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LASSE THORESEN – COMPOSER

Lasse Thoresen (b. 1949) is a professor of composition at the Norwegian State Academy of Music where he has taught composition, electro-acoustic music, and sonology since 1975. He received a graduate degree in composition in 1972 from the Oslo Music Conservatory, where he studied under Finn Mortensen, after which he studied electro acoustic music and composition under Werner Kaegi at the Institute of Sonology in Utrecht, the Netherlands. From 1978 to 1981 he conducted a post graduate research project in sonology with support from the Norwegian ‘Norwegian Research Council for Science and the Humanities’.  From 1988 to 2000 Mr. Thoresen occupied the principal chair of composition at the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo where he is still teaching composition.

A number of his works have achieved wide recognition both in Norway and internationally. The piano trio Bird of the heart was first performed at the Bergen International Festival in 1982 by Oslo Trio, and has subsequently been played on tours by a number of outstanding trios in countless European and Canadian concert halls. The Symphonic concerto for Violin and Orchestra(1984) had its first performance on direct broadcast to a vast number of European countries and has later been performed several times at concerts in Norway, Sweden and Germany. In 1985 Les trois régénérations was commissioned and premiered by Radio France in Paris. Mr. Thoresen was the festival composer at the Bergen International Music festival in 1986. Emergence (1997) was commissioned by the Oslo Philharmonic and its conductor Mariss Jansons for a concert tour to European capitals including the Musik Verein in Vienna. In 1998 Fire and Light.  Cantata and Transformation had its world premiere in Warsaw, the work being commissioned by the contemporary music festival Warszawa Autumn. In April 2000 his hour’s long “As the Waves of One Sea” for 230 performers was performed in Oslo Concert Hall to celebrate the new millennium.  In May 2001, his Oratorio Terraces of Light was performed in Haifa in connection with the inauguration of the Bahá’í Terraces. In May 2003 his Triple Concerto Transfigurations was performed by a Norwegian trio of soloists and St. Petersburg Symphonic Academy as a greeting from the Norwegian State on the occasion of the city’s 300 years jubilee.

Mr. Thoresen has received a number of important awards: the Norwegian Society of Composers’ Work of the Year award for Stages of the Inner Dialogue for piano (1981), AbUno (1992), Carmel Eulogies (1993); the Music Critics’ Award for Qudrat, a work for synthesizer and percussion, the Lindeman award for his integral work as a composer (1987). In 1987 Illuminations for violoncello and orchestra obtained honorary mention in the Prix Italia.  He won Spellemannsprisen — the Norwegian equivalent of a Grammy — for the CD The Sonic Mind, featuring a violin and a cello concerto recorded by the Oslo Philharmonic (1998). In 2001, he received Prix Jacques DURAND from Institut de France, Academie des Beaux Arts for his music.  In 2002 he receives the Foundation Samii-Housseinpour Price (Belgium). In 2003 he receives the Edvard Prize for his 60 minutes’ suite for Folk Singer and Sinfonietta Løp, lokk og linjar.

For three years he is composer in residence at Festival Présences, the major musical festival of Radio France, Paris (2004-2007).

Influenced by Norwegian folk music, French spectral music and Harry Partch’s tonal system “Just Intonation,” as well as from his ethno-musical studies of the folk music from his own country and from Asia. Mr. Thoresen has been using microtonal principles in a number of his works since 1985. His approach to instrumentation has imported features from Musique Concréte.  Stylistically his production exhibits great variety.

His pioneer work on musical analysis, combining a phenomenological approach with a structuralist approach to analytical method inspired by Pierre Schaeffer, has attracted international attention, and is the only Norwegian Music Theory project mentioned in the article on Analysis in The New Grove’s Dictionary of Music.  Mr. Thoresen has lectured extensively on his music and his method of musical analysis in Universities and Conferences  in Oslo, Bergen, Tromsoe, Trondheim, Stockholm, Malmoe, Gothenburg, Helsinki, Jyväskylä, London, York, Baghdad, Amsterdam, Utrecht, Gent, Hamburg, Moscow, Paris, Landegg (Switzerland), Kiev.

 

 
  Sound of Norway? Reflections on Lasse Thoresen’s Yr  
     
 

Les Paysages Sonores de Lasse Thoresen

 
     
 

Thoresen: Musikkens universelle språk — PDF

 
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Photo: Lisbeth Risnes, Music Information Centre Norway
Lasse Thoresen