Helge Sunde - Biography

Helge Sunde ler (Foto: Christine Gullhav)

Helge Sunde was born 9.6.1965 (Carl Nielsens 100th anniversary day), and throughout the last 25 years he has enjoyed a career as a very versatile composer and performing musician.

The recent years he has concentrated his energy towards “Ensemble Denada” for which he has written over 20 works. These are released on the albums “Denada” (ACT 2006) and “FindingNymo” (ACT 2009).

His orchestra and chamber music are to be found on the album “Rotations” (Aurora 2006) recorded by a.o. the Norwegian Radio Orchestra, Ensemble Ernst and Saxofon Concentus.

At the Norwegian State Academy of Music, Sunde studied composition under Olav Anton Thommessen, Bjørn Kruse, Lasse Thoresen and Alfred Janson, graduating with a diploma. He completed his studies in 1995 by releasing the CD compilation “Absolute Pling Plong” together with seven of his co-students.

As an arranger, Sunde has worked with a lot of Norwegian and international artists in projects with symphonyorchestras. Especially the concerts with Farmers Market and the Norwegian Radio Orchestra is worth noticing. Javid Asfari Rad and Real Group with the same orchestra are also favorites among the more than 100 titles from his cooperation with this particular orchestra.

Sunde produced and “sound-designed” the disputed 2000 Simax release “Remembrance” that featured pop/rock vocalist Øivind “Elg” Elgenes and Grete Helle Rasmussen’s renditions of classical repertoir a.o. Schubert and Alban Berg pieces who left the critics highly confused with reviews ranging from disaster to worship.

Sunde has served as a musical director for various big-bands such as the Sandvika Storband, Prime Time Orchestra and also Bærum Musikk og Danseteater (BærMuDa – Bærum Music and Dance Theatre). He was also responsible for the Idol TVshows´ bigband nights. He has conducted several orchestraprojects such as “Symphonic Django” with Kristiansand Symphony Orchestra both on recording and the last tour at “Cirque d´Hiver” in Paris. As a performing musician, Sunde is frequently featured in the role of lead trombonist and jazzsoloist with such ensembles/big-bands as Listening Ensemble, EnsembleDenada, LaDescarga, Sharp Nine, Ophelia Orchestra, a.o.
He has also been at the british top 10 list with Motorpsycho (Walking with J) and tours frequently with Mory Kanté Electric Band.

With fellow Norwegian State Academy of music students, Sunde formed the Oslo Groove Company which won a Spellemannspris – a Norwegian Grammy – in 1990. 1992 saw Sunde representing Norway in the Munich-based EBU big-band as a trombonist and composer. As a freelancer or contracted worker, Sunde has worked with the Norwegian Radio Orchestra, the Staff Band of the Norwegian Armed Forces and Det Norske Teatret. In addition to his main instrument, Sunde is also adept at most brass instruments as well as some reeds, piano, keyboards and synths.

As a teacher, Sunde was formerly employed by the Norwegian State Academy of Music at the institution’s jazz, trombone, composition and arrangement classes. He has also taught at the University of Oslo, the Agder University College and he has been a guest lecturer at the acclaimed jazz course at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim.

He was earlier involved in several youthproject a.o. at the Ultima Festival in Oslo and the Magma Festival in Berlin 2002. For the time being he is not involved in any educational projects due to his tight schedule as a composer and touring musician and ensembleleader.

Recent projects:

  • 2007: “Alvilde” for the Hamsunfestival at Hamarøy. MinEnsemble with choir and soloists.
  • 2008: “Farven” for the ValenFestival with Arve Henriksen and the Harald Fairhair Chamer Orchestra with choir; a mixture of Henriksen, Valen and Sunde.
  • 2009: “AbsolutePingPong” for the BrassWindFestival2009, The Norwegian Army Band, Bergen with percussion-soloists (Woodblockfestival…).

New record; Ensemble Denada “Finding Nymo” (ACT)
MIC.NO 2009
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