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Born: 25 April 1952 in Oslo.


Piano-studies with Amalie Christie and Professor Robert Riefling, Oslo. Further studies in London and Paris.


Debut January 1969 with Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra (Bartok pianoconcerto nr. 3). Experimental music with the avant-garde group Svein Finnerud Trio in 1971 and with the Norwegian singer/author Ole Paus. Different performances with jazz and rock musicians 1971-1973. First album with own music released by Philips/Phonogram 1973, with Jon Eberson (g),  Arild Andersen (b) and Jon Christensen (d), produced by Svein Erik Børja.


Debut as author in 1972 with poems on Aschehoug. His books are translated to Danish, Swedish, German, Dutch, Finnish, English, French,  Czech, Polish, Korean, Russian, Bengali, Greek and Turkish.


Ketil Bjørnstad received the Norwegian language prize "Riksmålsprisen" for his novel "Nåde", and he received the Norwegian Grammy award "Spellemannsprisen" for "Berget det blå".


"Winner of the French Prix des Lecteurs in 2008".


Ketil Bjørnstad has been touring in Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Iceland, United Kingdom, US, Canada, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Poland, Hungary, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Latvia, Japan, Taiwan, China, Bangladesh, India and Colombia - alone and with groups.


Jazz festivals: London, Frankfurt, Nancy, Vienna, Kongsberg, Molde, Montreal, Shanghai, Warszawa and others.


 Literary festivals: Hay-on-Wye, Bjørnson-festivalen, Undset-dagene.


Music- and literary critic for Aftenposten  between 1972 and 1998


Plays: "Ildlandet" (musical) directed by Bentein Baardson,

Den nationale Scene, Bergen, Norway, 1984

"Forestillinger", directed by Britt Lossius, Haugesund Teater, Haugesund, Norway, 1997

"Spill", directed by Edith Roger & Barthold Halle, Teater Ibsen, Skien, Norway, 1995

Ballett: "Minotauros" for The Norwegian Ballet, The Norwegian Opera, Oslo, Norway, 1997


Music for films:

Jean Luc Godard:"Forever Mozart" (1996)

Jean Luc Godard: "Museum of Modern art" (1999)

Jean Luc Godard: "Eloge d’amour" (2001)

Jean Luc Godard: "Histoire(s) du Cinéma" (1999)

Jean Luc Godard: "The Old Place" (1999)

Jean Luc Godard: "Notre Musique" (2004)

Anne Marie Mieville: "Nous sommes tous encore ici" (1997)

Lea Pool: "Emporte moi" (1999)

Haakon Sandøy: "Engler i sneen" (1983)

Trond Aurvaag/Iram Haq: "Trofast" (2004)

Ken Loach: "Ae Fond Kiss"

Witold Adamek: Samotnosc W Sieci (2006)



Collaboration with the producer Erik Hillestad for KKV since 1989 (The Shadow), and with Manfred Eicher/ECM since 1993 (Waterstories). Duo with American cellist David Darling (The River). Quartet ("The Sea") with Terje Rypdal (g), Jon Christensen (d), David Darling (c). Duo with Terje Rypdal since 1999.


Literary Agent: Aschehoug Agency

Musical Management: Kjell Kalleklev


Ketil Bjørnstads works are published by the following publishing houses:

Aschehoug, Norway

Gyldendal, Norway

Cicero, Denmark

Trevi (Forum), Sweden

Norsteds, Sweden

WSOY, Finland

Suhrkamp/Insel, Germany

Arcadia, England

Maia Press, England

Signature, The Netherlands

JC Lattès, France

Polis, Greece

Munhakdongne, Korea

KompasGid, Russia,

NLN, Praha, Czech Republic

Random House, Germany

Wydawnictwo Slowo, Poland

Sandesh, Bangladesh

JP Libros, Spain

Chiuku, Taiwan




Alene ut (poetry) 1972 (Aschehoug)

Nærmere (poetry) 1973 (Aschehoug)

Nattsvermere (novel) 1974 (Aschehoug)

Kråker og Krigere (novel) 1975 (Aschehoug)

Pavane (novel) 1976 (Aschehoug)

Vinterbyen (novel) 1977 (Aschehoug)

Landet på andre siden (novel) 1979 (Aschehoug)

Bingo (novel) 1981 (Aschehoug)

Oda! (novel) 1983 (Gyldendal)

Det personlige motiv (novel) 1985 (Aschehoug)

G-moll-balladen (novel) 1986 (Gyldendal)

Oppstigning fra det usynlig (novel) 1988 (Aschehoug)

Stormen (novel) 1989 (Aschehoug)

Skumringsmulighetene (novel) 1990 (Aschehoug)

Villa Europa (novel) 1992 (Aschehoug)

Historien om Edvard Munch (novel) 1993 (Gyldendal)

Barnevakt (novel) 1994 (Aschehoug)

Spill (play) 1995 (Aschehoug)

Blåmann (collected music) 1995 (Aschehoug)

Drift (novel) 1996 (Aschehoug)

Drømmen om havet (novel) 1996 (Aschehoug)

Veien til Dhaka (novel) 1997 (Aschehoug)

Nåde (novel) 1998 (Aschehoug)

Reisen til Gallia (essays, with Ole Paus) 1998 (Stenersen)

Fall (novel) 1999 (Aschehoug)

Ludvig Hassels tusenårsskifte (novel) 2000 (Aschehoug)

Jæger (novel) 2001 (Aschehoug)

Mannen som gikk på jorden  (collaboration with Lage Fosheim and Torstein Bieler) (novel) 2002 (Gyldendal)

Tesman (novel) 2003 (Aschehoug)

Til Musikken (novel) 2004 (Aschehoug)

Flammeslukeren - (Ole Bull, en livshistorie) 2005 (Aschehoug)

Liv Ullmann - Livslinjer 2005 (Aschehoug)

Historier om sårbarhet (with Catharina Jacobsen) 2007 (Dinamo Forlag)

Elven (novel) 2007 (Aschehoug)

Kolbein Falkeid - et nærbilde. 2008 (Cappelen Damm)

Damen i Dalen (novel) 2009 (Aschehoug)

De udødelige (novel) 2011 (Aschehoug)

Drømmemesteren - Bendik Riis 2011 (Aschehoug)

Belonging - 2011 (Falck Forlag)

Verdens Ende (novel) 2012 (Aschehoug)

Ensomheten (novel) 2013 (Aschehoug)

Veien til Mozart 2014 (Aschehoug)

Sekstitallet (novel) 2015 (Aschehoug)

Syttitallet (novel) 2016 (Aschehoug)




Åpning (1973) Philips

Berget det blå (1974) Philips

Tredje dag (1975) Philips

Lise Madsen, Moses & de andre (with Ole Paus) (1975) Zarepta

Finnes du noensteds ikveld (1976) Philips

Selena (1977) Philips

Musikk for en lang natt (with Sigmund Groven) (1977) Polydor

Leve Patagonia (with Cornelis Vreeswijk, Lill Lindfors, etc) (1978) Philips

Svart Piano (1979) Philips

Tidevann (1980) Philips

Och människor ser igen (with Lill Lindfors) (1980) Metronome

30-års-krigen (with Stavangerenseblet) 1981 Philips

Engler i sneen (1982) Philips

Bjørnstad/Paus/Hamsun (1982) Slagerfabrikken

Aniara (with Lindfors/Fristorp) (1983) Slagerfabrikken

Mine dager i Paris (1983) Slagerfabrikken

Preludes vol. 1 (1984) Uniton/Hermitage

Människors makt (with Lill Lindfors) (1985) Slagerfabrikken

Natten (with Sissel I. Andersen) (1985) Slagerfabrikken

Preludes vol. 2 (1986) Uniton/Hermitage

Three Ballets (1987) Uniton/Hermitage

Karen Mowat-suite (1988) Hot Club Records

The Shadow (with Randi Stene) (1990) KKV

Odyssey (1991) KKV

Rift (with Anne Grete Preus, Jørn Hoel, Lynni Treekrem, etc)  (1991) Slagerfabrikken

Messe for en såret jord (with Randi Stene and Lars Anders Tomter) (1992) KKV

Løsrivelse (with Kari Bremnes) (1993) KKV

Water Stories (with Rypdal/Christensen/Hillestad/Kjellemyr) (1993) ECM

For den som elsker (with Frøydis Armand) (1994) KKV

Sanger fra en klode (with Per Vollestad) (1995) Grappa

Salomos Høysang (with Lill Lindfors & Tommy Nilsson)(1995) KKV

The Sea (with Rypdal/Christensen/Darling) (1995) ECM

Haugtussa (with Lynni Treekrem) (1996) KKV

The River (with David Darling) (1997) ECM

Reisetid (1997) Grappa

The Sea II (1997) ECM

Ett Liv (with Lill Lindfors) (1998) KKV

The Rosenborg Tapes vol. 1 (1998) Tylden & co

The Rosenborg Tapes vol 2. (1999) Tylden & co

Himmelrand - Tusenårsoratoriet (with Stein Mehren) (1999) BMG

Epigraphs (with David Darling) (2000) ECM

Grace (2001) Universal

Old (2001) Universal

The Nest (2003) Universal

Seafarer’s Song (2004) Universal

Floating (2005) Universal

Samotnosc W Sieci (soundtrack w/ Bugge Wesseltoft) (2006) Universal Poland

Rainbow Sessions (2007) Universal

Devotions (2007) Universal

Life in Lepizig (2008) ECM

The Light - Songs of Love and Fear (2008) ECM

Coastlines (with Lill Lindfors) (2008) Grappa

Remembrance (with Tore Brunborg and Jon Christensen) (2010) ECM

Hvalenes Sang (oratorium with Anneli Drecker and others) (2010) Grappa

Night Song (2011) ECM

Early Piano Music (2011) Hubro/Grappa

Vindings Music (2011) ECM

La Notte (2013) ECM

Sunrise (2013) ECM

A Passion For John Donne (2014) ECM

Frolandia (with Ole Paus) (2015) Grappa

Bartok/Debussy/Ravel (2015) Grappa

Shimmering (2015) Grappa

Images (2015) Grappa

Sanger om tilhørighet (2016) Grappa





Ketil Bjørnstad lives in Oslo

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