Hi Steinar! How are you and what are you up to these days?
Everything is alright, thank you! This fall is quite hectic: right now I’m finishing off an exciting project for a piano duo and electronics, which is going to be performed in November. I am also traveling to Nordic Music Days with an ensemble-piece soon, so there are many projects on the roll. On top of all that, I’m about to move soon, so life is busy in all possible ways.
This season you’re participating in the mentor programme Borealis Young Composer. So far you’ve worked with two of four mentors – how was it?
Those were amazing workshops with two talented and inspiring mentors, Carmina Escobar and Elaine Mitchener. The get-togethers have been very intense, we have had long and demanding days full of new impressions and challenges. But being tired afterwards must be a sign that you have done some good work, right? The finished product seems to be far in the future for now, but in this project the journey itself is important – the point here is to try out a lot of different things! It is also very nice to work with the ensemble, they are amazing and enthusiastic musicians, who throw themselves into the unknown without hesitation. I am very impressed with how concentrated they can stay and how well they keep up with the mixture of ideas we composers serve them. I feel lucky that I can be a part of this and I’m looking forward to continue!
When do you compose? And what do you need to get the work done?
Nowadays I can work both really early and really late. Lately I’ve been feeling really productive in the mornings, it’s unbelievable how much one can get done at that time! A small breakfast and good coffee first is a must, of course. When I get started, I can work for a long time. I have an office in Nesodden community that I am a part of, I also have a workspace at home. Other than that, there is always a lot happening in the background, while I do completely different things. Ideas can appear at any time here and there.
You are educated as composer at Norwegian Academy of Music, so it’s not new for you to write music. What does the mentor programme offer that the studies didn’t?
No, it’s not new for me to compose music. But often I start new projects from scratch and every single time it’s like I’m entering a whole new, unknown world. There is some resistance and maybe that’s exactly what is pushing me forward. This mentor programme has a very good mixture of people with very different backgrounds. It gives impulses from many different approaches within the same project. It’s quite rare to get an opportunity to work so closely together over such a long period of time, both with the mentors, musicians and the other composers. There is something about this approach, we share vulnerability in the creative process and are very supportive for each other. As a student you are also vulnerable, but in a different way. A student environment can often be quite closed.I also have to say that we are meeting very open minds here, that’s inspiring!
And to wrap up – what are you listening to these days?
A lot! I am an open listener. Right now I am listening to Crumnb and Sciarrino. On a daily basis I work with an orchestra, so I get a lot there too. I can listen Stravinsky and Ligeti over and over again, I like also Kraftwerk, Depeche Mode, Røyksopp. Lately I saw a VR-installation by Laurie Anderson and Hsin-Chien Huang at Ultima festival, a rare multisensory experience! It can also be nice to listen to the silence. Other that that, I’m a big fan of radio and podcasts!