Jostein Stalheim was born in Voss in 1960. He started composing at an early age and in 1977, when only 17 years old, his first works were broadcast on both radio and television. He has studied composition and accordion at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Copenhagen and at the Norwegian State Academy of Music.
While still a student larger works such as "Hydra" and "Det røde snøballtreet" were performed. "Gaps" for accordion and percussion was performed at the official opening of the Norwegian State Academy of Music's new building in 1989.
Stalheim has become increasingly occupied with the element of movement in music. His later works often have as their point of departure physical direction or distance. His string quartet "To- tve-tvil" is concerned with a person in doubt. The title is related to the Old Norwegian word "tvisyn", which means the ability to view any situation from two sides; for example, both the comical and tragical aspects of life. In this string quartet Stalheim attempts to find a particular direction where the listener is positioned in the focal point between that which is expressed and that which is implied.
"Inside" is another example of his incorporation of the physical element in his music. Here he seeks to direct light towards friction and insight, distance and approach, by placing emphasis on depth within the dynamic apportioning of space. In his "A-AB-ABS" movement is also a central element, where the idiomatic aspect of the instruments themselves is his point of departure.
Ballet music comprises a considerable part of his production; a.o. "Sakk 4", "Alrekr" and "Kast". He has also worked in theatre both as composer and musician, amongst others, the Royal Theatre and Jytte Abildstrøms teater in Copenhagen, Teater tribonda, Cristal opera, Hordaland Teater, Bergen komediateater, Den Nationale Scene and Danseteatret.
Jostein Stalheim has received commissions from ensembles both in Norway and abroad. On several occasions Stalheim has been guest composer in Spain, Poland and Romania.
Stalheim is internationally recognized as an accordion soloist and has performed on the BBC-TV, NRK-TV, the Video Festival in Cannes-85 and with several international orchestras. He has received several grants, including Statens Etableringsstipend, a grant for the establishing of emerging artists. Stalheim has been chairman of the Composer Group in Ny Musikk, and is actively engaged in Ny Musikk's concert activities. He is now producer for NorConcert (The Concert Institute of Norway) and has also produced a number of CD's.