Geir Johnson - Biography

Geir Johnson (b.1953) composer, conductor, organizer, lecturer, has a varied musical background, having performed both as a rock singer in new wave bands of the 1970`s, as well as having conducted amateur choirs and ensembles. Furthermore, he conducted and produced a series of larger music events during the 1980`s, of works by both Norwegian and internationally recognised composers. Presently (1998) he is busy establishing a new multi-art performance group called The Trash Ensemble.

Johnson is largely self-taught as composer, although he has studied at CCRMA, Stanford University in 1988, and has worked closely with numerous musicians. His work list contains more than 50 works, mostly written since the 1990`s. Among them is a series of solo works written for specific performers, such as two solo vocal pieces, pieces for solo violin, for solo cello a for solo percussion and tape. Stylistically speaking, in his own music, he is not so concerned about writing in a specific style or belonging to a certain aesthetic "school", as he finds excitement in establishing a space within the piece of music for the unexpected event. Often, one may find an element of metacomposition in his works, be it comments on other works, the use of extramusical materials such as graphic scores or studies of new ways of playing. The use of text or a literary reference is often a part of his compositions. HiBens music has been played in many countries. most notably can be mentioned his long collaboration with sculpturer Marit Benthe Norheim (
For many years he was also activley running a crossover performance group with dancers, musicians and writers, called The Trash Ensemble.

Between 1989-1995 he was President of Ny Musikk, the Norwegian section of ISCM. Geir Johnson has published essays, articles and reviews, mostly on issues connected to the contemporary music scene, in more than 80 journals and newspapers worldwide. He has also lectured widely, both in Europe and Asia.

Johnson has been active in the field of concert planning and management, by establishing and running ensembles, festivals and opera companies in both Bergen and Oslo. Between 1998 - 2009 he was the Artistic Director of Ultima - Oslo Contemporary Music Festival. In 2002 he established Parkteatret, a concert hall in Oslo which presents some 250 concerts, film nights and other cultural events annually. In 2005 he was the initiator behind the music exchange project Transposition between Vietnamese and Norwegian music institutions, a project which is still active.

In 2002, Geir Johnson received the Fegersten prize for his contribution to Norwegian music.

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