Guttorm Kittelsen - Biography

Guttorm Kittelsen

Norwegian composer and musician (Flute, piccolo flute, guitars and el-bass)

4 years of flute studies under Professor Ørnulf Gulbransen at the Norwegian State Academy of Music. Graduated in 1976.

In the same 4 years compositional studies under Professor Finn Mortensen, and from 1976-78 a fulltime student at the same academy under the same Professor Mortensen on the subject of composition. Graduated with a diploma in composition in 1978.

In 1982 a grant from the Norwegian Government made it possible to attend summer programs in the USA. He first went to Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston where he studied “Techniques of Computer Sound Synthesis” under Professor Barry Vercoe. Some of the basic material on the tapes used in the multimedia/music-theater work “The Window” was made at MIT.

He then studied arranging and composing for the jazz combo at Stanford University of California under Stan Getz and Lanny Morgan. In 1986/87 back as a student at the Norwegian State Academy of Music on pedagogical subjects. Graduated in the summer of 1987.

Guttorm Kittelsen is known for his diversity and stylistic breadth. He has in addition to his flute playing also worked as an electric bass player and guitarist. He has shown interest in a lot of musical styles, what comes in handy especially when working in a theater. He has been playing in wind quintets, symphonic bands and orchestras, rock bands, big bands, cabarets, theater music, ballet music, church music and others. The styles have changed from baroque to contemporary, from rock to jazz. This is typical when one works as a freelance composer and musician.

Kittelsen has been working as a musician and composer at the National Theater in Oslo, most frequently in the years between 1976 and 1982. He also works as a composer, studio musician and arranger in Norwegian TV and radio, in recording companies and with different artists, works that are not listed.

Guttorm Kittelsen has always been a member of different groups. He was the founder and regular member of the contemporary group OCTOBAND, which combines elements from contemporary music, jazz and rock.

Two of his major works are written for the group, one being the multimedia/music-theater work “The Window, the other “Movements II-version”. The last mentioned, a flute concerto with percussion and “live electronics” is released on the LP: “Octoband” (AURORA AR 1903, Norwegian Music Production Ltd. (NMP) - 1986).

From 1983-1998 he taught guitar, electric bass and theory at the Asker Kommunale Musikkskole (Asker Communal Music School). The composer gave the music lessons in his home where he runs his own electronic music studio based on a computer, hard disk recording and MIDI-components, analog synthesizers, amplified guitars etc.

Also the music of Guttorm Kittelsen reflects his stylistic diversity. His early works number two large-scale sacred music works, “Credo” and “Kyrie”. Beyond this, his production includes other orchestral music, two midi-based ballets, multimedia and compositions employing electronic effects, such as “Movements II-version”, as well as music for ensembles and bands, several short pieces for various instruments and electronic music. He is also writing for and working in a duo with his wife, Karin Heistø Kittelsen, who is engaged as principal piccolo flutist in the Norwegian Opera Orchestra, as well as in a new trio with vocals, guitars, basses, pianos and synths.

A number of his compositions have been performed through the years, and he has been touring abroad. Kittelsen has been awarded a number of prizes for his compositions. The multimedia/theatre-work “The Window” won two prizes in the “International New Music Composers Competition” in the USA: In 1988 he received the “Award of Merit”, and in 1990 he won first prize in the category “Outstanding Original Achievement” for the work. In 1990 he also received first prize for “Concert Piece for Symphonic Band & Percussion” in the “11th International Competition for Original Composition for Band” in Italy.

He has written a comprehensive book on compositional techniques (1978) based on 12-tone technique and serialism. He frequently uses the theories from this book in his own works. In parts of the multimedia/music-theater work “The Window”, chords, structures and melodic lines are derived from the theories discussed in the book. His “String Quartet in 4 Movements” and “Metamorphosis for 2 Accordions” are entirely based on ideas from the book.

Since 1987 Guttorm Kittelsen receives as a composer guarantee wages from the Norwegian Government. He has therefore from that year dedicated himself primarily to composing.

The largest work he has been working on lately is a 45-min. long ballet scored for a full symphonic orchestra, the title being “Alle løper efter lykken, lykken løper efter” (“For each one’s chasing happiness, but happiness is always just behind”). The idea for the work is taken from Bertolt Brecht’s text to the 3. verse of “The Song About Inadequacy” from the 3. act of “The Three Penny Opera”. The work was a commission from The Norwegian National Opera.

Kittelsen is currently working on a 30-min. composition for 6 percussion players and live electronics commissioned by the Norwegian Percussion Society.

Share the story on:
                    |     More


New acquisitions from the National Library (sheet music)

MIC-pages is managed by Aslak Oppebøen
Tel: +47 90175338 ·