Photo: Sidsel Jørgensen

Sverre Eftestøl - Biography

Sverre Eftestøl (born March 11th 1952 in Kristiansand) grew up in Kvinesdal (Southern Norway) in a family steeped in with rich traditions of Norwegian folk music and traditional painting (rosemaling) dating back to 1750. Self-taught he entered the Kristiansand Conservatory of Music in 1971, where he graduated in piano (1975) and church music (1982). He continued his piano studies with Professor Stanislav Knor in Oslo (1975-77), and has also studied composition with George Crumb (1992) and Mauricio Kagel (1994) at Mozarteum in Salzburg.

During his student years he earned a living teaching music, a.o. at the Kristiansand Conservatory and conducting choirs. With the exception of some study leaves he has worked as a composer, organist and Head of Music School in the municipality of Kvinesdal since 1977. He is also active as a folk musician, and his compositions are often influenced by this genre. As a musician he has toured for the Concerts Norway (Rikskonsertene).

In 1988 Eftestøl received the Kvinesdal Culture Prize while 1990 saw him being awarded the First Prize in the composition competition of the Norwegian Choral Association for the work Gullbostebarn. 2000 saw him awarded the Norwegian State travel grant, and the county of Vest-Agder’s grant for artists.

Sverre Eftestøl started his career as a composer at an early age; during his primary school years he composed a march for the local school-band. His versatile work list contains large scale works and projects, and a number of commissions for organ, piano, chamber music and orchestra. During the opening of the Cultural House in Kvinesdal (1985) and for the 150th Anniversary of Kvinesdal Church (1987), commissions of Eftestøl were performed. He composed the work Elvene (The Rivers) for narrator, tape and piano for the Kvinesdal Emigrant Festival 1990. One year later the sound sculpture Gjallarhorn was put up outside the Cultural House in Kvinesdal. At the 20th Anniversary of Kvinesdal Cultural School (1996) a number of his works were performed, a.o. How Like a Winter (sonet by W. Shakespeare), recorded on the CD Viva Voce!

The organ piece Seven Allegorical Pictures on the folk tune Kling no, klokka and the commissioned work Gaude! for choir, soloists and orchestra are widely regarded as his main works. The organ piece was written as homage to the English concert organist Christopher Herrick, and was premiered in Kingston Parish Church, London, in 1996. The piece has achieved great acclaim and is recorded at the Hyperion Records series Organ Fireworks IX. Gaude! was composed for the Kristiansand Cathedral 125th Anniversary in 2010.

As a composer Sverre Eftestøl has developed a personal style and his works have been performed in England, Germany, France, Austria, Poland, Switzerland, Estonia, USA and New Zealand. In particular, one should mention the performances at the Bach Anniversary 2000 in Nicolai-kirche Leipzig, at the symposium Scandinavia and the America’s Symposium of the College of Fine Arts (2004) at the University of South Dakota and during the City of London Festival (2009).

I 1996 he released the CD På gamle tufter (Lynor 9611) which features music composed and arranged by Sverre Eftestøl, and also features the composer as performing musician.

Sverre Eftestøl has composed music for pedagogical and amateur use, in addition to film music. Most of his works are published by the Music Information Centre Norway and Musikk-Husets Forlag AS.

MIC.NO 2011
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