Q: When did you become interested in making music your career?
A: I have more or less always played the piano. My father gave me the gift of music when I was very little. We improvised together, and I started making up small songs of my own from the age of 4. But it took many years before I considered music as a full-time career. My first years of university courses (psychology, sociology and religious studies) were really interesting and fulfilling. Then I studied performing arts in Trondheim. I received a theoretical Master’s degree in musicology, diving into the psychology of improvisation.
Q: What are some of your musical inspirations?
A: The main ones include Norwegian folk music (both the complex dance forms and the lullabies), French Impressionist composers, Flamenco, Persian music, Lutheran hymns, American gospels and American contemporary jazz.
Q: What were some of your most memorable performances?
A: The concerts this year in Saint Peter’s Church in New York City and in the spectacular new SFJazz Center in San Francisco stand among the highlights. Also, playing at the Philharmonic Hall (Konserthuset) in Oslo in 2005 was a very special experience for us, as was the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London. Now, what we are especially looking forward to is performing in the new Oslo Opera House in August. We're opening the Oslo Jazz Festival with a commissioned work there. We're really excited about that.
Q: What places in Norway would you recommend to visitors?
A: Grünerløkka in Oslo is relaxed, urban living, and the new Opera has stunning contemporary architecture. August is really the month to visit Oslo for music, with the jazz festival followed by a really good chamber music festival and a world music festival, too. Visit Bergen for a beautiful historic city center, which is also close to spectacular nature and fjords.
Anya Britzius is editor of Viking magazine. She lives in Minneapolis, Minn., and enjoys baking, reading and keeping up on modern Norwegian trends.