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KNUT VAAGE, Biography

Knut Vaage, born 1961, lives in Bergen where he works as a composer. He graduated as a pianist and composer from the Grieg Academy in Bergen. Vaage has worked in different styles of music, though concentrating on improvised and contemporary music. Many of Vaage's projects have investigated the boundaries between improvisation and composed music. Vaage’s production ranges from symphonic works and opera to solo pieces. His music is frequently performed at concerts and festivals in Norway and abroad.

Vaage’s instrumental works include Transit, commissioned by the French Ministry of Culture and premiered by Ensemble Court-circuit, and Movements for major sinfonietta, one of several commissioned and premiered by the BIT20 Ensemble. His orchestral works includes Orchestra Dialogues and Hidden Songs, premiered by the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra; Janus, Relief, Chaconne, Gardens of Hokkaido and Tjat, premiered by the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra; Reflex, premiered by the Orkester Norden; Cyclops, premiered by the Trondheim Symphony Orchestra. Mylder and Rite, premiered by KORK (the Norwegian Radio Orchestra). From his list of works for wind instruments one can mention Graffiti for brass band and Breaking Another Wall for wind ensemble. Graffiti achived the Edvard price in 2003. Much of Vaage’s instrumental music have been released on CD.

Investigation of the acoustic/electronic hybrid-sound is another important topic in Vaage’s music. In Electra, the multiMORPH-serie and Futuration, he has worked closely with sound designer Thorolf Thuestad to expand the sound-spectrum of the instruments through extended use of electronics. Futuration for orchestra and electronics was premiered by Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra and Ed Gardner in December 2015. Vaage was nominated for the Nordic Music Prize with the multi-media work Hybrid Spectacle, premiered at the Borealis Festival in 2020.

Vaage has also written a number of vocal works and works for the stage. His first opera Someone is Going to Come, was based on Jon Fosse's play with the same name. It was premiered by Opera Vest at the Ultima Oslo Contemporary Music Festival in 2000 and achieved national and international acclaim. The opera is translated into English and German, and has been performed in Germany and Luxembourg. In 2010 Collegium Musicum premiered Song of Solomon. Khairos is a full scale opera developed with the librettist Torgeir Rebolledo Pedersen, commissioned by Den Norske Opera & Ballet and premiered in 2013. Rebolledo Pedersen also wrote the libretto for Veslefrikk, an opera in one act aimed for the whole family. It was premiered September 2010 by Den Nye Opera, and won the ARTE audience award for best production. As an improvisator Vaage was an early explorer of the boundaries between improvisation and composition in the trio JKL. The tension created between acoustic instruments and electronics was an important part of their style. JKL has released one CD. His work with improvisation continues with the band Fat Battery, and in staged works like Achilles or Stupor, premiered at Grec Festival in Barcelona in 2015. The propagation of contemporary music for a wider audience forms an important part of Vaage's compositional activity. He has participated in different concert projects aimed at children, teenagers, and local choirs and orchestras.

Vaage has served as a board member of the composers' group of Ny Musikk, the Norwegian branch of the ISCM, and the Norwegian Society of Composers. He has in addition led a localdivision of Ny Musikk in Bergen, where he was also director of the Autunnale festival. He has also been leader for the concert series Avgarde in Bergen.

Biograpy for download (pdf)