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Terje Isungset

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Terje Isungset
Born (1964-05-04) 4 May 1964 (age 55)
Hol, Norway
GenresJazz, Scandinavian traditional
Occupation(s)Musician, composer
InstrumentsDrums, percussion

Terje Isungset (born May 4, 1964 Hol, Norway) is a Norwegian musician (primarily as a percussionist) and composer. From his background in jazz and traditional Scandinavian music, he has designed musical instruments from non-traditional materials, including ice. [1][2][3]


Isungset with Agbaland at Nattjazz, May 30, 2015
Isungset with Agbaland at Nattjazz, May 30, 2015
Isungset and Arve Henriksen performing glass music at Victoria, 2015
Isungset and Arve Henriksen performing glass music at Victoria, 2015
Isungset with glass drums at Victoria, December 2015
Isungset with glass drums at Victoria, December 2015
Isungset with glass instruments at Victoria, December 2015
Isungset with glass instruments at Victoria, December 2015

Isungset was raised in Geilo where he played traditional dance music with his father (accordion) during his high school days. Moving to Bergen in 1984 led him to be a popular member of a number of Bergen groups, such as Ictus and Tordenskjolds soldater (1984–85), Growl and Gruv (1984-88), Saksbehandlerne and Night and Day (1985–86), Salsa Pati (1985–87), and Supply (1985–88), in addition to periods within the Big Band Emanon from 1986, and his recording debut Amalgamation (1985) with Kenneth Sivertsen.[2]

Isungset is, after more than two decades on the jazz scene, one of Europe's most accomplished and innovative percussionists. With more than 25 years experience in jazz and Scandinavian traditional music he raises these narrow forms of music far beyond their traditional boundaries, becoming more like a crossover between a sound artist and a shaman. When crafting his own instruments from Norwegian natural elements such as arctic birch, granite, slate, sheep bells and even ice, he is highly recommended to those sensible to the poetry and simplicity of sounds.[3][4]

His work is highly acclaimed in the press, often described as innovative, visual, energetic, and different from any previously known concepts. His love for ice music was raised in 1999 when the commission of the winterfestival at Lillehammer asked him to compose and play in a frozen waterfall.[5] He has invented the concept of icemusic, and also invented a way to perform icemusic indoor in ordinary concert halls, doing around 50 indoor ice concerts every year. CNN calls Isungset the first and only icemusician in the world.[6]

Isungset has been commissioned to compose music for jazz festivals, dance performances, theatre, and film, with 41 commissioned concerts.[3]

He has released ten solo albums and is now doing most of his work internationally. Solo concerts, with his band or in collaboration with other artists. In 2006 he had the idea of creating an icemusic festival and started the Ice Music Festival at Geilo, Norway organized by Pål Knutsson Medhus. He is also the founding manager of the record label All Ice Records.

His most recent project is the Glassmusic[7] together with Arve Henriksen. They released an album named World of Glass in late 2014. The recordings were largely made in front of a live audience in Tallinn. All the instruments were made from glass by students from the Estonian Academy of Arts.[8][9]

He is a member of the bandsGroupa (Sweden), Utla and Isglem. He has ongoing duos with Per Jørgensen, Arve Henriksen, Sissel Vera Pettersen, Didier Petit, Therese Skauge, Jorma Tapio and Stian Westerhus.

For the 2017 Vossajazz festival,[10] Isungset was commissioned to compose new music for a new band.

Isungset is also an associate professor at the Grieg Academy, University of Bergen.



  • 2010: Organic expressions, project with three dancers (Rebecca Hytting, Guro Rimeslåtten, Christine Kjellberg) from the Carte Blanche Dance Company
  • 2012: Isslottet, at the Oslo Opera and Ballet


Solo albums

  • 1997: Reise (NorCD)
  • 2000: Floating Rhythms (Via Music)
  • 2002: Iceman Is (All Ice Records) (Jazzland/Virgin), with Arve Henriksen[12]
  • 2003: Middle of Mist (NorCD)
  • 2006: Igloo (All Ice Records), nominated for Spellemannprisen in the class Jazz, with Sidsel Endresen
  • 2007: Two Moons (All Ice Records), with Per Jørgensen
  • 2008: Ice Concerts (All Ice Records)
  • 2009: Hibernation (All Ice Records)
  • 2010: Winter Songs (All Ice Records)
  • 2014: World Of Glass (All Ice Records), with Arve Henriksen
  • 2015: Meditations (All Ice Records)
  • 2015: Terje Isungset & Stian Westerhus (All Ice Records), with Stian Westerhus
  • 2015: "Isslottet" (All Ice Records)
  • 2016: "Oase" Terje Isungset & Sissel Vera Pettersen (All Ice Records)
  • 2015: Collected Works (All Ice Records)

Collaborative works

With Kenneth Sivertsen
Within Karl Seglem's Sogn-A-Song
Within Isglem (duo with Karl Seglem)
  • 1991: Rom (NorCD)
  • 1992: To Steg (NorCD)
  • 1996: Null G (NorCD)
  • 2003: Fire (NorCD)
  • 2016: "Femte" (NorCD)
Within Orleysa, fest. Tore Brunborg
Within Utla (including Håkon Høgemo and Karl Seglem)
  • 1992: Utla (NorCD)
  • 1993: Juv (NorCD)
  • 1995: Brodd (NorCD)
  • 1999: Dans (NorCD)
  • 2003: Song (NorCD), feat. Berit Opheim Versto
Within Groupa (including Jonas Simonson and Mats Edén)
  • 1999: Lavalek (Xource)
  • 2008: Frost (Footprint)
  • 2014: Silent Folk (Footprint)
  • 2016: "Kind of folk,vol1. Sweden. (All Ice Records)
With other projects

Compositions by Terje Isungset: Floating Rhythms Molde International Jazzfestival 10 musicians & 2 dancers 1999

Ein neger på Nes stasjon TV2 - Norway. Documentary film. Arve Henriksen & T.Isungset 1999

Under is Vinterspillene Lillehammer Performed in a frozenwaterfall. 17 musicians & dancers. 2000

Nature and Technology EXPO2000Hannover.Germany.Opening concert. World Exhibition. Composed by Reidar Skår & T Isungset. 7 musicians. 2000

Tre European Culture City Bergen. Nattjazz. 6 musicians, men's choir & 3 dancers. 2000

Kela 2000 European CultureCities. Reykjavik,Helsinki,Bergen Modern dance company by Reio Kela 2000

Livets virkelige risiko Det Norske Teater-Oslo. Contemporary dance by Hege Tvedt 2001

Ingen veit kvar haren hoppar Vossajazz 100 performers. 2002

Midt i mellom blå Festspillene, Bergen 50 years anniversary. 1 symphony orchestra, 1000 children & all church bells of Bergen 2002

Rhythm Doctors Nattjazz/Bajazz Electronics, mouth harp, voices, dancers, skateboarders, BMX, scratch, rap, break dancers, baseballs, pyro etc. 2002

Olje Håkonshallen-Bergen. Statoil 30 years Based on sounds from worlds biggest Oil Rig .. 2002

Nett No Det Norske Teater-Oslo. Modern dance/ballet by Kjersti Alveberg 2002

Iceman is Autunnale festivalen-Bergen Icemusic on tape. 2002

Dumme Konger og grimme Troll Den Nasjonale Scene-Bergen Music for Theatre 2002

Stemningar Odda Culture House 50 years annirversay.90 musicians age 3 till 75 years. 2003

Skogsklang Lørenskog Sommerfestival Performed in the forest.30 kids & dancers. 2003

Jotne Sunndal Kulturfestival Performed inside a mountain. In a power station. 2003

Vox Nattjazz-Bergen. 8 singers and band 2004

Emperors new clothes Old Bristol Vic Theatre-England Music for Theatre 2004

Isens livsløp Swedish TV1 Documentary film of the Ice Hotel – Sweden 2004

Rhythm keepers Vinterfestuka Narvik Performed with an electric band in a locomotive station. 2005

Vardø Vardø/Finnmark 1000 Years. Choir, singer & band. Outdoors concert. 2005

Fly Moers Jazzfestival -Germany Opening Concert. Based on bird sounds in surround system. Electronics, singers, dancers,100 flute players, video& helicopter. 2006

4 Moods Brass Wind Festival - Norway A piece for Mouth Harp & Brass Band. 2006

Global Ice Opening of World Environments Day.(Nobel Peace Centre - Oslo) Icehorn, Voice, Water and Ice sounds on CD. 2007

OI OI Festspillene Bergen. (Bølgen og Moi) Making food while playing on the food. 2007

Varm is Bergen Domkirke Percussion, Ice on CD, dance. 2007

Tider Church Jubile Choir, Piano & Percussion 2007

Mellom fjell For the Osa Festival. Strings, voices, trumpet, bass, drums. 2007

Motorsagmassasjen Festspillene I Bergen Chain saw, Circular saw, hand saw, axe, hardanger fiddle, mouth harp & voice. 2008

Fossekall Concert in a waterfall in Hardanger. Chello, hardanger fiddle, trumpet, voice, drums, mouth harp & dancer.. 2008

Norwegian Wood Opening of conference. Performing on tools. 2008

Cinderella The Lyric Theatre – London –England. Composer & artistic director. 2008

Runde Opening of Runde environments center - Norway. Recordings of the sea & the birds at Runde + rams horn & mouth harp 2009

Water Festspillene I Bergen Sub Marines, sounds of Whales, Singers under water and band "2009

" Winter Bright Night at Opera North, Leeds-England. Icemusic made in surround 2009

Stork Segni d'Infanzia festival – Italy. Recordings of birds, glass and percussion in surround system 2010

Ladegården 150. Ladegården kindergarden, Bergen – 150 years. Sounds of children, water,ice, mouth harp and rams horns. 2011

Karsikko Flow Productions – Finland. Contemporary dance company. Rams horn, mouth harp,drums,percussion & voice – all made in a surround system. 2011

Is-slottet The Norwegian National Ballet Violin, voices, percussion, ice,piano. 2012

Fedrelandet Documentary film TV 2 Arve Henriksen & Terje Isungset 2012

Bodypods: “Fingers” Podcast for The Guardian, Timeout and Fuel Theatre. Isungset using his fingers in cooperation with scientist. 2012

Moon Meditations Comissed concert for Icemusicfestival-Geilo. 6 icehorns, icelur, icetrumpet, iceharp, ice cello, ice percussion, icedrums, voices and surround sound system. 2014

Meditations CD with recordings from the South Pole, North Pole, Greenland, Canada, Russia, Sweden, Norway and glaciers in Europe. Icehorns, icepercussion, iceofone, trumpet, bass, voice, viola & electronics in cooperation with Reidar Skår. 2015

World of Glass Tallinn 2011 Capital of Culture. Glass instruments and music composed by Arve Henriksen & Terje Isungset. 2015 Sildrande Vossajazz 2017.


  1. ^ Isungset bio
  2. ^ a b "Isungset, Terje - Biography" (in Norwegian). Norsk Musikkinformasjon 2011-03-21. Retrieved 2012-12-09.
  3. ^ a b c "Terje Isungset Drummer, Composer - Directory". Retrieved 2012-12-09.
  4. ^ "The music that melted". BBC Radio 4. 2011-02-08. Retrieved 2012-12-09.
  5. ^ Eikeland, Else Berit (January 2012). "The coolest music on earth" (PDF). Norwegian Embassy. Retrieved 2012-12-09.
  6. ^ CNN: "Chilling out with the world's only icemusician"
  7. ^ "Glassmusic Homepage". Glassmusic Project. Archived from the original on 4 January 2015. Retrieved 8 January 2015.
  8. ^ "Terje Isungset and Arve Henriksen - World of Glass (All Ice Records 1409. CD Review by Peter Jones)". London Jazz News. 30 December 2014. Retrieved 8 January 2015.
  9. ^ "Madli-Liis Parts' video of World of Glass / Tallinn 2011". Madli-Liis Parts. Retrieved 8 January 2015.
  10. ^ 2017 Vossajazz
  11. ^ Financial Times: "First person"
  12. ^ Talkington, Fiona (2003-03-05). "Terje Isungset Iceman Is Review". BBC Music. Retrieved 2012-12-09.

External links

Preceded by
Harald Dahlstrøm
Recipient of the Vossajazzprisen
Succeeded by
Frank Jakobsen
Preceded by
Gisle Kverndokk
Recipient of the Open class Edvardprisen
Succeeded by
Alfred Janson
This page was last edited on 5 March 2020, at 01:25
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