THE SHORT VERSION
The norwegian composer Frank Tveor Nordensten (1955) grew up in Fredrikstad, a small town south of Oslo. He began to compose at the age of 13, about 2 years after he started taking piano lessons. He won several awards while still in his teens and had considerable success as an organ recitalist and champion of rare and avant garde music. He entered the State Academy of Music in Oslo in 1975 and graduated as organist i 1979 and then, in 1981, with a diploma in composition. He studied with Finn Mortensen whose intellectual and musical capacity provided great inspiration and encouragement. ("Finn is still the only person I've met who could read a full score and enjoy it as others enjoy listening to a CD") Later he studied orchestration and conducting with Arvid Fladmoe (a much neglected capacity on practical musicianship) and also briefly with Willem Fr. Bon in the Netherlands.
Nordensten received commissions from the Society of Norwegian Composers, The Norwegian New Music Society, Rikskonsertene, The State Music Council, The Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, the Trondheim Symphony Orchestra, The ULTIMA Oslo Contemporary Music Festival, Bergen International Festival, the Norwegian Broadcasting Corp., the Norwegian State Opera; from many important ensembles such as Saxofon Concentus, the Norwegian Winds and Trittico, as well as from a number of distinguised soloists and institutions
THE LONG VERSION
Born in Fredrikstad 1955, he began his study of the piano at the age of eleven and was encouraged to pursue a recital career. By the age of sixteen, however, he had developed such a compelling interest in the church organ that his studies became concentrated on that instrument. Nordensten feels that possibly the broad tonal pallette of the organ provided the impetus to compose and resulted in his independent acquisition and persistent study of scores and recordings of leading, and in particular obscure and neglected, composers. He regards these early influences as being of the greatest importance with regard to his artistic integrity. His juvenilia include three brilliant piano sonatas and several organ works. Nordensten's style soon grew rather avant-garde, but since his output has always been characterized by natural emotion it is no great wonder that he could produce the remarkable orchestral piece 'Kakafonia' while still in his teens. Since almost all his works up to 1980 are long and requiring unusual combinations of instruments, none but a handful, sadly, have been performed.
Nordensten entered the Norwegian State Academy of Music in 1975 and having already completed his organ studies joined the composition class in 1979, where he studied under the inspiring professor Finn Mortensen. Symphony no.2, his largest work to date, brought him his diploma in 1981. While this work is a good example of how his style matured during the late seventies, it is also a good example of how he has always managed to let his personality shine through, regardless of stylistic inflection. He pursued further studies in orchestration and conducting with Arvid Fladmoe and also briefly with composer/conductor Willem Fr. Bon in the Netherlands. Bon, a champion of his 2nd symphony, and a potential vitamin injection to his career, introduced him to Bax's music only months before his untimely death. Already possessing good knowledge and admiration of british music (his 2nd symphony is dedicated to William Walton), Bax's music nevertheless made a huge impression on him. "Very few composers can match Bax' ability to bridge artistic inpiration and expression, heart and brain."
A lone hunter, Nordensten has never been able to work in the foreign atmosphere of public studios, so in order to express himself through electroacoustic music he was more or less forced to establish his own electronic studio in 1982, which he has maintained and expanded since. Always fascinated by technology he was among the first in Norway to use personal computers in music. Not as an aid in composing music, but as a tool for developing sonic resources and feedback research.
While he still feels it's important to his composing to maintain his skills as a performing musician (he's occationally heard as soloist on the organ and piano), he also devotes much of his time to computer programming and the study of computing issues in general. Among other things, in 1991 he programmed a series of algorithmic MIDI composition and improvisation software modules for the Apple Macintosh personal computers, several of which were used to produce such compelling electronic poems as "The Gargoyles's View" and "Who Cares."
Nordensten received commissions from the Society of Norwegian Composers, The Norwegian New Music Society, Rikskonsertene, The State Music Council, The Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, the Trondheim Symphony Orchestra, The ULTIMA Oslo Contemporary Music Festival, Bergen International Festival, the Norwegian Broadcasting Corp., the Norwegian State Opera; from many important ensembles such as Saxofon Concentus, the Norwegian Winds and Trittico, as well as from a number of distinguised soloists and institutions.