Bjørn Stenvaag

I started playing the piano when I was 7, and I still play (I am 21 now). But almost immediately a problem appeared; as a child, my curious mind could not understand the point of playing music someone else had written! I later realized that I was going to be a composer, not a performer. I currently study composition at the Norwegian State Academy of Music with, among others, Olav Anton Thommesen and Ragnar Söderlind.

Although I play the piano, I have come to love the cello very deeply. In my eyes the cello is "The King of Expression," above all other instruments. I identify the sound and tone of the cello as the voice I wish to speak with in my music. The cello, with its wide range and innumerable "faces," is to me the only instrument that fully works in ensembles built on a single kind of instrument, i.e. cello quartets.

I often use the picture of man in nature in my musical landscapes. I have powerful feelings about nature, and I believe that nature represents everything we know and don't know, both in the world and within ourselves. But in nature everything is related. My piece for 4 celli, Ved Nyingen (By the Fire) was written in my cabin in the Norwegian mountains, near Lake Femunden. It is based on a man's changing mind while sitting by the campfire. It was recently performed by Aage Kvalbein's "Cellissimo Quartet" in Bergen, Norway.

This is by no means the last piece of music I will write for cello ensembles (or solo cello/cello sonatas etc). I look forward to the next opportunity. I am also considering arranging Ved Nyingen for 12 celli.

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Bjørn Stenvaag

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