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).
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,
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.
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.
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.
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”.
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.”
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).
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: 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,
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.
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
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.
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.”
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
January 2009 excerpts from Bjørnstad's 3CD solo-piano set
Rainbow Sessions is released by Universal Music.
“The Light – Songs Of Love And Fair” (ECM) gets critical acclaim
both in Norway, Great Britain and in Germany. In the 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,
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.
24 November 2008
The live-recording of “Coastlines” with Lill Lindfors (Canal
Street, Arendal 2007) will be released on Grappa (Norwegian
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.
EmArcy label in November 2006. The soundtrack is
Life in Leipzig (KB and Terje Rypdal) and 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." Dagbladet’s 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
The album "The Light - Songs of Love and Fear", with KB, Randi
Stene and Lars Anders Tomter, was released by ECM. The album is
produced by Manfred Eicher.
ECM released a live-recording from Leipziger Jazztage 2005. KB
plays together with guitarist Terje Rypdal.
KB’s album "Devotions" (EmArcy) was 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, calling it "elegant,
melodic and poetic jazz".
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. The trio's first album together with "The Shadow” was a
big success on the KKV-label in 1990.
The triple-album "Rainbow Sessions", where KB plays solo piano,
was sold out immediately 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 Bjørnstad’s 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 was released in 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
Ketil Bjørnstad’s triple-cd-box Rainbow Sessions is
released by Universal as a tribute to the Rainbow Studio in Oslo
and is also Bjørnstad’s 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.
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 appeared
together with Bugge Wesseltoft.
3 March 2006
Ketil Bjørnstad's youth opera IZZAT had it's premiere at
Den norske Opera (The Norwegian Opera). The libretto is written
by the Norwegian poet Gro Dahle. All musical arrangements by
Svein Dag Hauge (LAVA). Director: Terje Hartvigsen.
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 BJØRNSTADs latest recording FLOATING was released on
EmArcy (Universal) 12 September in Norway, and later this autumn
in other countries - featuring Palle Danielsson on double bass
and Marilyn Mazur on drums & percussion. He was touring in
Norway in September 2005 - Sortland 15, Trondheim 16 and Oslo 17
Alex Riel will play instead of Marilyn Mazur on that tour.
KETIL BJØRNSTADs album "Before The Light" (November Music,
Taiwan) was re-released by EmArcy/Universal