Sigurd Berge - Biography

Sigurd Berge

Sigurd Berge (1929 - 2002) took his teaching degree in 1952, after which he attended the Music Conservatory in Oslo, where he studied with Torleif Eken. From 1956 to 1960 he studied composition with Finn Mortensen. He continued his music education in Stockholm, Copenhagen and Utrecht, where he studied electronic music. From 1959 till retirement age Berge taught music at the Sagene College of Education in Oslo. A pioneer in the introduction of contemporary music into the Norwegian schools, he lectured extensively and published everal text books and articles on music teaching and creative activities in music. Berge also held a number of important honorary posts in connection with music, such as the chairmanship of the Society of Norwegian Composers.

Berge made his debut as a composer with Pezzo Orchestrale in Helsinki in 1959. His production embraces a great diversity of styles, including traditional tonal composition, twelve-tone-music, such as Episode (1959) and Sinus (1961), educational works, such as music for school bands and recorder ensembles, electronic music, compositions for mixed media, orchestra music for television, chamber music, etc. Berge`s interest in Norwegian and other folk music is reflected in some of the compositions in which he blended folk music elements together with a thoroughly modern musical language. Good examples of this are Horn Call (1972) and Raga for oboe and orchestra (1960, 1978). He also wrote a number of works to be performed by children and young people, such as Illuxit for children's choir (1974) and Juvenes for string orchestra (1976-77).

Berge experimented with sounds and tonal quality in his music, for example, through the unconventional use of the instruments of the orchestra. His Chroma (1963), which might be interpreted as a study in sound possibilities, is considered by many to be the Norwegian counterpart to Britten`s The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra. Berge's purely electronic compositions are generally short studies in sound, often of a humorous nature, with such titles as The Raindrop Postlude (1968) and Moon Landscape (1971). His varied production reveals great imagination and skill, as well as the ability to adapt his style to the chosen task.

N-MIC 2002
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