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Bjørn Kruse

February 1, 2013

Bjørn Kruse foto

(Photo: Karette Stensæth)

Born 1946 in London, England, but grew up in England, USA and Norway, with studies at UCLA, California, and The Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo, receiving his BA (clarinet major) in 1975 and his Diploma in Composition two years later. Has taught at the academy since 1976, becoming professor of composition in 1997. In Sep 2013 he retired from the Academy as Professor Emeritus. He has written two books on jazz theory and one on composition and drama, “Thinking Art – An Interdisciplinary Approach to Applied Aesthetics”(ISBN 978-82-7853-214-0). “Thinking Art” was released at the symposium Unfolding the Process II at the Norwegian Academy of Music on Nov 15, 2016. To order, please go to Norwegian Academy of Music book order. Or


Norwegian version:


Bjørn Kruse lectures extensively throughout Norway on the subject of interdisciplinary aesthetics, addressing students and educators within all expressions of art. The basic topic deals with concepts and models of understanding that all artists employ, and that this type of broad insight enriches the individual artist in his own discipline, as well as develops the aesthetical competence of all those who enjoy experiencing art, regardless of a particular expression. The lectures are offered in either the Norwegian or English language.

Besides composing music, painting, and activity as a freelance academic, he is also supervisor for research fellows within the Norwegian Artistic Research Programme (

From teenage years, Bjørn Kruse was active for about 25 years as jazz musician (saxophone), composer/arranger, producer and studio musician within most areas of music, while teaching and composing preoccupied him more and more. His list of works now numbers more that 150, including compositions for choir, chamber ensembles, several concertos and orchestra works, and four operas, and his compositions are performed ever more often in Norway and abroad. His latest major work for stage was the opera “Den Grøne Riddaren” (“The Green Knight” / libretto by Paal-Helge Haugen), which was premiered in Kristiansand, Agder Teater, on March 10, 2004. Among prizes won may be mentioned the Fernseh Opern Preis der Stadt Salzburg 1983, for the TV opera “A Game of Chess”, and several of his works have won the Work of the Year award in Norway. The concerto for alto sax and orchestra, “Timaios”, was awarded the Jury’s Special Prize by NOPA 2010. His 50 min clarinet concerto “Chronotope” won the music publishers’ Work of the year 2017, in the category for classical / contemporary music. In January 2017 a recording on LAWO Classics featuring “Chronotope”, with Fredrik Fors, solo cl, The Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra (cond. Christian Eggen) gave Bjørn a Spellemannspris (Norwegian Emmy Award) nomination for The Composer of the Year (Årets komponist 2017).

Bjørn Kruse was featured composer at amongs others, Festspillene i Nord-Norge 1994, Vinterfestspill i Bergstaden 2003, Risør Chamber Music Festival 2005, and MusikA Toulouse, France 2010.

His latest major work, the 50 min. clarinet concerto “Chronotope”, was premiered January 21, 2016, with the Oslo Phil. Orch. (cond. Han-Na Chang) and soloist Fredrik Fors. It was recorded on LAWO Classics label June 6 – 8, 2016. The album was released August 31, 2017 in conjunction with an exhibition of own paintings (Daily Doodles Magnified) and a concert with his works. (Please see: Release concert and exhibition)

Feb. 26 2018 the recording of Chronotope was awarded “The Composer of the Year Award 2018” / Spellemannprisen 2018 i kategorien Årets Komponist


March 21, 2017, “Chronotope” won the Music Publishers’ Work of the year 2017, in the category for classical / contemporary music. Photo below is from the prize ceremony, with Norsk Musikforlag’s Unni Boretti.



Bjørn Kruse

Norsk Musikforlag

Juryens uttalelse:

Årets verk – Klassisk/Samtidsmusikk er et modig partitur som på sin stillfarne måte lar elementene bre seg ut over tid. Over, rundt og i dette, har vi solisten hvis idiomatisk utformede solostemme alltid virker å være søkende etter å uttrykke kjernen av all kommunikasjon: nemlig dialog eller samtale; En samtale som gir forestillinger om tid og rom hvor minnet om det som var og forventingene om det som kommer kan berike det lyttende øyeblikket. Bjørn Kruse har på denne bakgrunn skapt et mangefasettert verk og viser i dette det fineste og kanskje det eneste man kan vise som komponist; nemlig en annen måte å være det på.

To order the score, please go to Norsk Musikforlag

August 31, 2017 Bjørn Kruse’s latest exhibitions of paintings include Café de Concert at Tjuvholmen, titled “Daily Doodles Magnified” (2017).

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Nov 15, 2016 a new CD album with chamber music featuring the soprano Eir Inderhaug, “Portrait with Hidden Face”, was released  on Lablabel (in conjunction with the release of his book, Thinking Art). To order, go to Lablabel



Also, exhibitions at the gallery Albin Upp in Oslo, titled “Chaos and Order” (2009)

and “Space and Time” (2010).  Nine large paintings were also exhibited Jan 14 2015, at a concert in the Chamber Hall, Oslo Concert House, with Bjørn’s chamber works.



Bjørn is married to Karette Stensæth, music therapy researcher. Examples of her research topics are her latest book, Responsiveness in Music Therapy. A Perspective Inspired by Mikhail Bakhtin (2017), and  her PhD thesis Musical Answerability. A Theory on the Relationship between Music Therapy Improvisation and the Phenomenon of Action. (2008)


From → Writings

One Comment
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