December 2021: Downhill – an obsession (Downhill – en besettelse) gets 5/6 stars in Nettavisen, by Tor Hammerø: “Slalom, Ketil! (…) Surprising, different and in many ways in Bjørnstad's jazz spirit. Bjørnstad has gone to work with his usual commitment and desire to get below the surface. … A great book in a mix of a novel, conversation and fact book and Ketil Bjørnstad surprises and impresses once again.” He continues: “The description of how the relationship between the two has grown is moving - especially where "sports journalist" Bjørnstad asks questions that make Vickhoff Lie say that ‘I have never thought about it before.’ Bjørnstad goes deeper than his "colleagues" in the sports press and many will have a lot to learn from his approach to the interview subject.”
November 2021: Rockefeller Music Hall in Oslo announces that KB will give a solo-piano-concert 4 May 2022, due to his 70th anniversary 25 April. The concert will be followed by solo-concerts all over Norway and hopefully also in Germany and other countries. Several concerts will be planned continuously. Grappa Musikkforlag also releases the CD / DVD New Morning (Live from Sentralen, Oslo, April 2020), a live recording where Bjørnstad shows completely new sides of himself as a pianist. The musical content of the planned concerts is a repertoire from Bjørnstad's entire musical career, but also new compositions and improvisations. Since Bjørnstad also celebrates his 50th anniversary as a writer in 2022, Aschehoug publishes Sommernatt ved fjorden - Kjærlighetsdikt gjennom 50 år (Summer night by the fjord – Love poems through 50 years) at the same time, with selected pictures by the painter Gro Mukta Holter.
November 2021: KB is asked by the Fartein Valen festival to convey his interpretation of the poem "Kirkegården ved havet - (Le Cimetiere marin)" by Paul Valéry in a concert production to be performed in Haugesund Concert House 27 April, 2022. Valéry was born in Séte on the Mediterranean coast. Here is a cholera cemetery on a ridge above the city. Valéry wrote the poem in 1922 and it was translated into many languages. The festival writes: “We contribute to the 100th anniversary of the poem, at the same time as we wish to bring out the topicality in it. Fartein Valen made his tone poem Kirkegården ved havet in 1933-34, and it is our intention to create a meeting place for different artistic expressions from different times. What is it like to be a human being? In our view, this is a way to get behind the notes of Valen's music, and it gives us a deeper understanding of the poem. KB has called his composition "Sanger ved havets begynnelse (Songs at the beginning of the sea)" and he brings with him the singer Solveig Andsnes, the fiddler Nils Økland and the percussionist Rune Arnesen.”
November 2021: KB in Propeller studio with Anneli Drecker for a new duo-recording. Poems by Lars Saabye Christensen. More details about the upcoming album next year.
November 2021: KB launches Downhill – an obsession in collaboration with the downhill and Super G-skier Kajsa Vickhoff Lie. Aschehoug writes: “The Corona winter 2020/2021, Ketil Bjørnstad had to cancel all his concerts in Europe. What should he do then? For years he has had a secret passion for alpine and speed disciplines downhill and Super G. He notices the phenomenal talent Kajsa Vickhoff Lie, who is fighting in the world top after winning three golds in the Junior World Championships. The winter season is dramatic, and when Vickhoff Lie gets on the second place in the death track in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Bjørnstad writes a poem about her. When she later hurts herself badly in Val di Fassa, he sends her the poem. A dialogue across generations, and a book project about what Kajsa calls "the passions in a life, regardless of adversity" takes shape. Downhill - an obsession is written in the span between sport and culture, triumph and disaster, anticipation, fear and feasibility. At the same time, the book is a close-up portrait of one of the world's best alpinists.
November 2021: KB publishes his first collection of poems on Aschehoug since 1973, Båt på fjorden (-Boat on the fjord.)
Autumn 2021: KB on very limited tour in Norway (all concerts in Europe cancelled because of the corona situation): Kalvøya, Oslo (solo piano) 5 September, Stavanger (Premiere of the rock-opera Tredveårskrigen ¬- The Thirty Years' War, 40 years after the double album was released, with Frode Rønli, Alf Terje Hana, Reidar Larsen, Jørun Bøgeberg and Rune Arnesen, a.o,) 16 September, Lom (solo piano) 19 September, Horten (solo piano) 24 September, Lambertseter gård (solo piano) 26 September, Troldhaugen, Bergen (solo piano) 3 October, Molde, Kristiansund, Ålesund (reading and solo piano) 12, 13, 14 October, Skarnes (Glomma festival – solo piano) 25 October.
June 2021: Flagstad, The Opera finally has its world premiere in Hamar Kulturhus 13 June 2021 at the same time as the CD / DVD release. The reception is brilliant. In Aftenposten, Mona Levin writes about the premiere: “Birgitte Christensen makes a beautiful effort in the role of Flagstad. She seems completely engrossed in the role of a woman in the grip of pain and hell. The voice is not different from Flagstad's own - open, large and even throughout the register, with beautiful highlights. Physically she is ravaged and gray, but the memories give her an inner light. The resemblance to Flagstad is striking” And in Klassekampen, Magnus Andersson writes about the CD / DVD: “… Bjørnstad's melodic beautiful and idyllic world of sound can really fit well, without the requirement to recreate the sound of the great opera singer. At the same time, the music has a lot of Wagner in it. The surface consists of a constant flow of music that always serves the text, almost as if this could be a spoken drama - the arrangement is effective, and in Bjørnstad's words, 'Stefan Ibsen Zlatanos is absolutely brilliant in the way he has arranged my simple handwritten score for chamber ensemble.'”
Spring, Summer 2021: KB on very limited tour in Norway: Haugesund (solo piano) 1 June, The Barony, Rosendal (solo piano) 29 July.
November 2020: KB’s new opera Flagstad – an Opera (libretto by Einar Björge) is postponed to 2021, due to a corona outbreak at The Norwegian Opera. But the dress-rehearsal on 5th November was recorded and will be released on DVD and CD by Simax in March 2021. The main role is sung by Birgitte Christensen (Teodor Currentzis, René Jacobs, a.o.)
Autumn 2020: KB on corona-limited tour: Oslo, Rockefeller (Bokbadet, with Anne Grosvold, Guro Kleven Hagen, Kristin Asbjørnsen and Håkon Kornstad) 16 September, Lillestrøm (solo piano) 16 September, Kongsberg (solo piano) 23 September, Kolben (solo piano) 15 October, Trondheim (solo piano) 29 November, Bergen (solo piano) 8 December, Ogna (solo piano) 9 December.
September 2020: Lofotoratoriet, with Marianne Beate Kielland as soloist and conductor, is released on LAWO. In Ballade.no, Maren Ørstavik writes that it is an “impressive work that keeps the attention throughout the hour it lasts.” Trond Erikson in Den klassiske cd-bloggen gives the release five stars and writes that “Lyrics and music are carefully sewn together – and the end result is a cultural journey.” In Music Web International, Göran Forsling writes that “Marianne Beate Kielland is not only one of today’s foremost mezzo-sopranos, but since 2009 she also has her own women’s choir, Lofoten Voices, comprised of local amateur and professional singers.” He concludes that the oratorio is “a declaration of love to Lofoten, and all involved have done a great job to carry it through. The music is easy to love, very often beautiful without being sugary, former and prospective visitors to Lofoten should snap it up without delay and others may also be persuaded to visit this arctic jewel after hearing this disc.” He also writes that the last psalm “is achingly beautiful and the tune remains in my head a long time after the music has stopped.”
August 2020: KB finishes his sixth and last volume of Verden Som Var Min – Siste tiåret (The last ten years). In Nettavisen Tor Hammerø gives 6 stars and writes: “this is a masterpiece that will stand as a highlight in Bjørnstad’s authorship and Norwegian contemporary literature.” In Adresseavisen Ole Jacob Hoel writes that “The marathon man keeps the style right up to the finish line … The World I Used To Know (Verden Som Var Min) remains as a unique book series … What separates Bjørnstad’s series from Knausgård’s My Struggle is the dynamic between the little story and the big one.” In VG, Guri Hjeltnes writes: “This is Ketil Bjørnstad’s Tour de force!”, and in BOK365.no, Vidar Kvalshaug concludes: “KB is putting an end to his life’s work this autumn. It is a huge achievement. If you have not yet read The World I Used To Know, you know what you have to do this summer.” (The books have so far sold close to 200.000 copies.)
May 2020: The Personal Gallery gets some glowing reviews. In Nettavisen, Tor Hammerø writes that “This release will never be forgotten. Never!” In Wulf’s Music, Wulf Müller writes: “I can’t stop listening to this very unique album.” And in Klassekampen, Egil Baumann writes that Hagen “brushes out melodies with a slim and exquisite tone” and that the album is “fine tuned music”.
April 2020: The album release of The Personal Gallery with Guro Kleven Hagen.
April 2020: KB prepares the sixth and last volume of the Verden Som Var Min/The World I Used To Know series for Aschehoug. The novel will be released 7 august, 2020.
March 2020: The concert in Fosnavåg 10 March is the last performance before the Corona lockdown. It is filmed by Odd Geir Sæther and will be shown on NRK late May.
Winter/Spring/Summer 2020: KB on tour: Ålesund (with Svante Henryson) 1 February, Stormen/Bodø (solo piano) 6 March, Fosnavåg (with Anneli Drecker and Lars Saabye Christensen) 10 March, Kolben Kulturhus (solo piano) 18 March, Maijazz/Stavanger (with Frode Rønli, etc) 9 May, Kulturslottet/Skaland (solo piano) 5 June, Hov Church/Søndre Land (solo piano) 10 June, Valders Sommersymfoni (release concert with Guro Kleven Hagen) 21 June, Strandebarm (solo piano) 27 June, Vågå (solo piano) 18 July.
December 2019: KB plays with the violinist Guro Kleven Hagen in Rainbow Studio, Oslo. They are recording The Personal Gallery for Grappa, an album with new KB compositions, written especially for GKH.
August 2019: Grappa releases the Abbey Road solo-recording The World I Used To Know. In Nettavisen, Tor Hammerø writes that the album is “a wonderful presentation of important parts of KB's musical life”. At the same time Grappa releases the five cd anniversary-box with the same title, also including three CDs with earlier recorded music and the upcoming solo-album The beginning – and the end in November.
August 2019: The first of the two sold out anniversary-concerts in The Norwegian Opera House gets five stars out of six by Aftenpostens critic Arild R. Andersen. He praises the different artists and musicians, and says that the concert presents KB “at his very best”. The first concert is shot for NRK by the legendary photographer Odd Geir Sæther (Peter Watkins Munch, etc).
August 2019: KB's fifth volume in the Verden Som Var Min-novel cyclus, Tyvetallet, has been received with much praise. In Dagbladet, Marius Wulfsberg writes that for the middle-aged Bjørnstad, “a vulnerability and anxious care have emerged and turn into truly gripping narrative art.” He concludes that the novel is “brilliant storytelling” and gives it five stars out of six, as well as Emil Otto Syvertsen in Fædrelandsvennen, who also writes that the project is “fascinating” and the language “elegant and appealing.” In Dagsavisen, Turid Larsen writes that this volume perhaps is “even better than the earlier novels”.
Summer/Autumn 2019: KB on tour: Tromsø (with Anneli Drecker and Lars Saabye Christensen) 8 August , The Norwegian Opera Oslo (two sold out 50th Anniversary-concerts) 11 August, Gåsehud ved Fjorden, Oslo, 30, 31 August and 1 September, Voss (with Eva Bjerga Haugen) 6 September, Kunstlerhaus Mousonturm Frankfurt (solo piano) 19 October, Oppdal (solo piano), Belgrade Serbia (solo piano) 28 October, Kalkmølla Bærum 31 October, Askim (solo piano) 5 October, Bayreuth (solo piano) 8 November, Munchen Unterfahrt 9 November, Stabekk Bærum (solo piano) 7 December, Slemmestad (with Anneli Drecker and Lars Saabye Christensen 13 December.
Autumn 2019: More than 300 pupils from Steinerskolen in Norway performs KB's cantata Jeg skuer ut i verden in Oslo Konserthus 21 September, due to the 100th Anniversary of Steinerskolen. KB has both been a pupil and a teacher at Steinerskolen in Oslo.
Spring 2019: The German author Peter Henning reviews The Sixties (Die Welt Die Meine War. Die Sechtsiger Jahren) for Deutschlandfunk: KB's “descriptions lack the exhibitionistic, disarming sharpness of Knausgaard’s confessions, who in an exorcist manner bring out every last secret including the stinking diapers of his family’s everyday life; but in strict literary terms, Bjørnstad’s text seem of far more importance. For where Knausgaard’s prose is shapeless, plump and straight-forward, Bjørnstad is tactful, accurate and beautiful.”
Spring 2019: The Grappa album Hun som kjenner tristheten ved ting (She who knows the sadness of things) with the singer Eva Bjerga Haugen and texts by the author Kjersti Andersdatter Skomsvold, gets glowing reviews in different countries. Jazzism magazine writes that it is “a great album”, and in Nettavisen Tor Hammerø writes that Haugen “deserves much more attention” and compares her singing with the art of Kari Bremnes.
January 2019: KB has been honored to open the Oslo Jazz Festival in The Norwegian Opera 11 August 2019, with a star team of musicians he has worked with over the years, such as Ole Paus, Lill Lindfors, Anneli Drecker and Kristin Asbjørnsen, besides musicians such as Frode Alnæs, Svante Henryson, Audun Erlien and Rune Arnesen. The concert marks KB's 50th anniversary as performing artist.
Winter/Spring/Summer 2019: KB on tour: Oslo, Nordstrand Kirke (with Ole Paus) 4 January, Langenau (solo) 8 february, Innsbruck (solo) 9 february, Oslo, Cosmopolite (Kongshaug-festival) 16 March, Åsnes (solo) 17 March, Kongsberg (solo) 23 March, Bremen (with Anneli Drecker and Lars Saabye Christensen) 24 April, The Barony, Rosendal (with Ole Paus) 26 July.
January 2019: Grappa re-releases the triple-album Rainbow Sessions in a new edition, containing also a fourth cd with KB's last recordings together with Jan Erik Kongshaug in Rainbow Studio between 2013-2017.
December 2018: KB records the solo-piano-album The World I Used To Know for Grappa in Abbey Road’s famous Studio 2 with Simon Rhodes as technician. The album is planned for release in August 2019 in a box set with other recordings, due to KBs 50th Anniversary as performing artist.
December 2018: Ketil Bjørnstad's nineties, fourth novel in the cyclus The world I Used To Know has been named one of the best books of the year 2018 by Jyllands-Posten. Lars Ole Knippel writes that Bjørnstad unfolds "all his lush writing talent with linguistic elegance and knowledge as great as Jotunheimen".
The first volume of the series, The Sixties, has been released in Germany this fall, and in a big and positive review in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Matthias Hanneman writes that Bjørnstad is "a good story-teller". Where Knausgaard writes as "one who is chased and trapped in a mental tunnel", KB writes "completely different, much softer". He also writes that the story has a flow that reminds of some of the author's "elegant" ECM recordings. In NDR Culture, Agnes Bührig writes that the novel is like a river and that it sets us back to a past time, personally spoken and with its precise descriptions also "encyclopedically in a refreshing way". In Folkmagazin, the book is highly recommended. The reviewer writes that it is "a wonderful journey back in time" that "touches deeply".Second volume in the series, The Seventies, is under translation and will be launched in connection with the Frankfurt book fair next year, where Norway is the main guest.The series has so far sold more than 160,000 copies in Norway.
Autumn 2018: KB on tour: Oslo, Rockefeller (with Anne Grosvold, Kari Bremnes and Ole Paus) 11 September, Sandvika (with Anneli Drecker, Anne Grosvold and Lars Saabye Christensen) 20 September, Porsgrunn (with Anneli Drecker and Lars Saabye Christensen) 22 September, Haugesund (with Anneli Drecker) 5 October, Heidelberg (solo) 9 October, Stettin (solo) 16 October, Göppingen 19 October, Rjukan 3 November, Stavanger (with Anne Grosvold, Kjersti Annesdatter Skomsvold and Eva Bjerga Haugen – release of Hun Som Kjenner Tristheten ved ting (She Who Knows The Sadness Of Things) 10 November, Rostock, Oberursel, Regensburg, Leipzig, Berlin (Lesung-tour) 12-16 November, Ottobrunn (with Bobo Stenson) 13 December.
September 2018: Osburg Verlag will release Sekstitallet/The Sixties in Germany in a translation by Gabriele Haefs, Kerstin Reimers and Andreas Brunstermann. The title is Die Welt Die Meine War – Die Sechziger Jahre.
August 2018: Nittitallet/The Nineties gets huge attention and much praise in Norway. The first four volumes of the novel cycle Verden Som Var Min (The World I Used To Know) also pass 160.000 copies in print. Turid Larsen in Dagsavisen calls it “one of the best books in the cycle” and in VG, Guri Hjeltnes writes that the temperature in the text is “impressive”. Dagbladets Marius Wulfsberg writes that the book at its best is both “gripping and thought-provoking.” In Fædrelandsvennen Emil Otto Syvertsen gives 5 stars and writes that the novel “keeps the reader captured the same way as the previous ones.” The novel will be Book of the Month in Bokklubben Nye Bøker later this year.
May 2018: A Suite Of Poems (ECM) gets many 5-star reviews in Norway, Germany and England. In Jazzwise¸Robert Shore writes that the project is “Intimate an unostentatious in delivery, it makes a rather charming companion, full of delightful poetic aperҫus.” In Popmatters, John Garrat writes that it is “a terrific album” and also “A Beautiful Ode to Solitary Travel.”
May 2018: Release of KBs 14th ECM-album, A Suite Of Poems, with Anneli Drecker, a much praised singer KB has collaborated with since the bestselling album Grace (2001) and also on the albums The Nest (2004) and Hvalenes Sang (2010). The poems are written by KBs long time friend, the distinguished author Lars Saabye Christensen (The Half-Brother, Beatles, a.o.). KBs ECM-albums have now passed more than 1/4 million copies in sales.
April 2018: All together KB has sold more than half a million albums worldwide, and close to one million books.
Winter, Spring, Summer 2018: KB on tour: Nes (solo) 16 January, Ål (solo) 3 March, Tønsberg (solo) 7 March, Hønefoss (solo) 9 March, Kongsberg (solo) 13 March, Mindelheim, Innsbruck Koblenz (all solo-concerts) 16, 17, 18 March, Hamar (with Ole Paus) 8 May, Oslo (Røverstaden) 23 May (ECM-release of A Suite Of Poems with Anneli Drecker, Lars Saabye Christensen and Anne Grosvold), Nittedal (solo) 7 June, Steinkjær (solo and with Anne Grosvold) 21 June, Rosendal (The Barony, solo) 20 July.
Winter 2017/2018: KB prepares for a new ECM-release in March, and writes on The Nineties.
November 2017: KB receives the Honorary Prize of the Songwriter's Foundation (Tekstforfatterfondet).
Autumn 2017: KB on tour: St. Wendel (solo) 15 September, Surnadal and Kristiansund (with Anne Grosvold & Ole Paus) 19-20 September, Moster Amfi (Solo) 24 September, Schloss Engers (solo) 13 October, Göttingen (reading) 14 October, Northeim (solo) 15 October, Hareid (solo) 19 October, Bagn Bygdesamling (solo) 29 October, Menstad/Skien (solo) 8 November, Hamar (solo) 16 November, Rockefeller/Oslo (with Lill Lindfors, Anne Grosvold & Ole Paus) 21 November.
October 2017: The release of Åttitallet (The Eighties) gets much attention, and also much praise. At the same time, the three first volumes of the novel cycle Verden som var min (The World I Used To Know) pass 100.000 in print, and the third volume is also Book Of The Month in Bokklubben Nye Bøker. In Dagsavisen, Turid Larsen writes that the novel is “severe and entertaining”, and that it is KBs most political novel so far. In Aftenposten, Mari Grydeland writes that it is “An enormously huge project … impressive in its scale.” In Dagbladet, Ola Jostein Jørgensen writes: “Rarely we see an author exposing himself to such a high personal risk in his own writing.” In VG, Guri Hjeltnes writes that the whole project is “fascinating”, and in DN (Dagens Næringsliv), Bjørn Gabrielsen writes that Åttitallet will satisfy many readers.
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 www.kilden.com Terje Vigen 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 Åttitallet/The Eighties.
July 2016: The producer Manfred Eicher and KB agree on making a new ECM-album, the first since A Passion for John Donne in 2014.
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 December.
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 Grappa label.
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 sold out.
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 Christensen).
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 Olivier Gourmet.
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, unique”.
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 the music.
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 television.
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 beautiful.”
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, unfailingly lovely.”
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 Skuggevik.
January 2010: In The Times, Paul Binding praises To Music and writes that it is "a powerful novel" ... "a demonstration of the price society demands for the recognition of all outstanding gifts."
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 September 2010.
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 melancholic story.”
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 2009/2010.
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 elements.
In Norwegian Dagbladet, Tom Stalsberg writes that KB's book "Kolbein Falkeid - Et nærbilde" is a wonderful book about poetry, life and cosmos. Gro Jørstad Nilsen of Bergens Tidende 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, reliefingly abstract.”
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 2008. 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 2007.
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 poetic jazz".
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 festival-days.
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 spring 2009.
Ketil Bjørnstad participated in Elke Heidenreich's Literatur-Gala in Cologne, 19 March 2007, reading from "Vindings Spiel"
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 in 2007.
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 Southampton.
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 Hartvigsen.
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 tour.
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 October.
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 time.
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 2005
KETIL BJØRNSTAD is The Arts Councils "Contemporary Music Network-artist" in England, March 2006
KETIL 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.
KETIL 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.
KETIL BJØRNSTADs next concert will be with Anneli Drecker (Grace) on Svalbard/Spitsbergen 29 January 2005
KETIL 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
KETIL BJØRNSTADs album "Before The Light" (November Music, Taiwan) will be re-released by EmArcy/Universal in February 2005