Knut Vaage, born 1961, lives in Bergen where he works as a composer. He graduated as pianist and composer from Griegakademiet in Bergen. From the Norwegian Academy of Music he has received a professional certificate as a lecturer in composition.
Vaage has worked in different styles of music, though concentrating on improvised and contemporary music. Many of Vaage's projects have investigated the boundaries between improvisation and composed music. His music has been regularly performed on concerts and at festivals in Norway and abroad.
"Movements" for large sinfonietta is one of several works commissioned by the BIT 20 Ensemble. In "Movements", a classical formal idea is juxtaposed with a contemporary esthetical approach. In "Transit", commissioned by the French Department of Culture, Vaage makes a synthesis of West Norwegian tradition and French sophistication.This work was given its first performance by Ensemble Court-Circuit at the Ultima Festival in 1998. In his work "Hexa", written for the Ter Jung sextet, Vaage emphasises various symmetrical textures and formations, though the form of the work as a whole appears disjointed because of sudden stylistic changes.
"Continue" came into being in the course of a workshop hosted by the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra which performed the work in the Autumn of 1994. They also commissioned and premiered “Hidden Songs” in 2006. Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra premiered "Chaconne" for flute, harp and orchestra in 2000; they also gave first perfomances in 2005 of "Gardens of Hokkaido" for piano and orchestra and "Tjat" for orchestra. Vaages orchestral works also contents “Reflex”, premiered by the Orkester Norden, and “Cyclops”, premiered by the Trondheim Symphony Orchestra. From his list of works for wind instruments one can mention "Graffiti" for brass band and "Breaking another Wall" for wind ensemble. “Graffiti” was premiered by the Edvard price in 2003. Much of Vaages music have been released on CD.
OPERA, MUSIC THEATRE AND VOCAL WORKS
The opera "Nokon kjem til å komme" is based on the Jon Fosse play of the same name. The work was premiered at the Ultima – Oslo Contemporary Music Festial in the autumn of 2000 and received rave reviews internationally. The opera has been released on CD. His full scale opera, "Khairos", is developed with the librettist Torgeir Rebolledo Pedersen and commissioned by Den Norske Opera & Ballet. Rebolledo Pedersen also wrote the libretto for "Veslefrikk", an opera in one act aimed for the whole family was premiered September 2010, produced by Den Nye Opera. "Veslefrikk" won the ARTE audience awards for the best production at Armel Opera Competition and Festival 2010.
Knut Vaage's collaboration with writers has led to a number of works including "Ei skapingssoge" based on poems by Erling Indreeide, "Tapt slag" to texts by Hanne Bramness, "Endelig" to six poems by Ove Røsbak, and the song cycle "Eg strøyer mine songar ut" to poems by the composer's grandfather, Ragnvald Vaage. In 2010 Collegium Musicum premiered his “Song of Solomon” for soprano, baritone, choir and orchestra. Vaage has also composed incidental music for theatre productions, including a production of "Peer Gynt" by Hordaland Theatre and a production of "Hvite djevler" (Jon Webster) by Den Nationale Scene in Bergen.
With the trio JKL, Vaage was an early explorer of the boundaries between improvisation and composition. The tension created between acoustic instruments and electronics was an important part of their style. JKL has released one CD. His work with improvisation continues with the band Fat Battery.
The propagation of contemporary music for a wider audience forms an important part of Vaage's compositional activity. He has participated in the two Norwegian Concert Institute projects "PreSens" and "Bryt Lydmuren" aimed at children and teenagers, while his multimedia concert "Tid som renn - Tid som flyt" includes parts for local choirs and orchestras. "ArcoLogi" for string ensemble has been composed with young performers in mind. ”Frisk pust” was initiated by Norsk Musikkorpsforbund and the composer Torstein Aagaard-Nilsen to make young wind players meet contemporary composers. For this project he wrote ”Lydfabrikken” for wind band.
Knut Vaage has served as a board member of the composers' group of Ny Musikk, the Norwegian branch of the ISCM, and the Norwegian Society of Composers. He has in addition led a local division of Ny Musikk in Bergen, where he was also director of the Autunnale festival. He has also been leader for the concert series Avgarde in Bergen.