The deadline was Tuesday 1 June.
Thank you for applying.
We will be in touch with all applicants in June with information.

Bergens festival for experimental music Borealis is proud to present another round of its mentor programme Borealis Ung Komponist and are looking for 4 versatile music creators who are in the starting phase of developing as a composer, or who wants to further develop their skills to write music for others. 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 programme has no upper age limit, and the participants of this year’s mentor programme will be remunerated. The application deadline is Tuesday June 1st.

This year’s mentors are a group of internationally renowned composers, performers and artists from Norway: Harpreet Bansal (NO), Camille Norment (US/NO), Johan Sara Jr. (NO) & Øyvind Torvund (NO). 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. The ensemble also focus on promoting classical vocal music and works with various notation forms. The ensemble consists of 6 singers. Read more about the ensemble.

Borealis Ung Komponist is supported by Arts Council Norway, Morten Eide Pedersens Minnefond and City of Bergen.

Practical Information

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.

Each participant is remunerated with NOK 30,000 –  half at start-up in August/September, and half after the work has been premiered in March. Borealis may grant financial support for travel and hotel.

Borealis is a festival for experimental music, which also has activity throughout the year. The festival has existed since 2004 and presents groundbreaking experimental music and art from Bergen, Norway and around the world. Borealis Ung Komponist has existed since 2017, and is one of Borealis’ most important initiatives throughout the year. 16 music creators have “graduated” from the mentor programme, and have gone on to create their own recognised projects in the field of contemporary music, but also in jazz and performing arts. The mentor programme has contributed to a richer and more vibrant music environment in Western Norway, but also nationally, by raising new voices in the field of experimental music. It aims to stimulate more innovation and exchange of experience, and to encourage budding composers to step forward and take their place. Borealis Ung Komponist also aims to provide professional competence to the new generation of Norwegian composers. Borealis wants to continue this important work of finding and shaping the next generation of music creators with a penchant for experimenting with sound, and sees that there is a need to increase the width of representation on the programme. The festival has long focused and worked hard to represent the society it exists in, both on, in front of and behind the stage, by making conscious choices on gender balance and ethnic diversity in its programme.

Borealis Ung Komponist is an arena for development where you as a music creator and your musical ideas are taken seriously. You must be prepared for, and want to, challenge yourself, and be willing to work both in groups and independently. It is important and expected that each participant has progression between each workshop. Participants can also use the mentors in these intermediate phases to get help to move forward. The framework for the workshops is always set in advance, and you get timetables and information well in advance. Nevertheless, some flexibility is given so that the participants themselves can shape how they want to work and structure their time with the mentors and the ensemble. It is a priority to create a good group dynamic and emphasis is placed on common meal breaks and time for conversations, so that the participants get to know each other, the ensemble and the mentors well. This contributes to a relaxed atmosphere and creates a space where ideas and concepts can develop in a good way.

The mentor programme is divided into 4 workshops with a duration of 3 days. They consist of meetings with the mentors, as well as rehearsals and development of the music in collaboration with the ensemble TABULA RASA. Participants are required to work on their pieces on their own between each workshop. The workshops will take place on the following dates:

Week 35  (Intro Day Monday 30 August + Workshop #1: 31 August–2 September)
Week 41 (Workshop #2: 11–13 October)
Week 48 (Workshop #3: 29 November–1 December)

Week 4  (Workshop #4: 24–26 January)
Week 10 (rehearsals & documentation)
Week 11 (rehearsals & concert)

The workshops take place at Bergen International Cultural Center (BIKS) in Kong Oscars gt. 15, right in the centre of the city. The premises are wheelchair accessible. Have other accessibility needs? Notify us via the application form.

The workshops will be held in Norwegian. Although this can be re-evaluated if the selected participants benefit most from the workshops being held in English.

Borealis is looking for new voices, and selects the participants based on motivation, idea, self-development aspirations as well as the ability to work with others, and the final group composition. Borealis ensures that the diversity in society is represented in the mentor programme, and enforces gender balance.

We encourage qualified candidates to apply, regardless of age, gender, disabilities, ethnic background and sexual orientation. Working conditions will be facilitated for participants with disabilities. There is no upper age limit on the programme. You can be in the early stages of your career as a music creator no matter your age. The mentor programme and the concert is part of Borealis’ artistic program, and the selection of participants is made by Borealis.

Professional audio and video recordings of the works are made. This is a useful and valuable resource that the music creators can use and take with them after completing their participation in Borealis Ung Komponist.

Application deadline was Tuesday 1 June

Questions about the mentor programme and process can be directed to Managing Director of Borealis; Tine Rude:

Technical problems with the application form or similar can be directed to producer of Borealis Ung Komponist; Mia Julie Wiland: 

You have to:

  • fill out the Application Form.
  • upload your CV to our Dropbox (education, performances, courses, releases, work history – include everything you think is relevant. We also want minimum 2 references).
  • send us sound or video recordings of your music
    EITHER by uploading files via our Dropbox. Remember to mark the file with: “your name_title”.
    OR by entering links in the application form.
    It can be Soundcloud, Bandcamp, YouTube, Vimeo or other sites you use to upload your music. Be selective: Do not send everything, but what you think is most representative of you and the music you are interested in making right now. 1-3 examples is enough.

Application criteria:

  • you are in the starting phase of your career as a music creator/composer, regardless of age
  • you have a desire to develop further as a music creator
  • you want guidance within a professional framework
  • you have one or more ideas about how you want to experiment with the singers in the vocal ensemble
  • you are able to convey your musical ideas to others
  • you can participate in all the workshops for the mentor programme in Bergen


Harpreet Bansal

Photo: Matthis Kleeb

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

Photo: Herman Dreyer

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.

Photo: Susanne Hætta

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.


Øyvind Torvund

Photo: Dimitri Djuric

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..




Photo: Zsigmond Zseni.
Jakub Adam Niedziela is temping for Rikke Lina Sorell Matthiesen (nu. 2, standing from the left) and is therefore not in this picture.

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.

The Voices:
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).

Webpage (only Norwegian)

Previous participants, mentors and ensembles