Maja S. K. Ratkje

Maja Solveig Kjelstrup Ratkje is a composer and performer from Trondheim, Norway. Maja’s music frequently involves stark contrasts, more often in the delivery of balance and kinetic action than in the creation of shock or effect. Her ability to hold disparate materials in her grasp is as apparent as her care and restraint with that material. While many of her scores are notated, many stretch beyond the confines of traditional notation in aspiring to both greater precision and greater liberation. Some reveal her DNA as a performing and improvising musician; some ask performers to improvise or produce material themselves. At its heart lies Ratkje’s own voice, an open door to her individual musicianship and a constant tool for realigning her work with natural expressions and human truths. Maja's exploration of her own voice’s timbral properties led to its involvement in the compositional process. In 2002, she released the album Voice – a catalogue of previously unexplored vocal production techniques fused with electronics that was awarded the Prix Ars Electronica. She has also received other awards at home and abroad, including two Edvard Prizes, and UNESCO's Rostrum Prize. In addition, she is known as a performer, primarily of her own works, and as an improvisational musician in the group SPUNK, and with Avant Joik.

Photo: Ellen Lande Gossner