Ketil Hvoslef (born 1939) studied the viola and organ at the Music Conservatory in Bergen, from which he graduated as an organist in 1962. Hvoslef continued his composition studies, first in Stockholm with Karl-Birger Blomdahl and Ingvar Lidholm, and later in London with Thomas Rajna and Henri Lazarof. From 1963-79 he taught ear training and theory at the Music Conservatory in Bergen.
Hvoslef is a versatile composer, his production consisting for the most part of instrumental compositions. It is difficult to classify his compositorical style because it differs with the task he is solving and the instruments he is writing for. His style has evolved from an almost neo-classical mode of expression to an intensely personal musical language,
characterised by great rhythmic ingenuity.
Hvoslef made his debut as a composer in 1964 with Concertino for Piano and Orchestra.
Amongst other compositions one could mention the symphonic poem Mi-Fi-Li, a series of solo concertos for piano, trumpet, double bass, bassoon, two for violin, two for cello, a double concerto for flute and guitar, a triple concerto for violin, cello and piano and large orchestral, a concerto for saxophone quartet and orchestra, in addition to orchestral works such as Concertino for Orchestra, Antigone and Il compleanno, the latter was written for the 220th anniversary of the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra.
Of his chamber music important works like Kvartoni, Clarinet Quintet, Sextet for Flute and Percussion, Serenata per archi and String Quartet No.III should be mentioned. His work also contains a number of works for solo instruments,among others five large works for organ, as well as music for the stage and TV productions.
Ketil Hvoslef has received the prize "Work of the Year" from the Norwegian Society of Composers four times: In 1978 for Concert for Choir and Chamber Orchestra, in 1980 for Concertino for Orchestra, in 1985 for Il compleanno and in 1992 for Serenata per archi. He was composer in residence at the Bergen International Festival in 1990.