Eyvind Solås born on May 11, 1937. Solås was a student at the Oslo Music Conservatory and was later awarded a German State scholarship to pursue further studies at the Cologne University and Music Academy. In 1968 Solås obtained a Master of Arts Degree at the University of Oslo on the thesis “A study of Harald Sæverud’s Peer Gynt stage-music”.
Solås was an active actor and composer at the Student’s Theatre and later at the Theatre Workshop in Oslo during 1959-66. For several years, he also pursued a career as a professional actor at the Riksteatret as well as Theatre Ibsen and he played a number of shows with the song writer Ole Paus. The theatre proved to be a key factor for Solås’ development as a composer. In his own words: “I was presented with a number of stylistic challenges and I developed a growing understanding of music as a key part of a greater artistic context.” In partnership with Reidar Skagestad, Solås established the music/drama course at the Romerike Folk High School. Throughout his career as an educator and radio/TV personality, Solås was presented with ample room to explore new musical ideas in a wide variety of settings.
Solås’ development as a composer is characterised by a concrete and social perception of reality rather than theoretical pondering. Still, music theory has presented Solås with valuable input. Solås’ tonal vocabulary is indirectly influenced by his strong interest in the Second Viennese School (Schönberg, Berg, Webern), as well as the Norwegian tradition of contemporary music represented by composers Valen, Sæverud, Mortensen and of his contemporary colleagues' productions. “I feel that the term new music is somewhat problematic,” said Solås, “who is entitled to determine what this term should imply? Only the individual composer can apply such designations through his music”.
Solås’ production was extensive, and it displays a predilection for music composed for stage and screen. His later years saw a shift towards compositions written independently and free from the constraints of theatre and film. Examples of such works include “Musikk for obo og strykere”, “Strykekvartett No. II” and “Ikke jeg, men vinden” for mixed choir, organ and orchestra.
Eyvind Solås was a Norwegian Broadcasting Company employee from 1969 till 2002. From 1988 to 1990 he served as head of the TV division’s music department and in 1996 he joined the NRK P2 radio channel’s music desk. He created a number of programmes portraying Norwegian composers and performers, most notably the “Musikk-Nytt” (Music News) series that ran from 1972 to 1986. The programme caused heated debate and considerable public attention – much a tribute to the humorist and absurd elements that were woven into the journalistic presentations.
Solås was also an active writer with a number of music-related articles published in various printed publications. 1993 saw him publishing the novel “Ensom vandrer” (Lone Wayfarer) which centred on fiction and reflections in a landscape dominated by composer Edvard Grieg.
Eyvind Solås passed away in Oslo on April 22, 2011.