009. The limited edition of the
tripple-box is sold out.
KB has delivered the third part of his trilogy about Axel
Vinding, starting with “Til Musikken” (2004) and “Elven” (2007)
to his publishing house Aschehoug. The novel, “Damen i dalen”,
will be published in Spring 2009.
KB is touring all over Norway Autumn 2008 (mostly solo piano).
He will also visit several German cities (Köln, Frankfurt,
Ludwigshafen and Oldenburg a. o.). He will play with Terje
Rypdal in Porto, Portugal, 26 October 2008. During the London
International Jazz festival, 17 November 2008, he presents a
reading from his forthcoming novel “To Music” (“Til Musikken”)
and solo piano performance at Kings Place, the iconic new
creative centre in Kings Cross.
Bokklubben (The norwegian Book-of-the-Month-club) makes a
re-launch of KBs novel “Oda!” from 1983, due to it’s 25th
anniversary, together with a re-release of his tripple-album
“Leve Patagonia” from 1978. The book and the cd’s will be
offered in October 2008, and KB
will perform “Sommernatt ved fjorden” at the “Bokfest” at the
new Norwegian Opera, 21 September 2008.
KBs portrait of the Norwegian poet Kolbein Falkeid “Kolbein
Falkeid – et nærbilde.
Den som ser i brønnen stirrer nedenfra.”, will be released by
CappelenDamm on 22 September 2008.
The book is a result of several interviews KB made with the 75
year old poet in his hometown Haugesund during 2007.
Life in Leipzig (KB and Terje Rypdal) is very well received,
getting 5 stars in many major newspapers. Mode Steinkjær in
Dagsavisen calls the recording a "first rate"-album,
"challenging, exciting, playful and sincere." Dagbladets Terje
Mosnes calls Terje Rypdal and KB "two of the most characteristic
voices in contemporary music". He also writes that the
concert-cd is "one of the most ecstatic celebrations of melody
and inspired romantic expressiveness ever made." In Bergens
Tidende, Hanne Farestvedt writes: "Intensely beautiful".
Ketil Bjørnstads novel "La Société des Jeunes Pianistes" "Til
Musikken) is nominated to the French "Prix des Lecteurs" 2008.
KB will perform his suite "The Light - Songs of Love and Fear"
with Randi Stene and Lars Anders Tomter at the "Les signes parmi
nous - Musik von ECM"-festival at Schloss Elmau, Sunday 25 May
2008. The trio will also give a cd-release concert at Logen,
during the Bergen Int. Festival on Wednesday 21 May 2008, and
perform the suite at Randi Stenes own festival "Sommersang" at
Ringve Museum, Trondheim, Friday 13 June, at the Barony in
Rosendal 4 July, and at Verdens Ende outside Tønsberg (early
morning open air concert) Sunday 6 July 2008.
KBs novel "Elven" (The River) was regarded as one of the best
books in 2007 by Norway's biggest newspaper VG. Gabriel Michael
Vosgraff Moro called the novel "a thrilling experience". (VG
19th December 2007)
In 2008, KB will be touring solo-piano and also visit Germany
for a "Lesung"-tour in April. His Novel ODA will be published by
Insel/Suhrkamp in February 2008.
The album "The Light - Songs of Love and Fear", with KB, Randi
Stene and Lars Anders Tomter, will be released by ECM in May
The album is produced by Manfred Eicher.
ECM will release a live-recording from Leipziger Jazztage 2005.
KB plays together with guitarist Terje Rypdal. The album is
planned for February/March 2008.
KB and Wolfgang Puschnig played in London at the London
International Jazzfestival 16 November 2007. KB has also given
many solo piano-concerts in Norway this autumn, and will play
with Arild Andersen and Alex Riel in Baden-Baden 30 November
KBs new novel "Elven" (The River) is the sequel of "Til
Musikken" and was released by Aschehoug 22 October 2007. It is
also "book-of-the-month" in Bokklubben Nye Bøker. The authour
Unni Lindell recommends the book strongly for the BnB-magazine
and says it is a book with an extraordinary literary quality. It
reminds her of her favourite novel "Juleoratoriet" by Göran
Tunström. In Adresseavisen Ole Jacob Hoel writes that the novel
is "highly recommendable" and even asks for a third book about
Aksel Vinding. In Dagsavisen, Gerd Elin Stava Sandve calls the
novel "a deep river - a dark stream of desire and passion". In
Aftenposten, the critic Svein Johs Ottesen regards the book as
one of KBs best novels ever.
KBs album "Devotions" (EmArcy) is very well received in European
newspapers and jazz-magazines. Rolf Thomas in german Jazzthetic
says it is a timeless album where everything is in tune. Terje
Mosnes in Norwegian Dagbladet gives it 5 stars and calls it "a
tribute to the melodic narration" and Olav Gorseth in Bergens
Tidende, also giving it 5 stars, calls it "elegant, melodic and
Canal Street Jazz & Blues-festival in Arendal, has asked Ketil
Bjørnstad to write a new piece for the 2007-festival.
"Coastlines" will be performed Tuesday 24 July with KB on piano
and Lill Lindfors (vocal), Nora Taksdal (viola), Svein Dag Hauge
(guitars), Arild Andersen (double bass) & Alex Riel (drums). The
day after, on Wednesday 25, KB will give an open- air concert
with Terje Rypdal (guitar) and Paolo Vinaccia (drums).
KB was given the honour of opening the Molde Int. Jazzfestival
in 2007 with a specially written prologue, reflecting on the
power of improvised music and the energy of the city during the
Together with Terje Rypdal, Ketil Bjørnstad will play the last
concert at the Molde Int. Jazzfestival 2007. Rypdal is Artist of
Recidence, and they will give a duo-concert in the Molde
cathedral, Saturday 21 July.
KB's latest novel "Til Musikken" (Vindings Spiel, etc) was sold
to the English publishers MAIA-press during the London Book-Fair
in April 2007. A GB-release of the book, which is also a
pocket-book at Suhrkamp Verlag in September 2007, is planned for
Ketil Bjørnstad participated in Elke Heidenreich's
Literatur-Gala in Cologne, 19 March 2007, reading from "Vindings
Ketil Bjørnstad was touring in Norway with Terje Rypdal in March
2007, visiting following places: Modum Bad (7), Kolben
Kulturhus, Kolbotn (8), Huset Brandbu (9), Ullensaker Jessheim
(10), Oseberg Kulturhus, Tønsberg (13), Grong Kulturhus (14),
Mo i Rana (15), Tysværtunet (18)
Ketil Bjørnstad recorded "The Light" (texts by John Donne) and
"Four Nordic Songs" (texts by KB), written by KB for Randi Stene
(mezzo soprano) and Lars Anders Tomter (viola) in Rainbow
Studio, February 2007. The release is not yet decided. The
trio's first album together "The Shadow", was a big success on
the KKV-label in 1990.
Ketil Bjørnstad gave a concert with his trio (Arild Andersen,
bass. Alex Riel, drums) in Nürnberg 14 February 2007.
The triple-album "Rainbow Sessions", where KB plays solo piano,
was sold out immediatly after the limited release of the box set
in January/February 2007, and got excellent reviews from many
countries. In Norway, jazz-critics Terje Mosnes (Dagbladet) and
Tor Hammerø (Nettavisen) both gave it 5 stars, together with a
very enthusiastic review by Johan Hauknes in the Norwegian
Jazznytt-magazine, comparing KB's music with Erik Satie. A
1-cd-version of the sessions is considered.
Ketil Bjørnstads new EmArcy-album "Devotions" was recorded in
Rainbow Studio in January 2007, with Wolfgang Puschnig on sax,
clarinet and flutes, Arild Andersen on double bass, Alex Riel on
drums and KB on piano. The album will be released during 2007,
starting with Italy, Austria and the Netherlands in the spring,
and Germany, England, Norway, Asia, etc in the fall. The quartet
will perform at the North Sea festival in Rotterdam 14 July 2007
The French translation of Ketil Bjørnstads novel Til Musikken
(La Société des Jeunes Pianistes) has got excellent reviews
in France. In Le Point, the former Goncourt-prize-winner
Jacques-Pierre Amette writes that the novel is "Tout simplement
superbe!" The novel has also got a very good review in Die Zeit
the 18 October 2006.
Together with his journalist-wife Catharina Jacobsen, Ketil
Bjørnstad is writing a book about the nerve-sanatorium Modum Bad
outside Oslo. The book is planned for release by Dinamo Forlag
Ketil Bjørnstads tripple-cd-box Rainbow Sessions is
released by Universal on the EmArcy label in November 2006. The
soundtrack is a tribute to the Rainbow Studio in Oslo and also
Bjørnstads first solo piano-recording since The Rosenborg
Tapes from 1998.
The sountrack to the film S@motnosc W Sieci, with music
by Bugge Wesseltoft and Ketil Bjørnstad, has been several weeks
at the top 10-chart in Poland, autumn 2006.
With guitarist Terje Rypdal, Ketil Bjørnstad is touring
Shetland, Gütersloh, Krefeld, Innsbruck, Vienna and
Schwäbish-Gmünd before Christmas 2006. Ketil Bjørnstad is also
giving solo piano-concerts at the Schwäbish Hall, Mandal, Berlin
(silent movie Terje Vigen) and Arendal, and performing
Grace with Anneli Drecker in Istanbul in the same period. He
will also give a gala-concert with the swedish singer Lill
Lindfors in Stockholm,18 December.
Ketil Bjørnstads novel Til Musikken (La Société des jeunes
pianistes) will be released in France on Editoins JC LATTÈS
in September. It has been selected by Virgin and FNAC stores as
a star book for this Fall, 2006.
Ketil Bjørnstad is touring with Terje Rypdal in Europe in
November and December 2006
This summer (2006), KB gave solo-piano concerts in Åsgårdstrand
and on the Barony in Rosendal in June. He also performed
Grace with Anneli Drecker at the Fjellfestivalen in
Åndalsnes and at the Canal Street-festival in Arendal in July.
He gave a trio-concert in Bodø during the Nordland Musikkfestuke
in August. The same month he also performed Kildens Bredd
together with Ole Paus in Fredrikstad.
Ketil Bjørnstad has delivered most of the music to Witold
Adameks film Loneliness In the Net (S@motnosc w Sieci)
based on the bestseller by Janusza L. Wisniewskiego. On the
soundtrack-cd from the film (Universal Music), he will appear
together with Bugge Wesseltoft.
Ketil Bjørnstads novel "Vindings Spiel" ("Til Musikken) got a
strong recommendation from the book-critic Elke Heidenreich in
Germany. In her "Lesen!"-program for ZDF (April 2006) she called
the novel: "... ein rundherum gut erzähltes, spannend erzähltes,
einfühlsames, perfektes Buch. Das könnte Ihr Frühjahrsbuch
werden." The novel reached the bestselling-list of both Stern
and Der Spiegel shortly afterwards.
After Ketil Bjørnstads concert in Queen Elizabeth Hall in London
22 March 2006, John Fordham from The Guardian called the music "exquisite"
and wrote that "Seafarer's Song" had "a gripping eloquence". And
after the concert in Edinburgh the day before, Rob Adams from
The Herald wrote that it was "a work of major ambition carried
off with considerable skill". BBC broadcasted the concert from
Ketil Bjørnstad is invited to "Europa der Mutterspracen" in
Salzburg 18 and 19 May 2006, both as an author and with his trio
(Arild Andersen, Alex Riel)
Ketil Bjørnstad is participating together with Randi Stene (mezzosoprano)
in a performance of his "Messe For En Såret Jord" (KKV) in
Sandefjord 30 April 2006.
Ketil Bjørnstad is touring Austria and Germany, due to Suhrkamp/Insel
Verlag's release of his latest novel "Vindings Spiel" ("Til
Musikken"). He will visit Wien, Berlin, Leipzig, Rostock, Kiel,
Frankfurt and Stuttgart from 20 to 26 April 2006.
Ketil Bjørnstad is touring with CMN (contemporary Music Network)
from 19 to 25 March 2006, visiting Gateshead (Sage) ,
Manchester (Royal Northern College of Music), Edinburgh (Queens
Hall), London (Queen Elisabeth Hall), Bristol (St. Georges),
Birmingham (CBSO Centre) and Southampton (Turner Sims Concert
Hall). He will present music from his albums "Before the light",
"Floating" and "Seafarer's Song" together with Kristin
Asbjørnsen (vocal), Eivind Aarset (guitar), Arild Andersen
(double-bass), Svante Henryson (cello) and Alex Riel (drums).
Andy Sheppard (saxophone) is "Special Guest Star".
Ketil Bjørnstad gives a duo-concert with the Swedish singer Lill
Lindfors in Ålesund 11th. of March 2006.
Ketil Bjørnstad's youth-opera IZZAT has it's premiere at
Den norske Opera (The norwegian Opera) Friday 3 March 2006. The
libretto is written by the Norwegian poet Gro Dahle. All musical
arrangements by Svein Dag Hauge (LAVA). Director: Terje
Ketil Bjørnstad is touring with Palle Danielson & Alex Riel in
Germany from 12 to 17 February 2006, visiting Regensburg,
Neunkirchen, Heidelberg, Darmstadt, Frankfurt & München.
Ketil Bjørnstad gives a solo piano recital in the new culture
house in Arendal 9 February 2006.
Ketil Bjørnstads book on Liv Ullmann ”Livslinjer (Lifelines)”
is regarded one of the best books of the year (2005) by
Aftenpostens film critic Per Haddal. The book is so far sold
to Germany (btb - Random House), Denmark, Russia, Hungary, Chech
Republic and Estonia.
Ketil Bjørnstad is getting excellent reviews for his trio-album
FLOATING. Mojo calls it “a beauty” . Jazzwise
says it is one of KB’s best albums ever. Adresseavisen
calls it the best cd of the year.
Ketil Bjørnstad's non-fiction novel "Flammeslukeren" (Ole Bull -
en livshistorie) about the norwegian fiddler Ole Bull
(1810-1880) is getting excellent review by the historian Yngvar
Ustvedt in Norway's biggest daily newspaper VG (October 2005).
KETIL BJØRNSTADs latest recording FLOATING will be released on
EmArcy (Universal) 12 September 2005 in Norway, and later this
autumn in other countries - featuring Palle Danielsson on double
bass and Marilyn Mazur on drums & percussion. He will be touring
in Norway in September 2005 - Sortland 15., Trondheim 16. and
Oslo 17. Alex Riel will play instead of Marilyn Mazur on that
KETIL BJØRNSTAD is collaborating both with Kjell Kalleklev
Management and Bremme-Hohensee in Germany about touring in other
countries. A.O. Innsbruck and Marburg in October.
KETIL BJØRNSTAD will play in Nürnberg with the norwegian
singer Kari Bremnes 29 September and will have a reading in
Nürnberg Litteraturhaus the day before.
KETIL BJØRNSTAD will release his biographical novel
FLAMMESLUKEREN (The Fire- Eater) about the fiddler Ole Bull
(1810-1880) in Bergen 17 October together with the norwegian
violinist Arve Tellefsen.
KETIL BJØRNSTAD will play with Terje Rypdal in Cork, Ireland, 29
KETIL BJØRNSTAD will give a lecture on Edvard Munch at Royal
Academy in London 19 November. Arcadia Books is also publishing
their B format edition of The Story of Edvard Munch at the same
KETIL BJØRNSTAD is writing a biography on the norwegian actress
and director LIV ULLMANN for Aschehoug & co, called LIVSLINJER
(Lifelines). The book will be released in November 2005.
KETIL BJØRNSTAD gave a duo-concert with the Swedish cellist
Svante Henryson at the Bath festival in June 2005.
KETIL BJØRNSTAD played with Terje Rypdal in Warszawa in July
KETIL BJØRNSTAD is The Arts Councils "Contemporary Music
Network-artist" in England, March 2006
BJØRNSTAD was in Hamburg in November 2004, choosing a new
Steinway Grand (model D) for the new Rainbow Studio in Oslo,
together with sound-engineer Jan Erik Kongshaug. KETIL BJØRNSTAD
will use the same studio and instrument for his new
trio-recording for Emarcy/Universal in May 2005. The album will
be released in the autumn 2005.
BJØRNSTADs latest novel "Til Musikken" (An die Musik/To the
music) was released in Norway in August 2004, and is so far
sold to Denmark, Holland and France.
BJØRNSTADs next concert will be with Anneli Drecker (Grace) on
Svalbard/Spitsbergen 29 January 2005
BJØRNSTAD will be playing and reading from his latest novel in
Germany, "Villa Europa" (Insel/Suhrkamp) in Rostock, Frankfurt
and Langenau, from 20 to 22 January 2005
BJØRNSTADs album "Before The Light" (November Music, Taiwan)
will be re-released by EmArcy/Universal in February 2005