Bergens festival for experimental music Borealis is proud to present another round of its mentor programme Borealis Ung Komponist with 4 versatile music creators who are in the starting phase of developing as a composer. Borealis work to promote a wide range of voices and role models – and want the future of experimental music to be characterized by many different perspectives. The mentor programme runs from August/September 2021 to March 2022 and is remunerated. Participants must write a work of approx. 15 minutes that will be performed at the festival in 2022. Participants must be able to attend all the workshops.
Over the course of the programme, each participant will create their own work/piece of music, which has its world premiere at Borealis 2022 (March 16-20), in Bergen. Borealis is also working to take the music on tour in the region after the festival.
This year’s participants is an amazing group of up-and-coming composers who all have an exciting performer side to their career. Read more about the 4 composers.
This year’s mentors are a group of internationally renowned composers, performers and artists from Norway. See who they are and read more about the four mentors.
This year’s ensemble is TABULA RASA – a vocal ensemble who like to work in both improvisation and theatre to create conceptual concerts, and performances. Read more about the ensemble.
Borealis Ung Komponist is supported by Arts Council Norway, Morten Eide Pedersens Minnefond and City of Bergen.
THE PARTICIPANTS 21/22
Mirsaeed Hosseiny Panah
Mirsaeed Hosseiny Panah is an Iranian composer and musician with Santoor as his main instrument – a trapezoid shaped string instrument played on with small hammers. His curiosity toward different genres of music motivated him to study classical and jazz music in addition to the heritage of Iranian classical music. His background gave him the conclusion that despite the contrast between these musical fields, there is still a musical language out there that stands as a combination of all three. In 2013 he graduated from Tehran University, and recently he graduated with his second master’s degree from the Norwegian Academy of Music (NMH). In addition to being invited as a soloist with different orchestras/bands, he has been given several commissions as a composer and arranger.
Astrid Solberg is a composer and performer from Oslo, Norway. Her compositions balance conceptually on the edges of performance art and instrumental theatre. In her performance practice she works both in collaboration with other artists, and with her own material through video work and on stage. Power structures and feminism in music and art is of great interest to Astrid, in addition to internet culture, mental health and dogs. Her recent work is focused around video, choreography and visual elements in different forms. Her critical gaze on the art field and the tendencies in society is often presented through satire and humour. Astrid is currently an exchange student at Stuttgart University of Music and Performing Arts and will be finishing her Bachelor in Composition from the Norwegian Academy of Music in the autumn of this year.
Peder Niilas Tårnesvik
Peder Niilas Tårnesvik has establised himself with great power in the last couple of years as one of the most interesting electronica artists and producers in Norway. With his project Niilas he stepped out of the shadows and released his first full-length album titled Also This Will Change in 2020. The album received astonishing reviews and the success was further emphasised when he won a Norwegian Grammy for “Best Electronica” in 2020. There’s nothing quite like Niilas’ musical landscape, in which he uses his unique eye for details to merge genres, expressions and musical emotions. With field recordings, samples and both live and digital instruments, sprinkled with connotations to his Sami background, Niilas serves his listeners an iridescent field of sound.
Karoline Wallace is a singer, improviser and composer from Stabekk. She has released music with her projects Stiklinger, Lang vinter and Molecules & Erlend Skosvoll. She has also written for string quartet, big bands, wind orchestras and choirs. Her music and singing is inspired by folk music, jazz and contemporary classical music, and she is always seeking sounds that tickle and shake. She has a masters degree in composition and performance from the Rhythmic Music Conservatory in Copenhagen and a bachelor from the jazz department at the Grieg Academy in Bergen. She has lived in Berlin, Bergen, Stockholm, Gothenburg, Copenhagen, and now Oslo. She gets her main compositional inspiration from the instrument or person she is writing for and all the possibilities that lies within them, her projects therefore often involve many musicians.
Harpreet Bansal is a violinist and composer born in Oslo to Indian parents. She started learning the ragas from her father before she could talk and after studied both the European and the Indian art music traditions at the Norwegian Academy of Music. In her music, different styles and traditions are forged into what has been called «an unique and radical approach to the raga genre». She has performed worldwide as a soloist, with her ensemble Harpreet Bansal Band and in various collaborations. The last few years she has increasingly turned her attention to composing. In 2020 she premiered her commission Parvat, a 45 minute piece for soloists and symphony orchestra, with herself as soloist accompanied by The Norwegian Radio Orchestra. She is in high demand as a composer, with commissioners ranging from hip hop group Karpe Diem to the contempoary music ensemble Cikada. Bansal’s approach to composing is instrumental and vocal. Not having received a «traditional» composer education in the Western sense, she uses the North Indian ragas as a basis for improvising thematic material, from which she builds patterns and soundscapes. Bansal records for the Jazzland Recordings/OK World and Lawo labels. Her album Samaya was nominated for a Norwegian Grammy in 2018.
Camille Norment is an interdisciplinary multimedia artist, composer, and performer whose art and performance works are exhibited and performed worldwide. Cultural psychoacoustics is both an aesthetic and conceptual framework for much of her practice – the investigation of socio-cultural phenomena through the sonic as a force over the body, mind, and society. Composing artworks through forms including recorded sound, sculpture and installation, drawing, and live performance, she applies this concept towards the creation of critical artworks that are preoccupied with the way in which context, form, space, and the body of the viewer create experiences that are both somatic and cognitive. Camille Norment represented Norway in the 56th Venice Biennial of Art (2015), with a three-part solo project that included a large-scale sound and sculptural installation, a publication series, and a sonic performance series. Camille Norment has several permanent public commissioned installations.
Norment had a background of dance and music before completing her B.A. in Comparative Literature and Art History at the University of Michigan, Honors College. She completed both her Masters of Fine Art and a second Masters in Interactive Telecommunications at New York University, and she is a Whitney Independent Study Program Fellow. Parallel to her artistic career, Norment worked as a researcher at the renowned Interval Research multimedia think tank in Silicon Valley, and as Professor of Art at Malmö University. She is currently Pro-Rector of Research at the Oslo National Academy of Arts and developing a commissioned installation and performance works for several international museums
Johan Sara Jr.
Johan Sara Jr. is an innovative performer in one of Europe’s oldest singing traditions, namely the Sami singing tradition: joik. His unique way of combining joik with elements from contemporary music creates a mesmerizing and meditative characteristic that is celebrated both within and outside Norway’s borders. His music has manifested his position as a vibrant, fresh and genre-free innovator. Sara Jr. was born in Alta and grew up among reindeer herders on the snow-covered tundra in the arctic north. He now lives in the Sami town of Maze. Sara Jr. was born into a culture that was one with nature and the natural – a culture where joik had a central position and his mother was passionate about preserving this singing tradition. The joik is therefore much more than just an artistic expression for Sara Jr. – it’s history and heritage. The joik picks up the sounds from nature; the wind, the tundra and animals, and allows the Sami Shaman – noaidi – to express this through archaic voice, and the pulse and tempo of the different seasons. It is said that the joik has neither a beginning nor an end – it starts with the sounds of nature and continues in an endless cycle that is always evolving. Joik is a singing tradition that does not use so many words, which opens up the listener’s opportunity for free association and opportunity to travel with the voice as an instrument that opens up an infinite number of nuances during the performance. The word joik comes from the verb Juoiga, which means to perform a melody/luohti. It is the technical voice foundation that forms the basis for the unique tradition that can sometimes be experienced sacred or spiritual. Johan Sara Jr. has through his own unique expression continued a thousand year old tradition by adapting the joik to his reality and his contemporary time. Sara Jr. connects the modern with the natural, the soundscapes of the future with the music of the past, and thus contributes in this modest way to giving humanity back its relationship to the original, the natural and the human. Sara Jr. has won a number of awards, including TONO’s Edvard Award in Open Class, for his album Transmission, he also runs the record company Stierdna.
Norwegian composer Øyvind Torvund born 1976, played guitar in rock and improvising groups alongside regular musical studies in Oslo and Berlin. His music assembles disparate materials and inconsistent attitudes: sounds from rock or from everyday life or nature occurring in chamber music, simplicity in a complex context, improvisation coexisting with exact notation, music combined with film or projections, and seriousness in counterpoint with humour. Øyvind was nominated for Nordic Council Music Prize in 2016, and won his second Norwegian Grammy in the category Contemporary together with BIT20 Ensemble in 2020 for the album The Exotica Album, released on the label Hubro..
TABULA RASA is Sigrun Jørdre, Elise Thorgersen Varne, Zsuzsa Zseni, Tord Kalvenes, Arild Rohde og Jakub Adam Niedziela.
The vocal ensemble was started by Tord Kalvenes in 2017 and has been under Arild Rohde’s musical direction since May 2019. The ensemble aims to promote new classical vocal music, with a focus on Norwegian composers. The vocal ensemble stands out by working with improvisation and theatrical elements to create conceptual concerts and performances. TABULA RASA wants to reach out with new music to people who do not know the form so well from before. Musically, they seek a balance between music that is recognisable and accessible to the audience, and music that is challenging and surprising. They want to use the emotional and direct communicative quality in the human voice to reach the audience.
Tabula Rasa seeks collaboration with composers, performers and interdisciplinary art collaborations in the hope of illuminating their contemporaries. The ensemble works with various notation forms, both conventional notation, tools for improvisation, text notation and the use of space in performances. By participating in Borealis Ung Komponist they will gain more insight into their own processes, and look forward to getting to know the composers and their ideas.
Sigrun Jørdre (Soprano I), Elise Varne (Soprano II), Zsuzsa Zseni (Alto), Tord Kalvenes (Tenor I), Arild Rohde (Tenor II), Jakub Adam Niedziela (Bass). Read about each individual singer (in Norwgian).