Bernt Kasberg Evensen

Bernt Kasberg Evensen was born in Tønsberg in 1944. He composed his opus one Six Small Pieces for Piano at the age of eighteen. As a composer he is self-taught, although he studied for a short period at the Oslo Music Conservatory and at the music faculty at Oslo University in 1966.

Evensen has lead something of a nomadic life in the course of his career. In 1968 he was in Mexico, where he composed the Concerto giocoso for harp and orchestra, Sonata no. 2 for piano, La pintura perdida and Cinco miniaturas. After that he spent two years as a travelling salesman in electrical goods and in the autumn of 1970 moved to Scotland to take a course in health education and to work at the Camphill Rudolf Steiner Schools for children in need of special care. Here he taught mainly music, a fact which is reflected in the pieces written during this period, which include children's songs, canons etc. He built up a school orchestra for which he also wrote music; Evensen's children's opera The Lady of Shalott was given its first performance at the school. In 1973 he moved from Aberdeen to Lüneburg in Germany where he spent four years as a work therapist at the Psykiatrische Klinik Häcklingen.

From 1981 to 1985 Evensen worked at the Vidaråsen Village (part of the Camphill organisation) near Tønsberg; Vidaråsen is a small community comprising both mentally handicapped and 'normal' people whose life and work together is firmly rooted in an antroposophical fundament. From 1985 Evensen was once again resident in Germany, teaching music at the Rudolf Steiner School in Lübeck where he still lives. Since 1987 he has divided his time between his family and his composing.

In the period from 1976 to 1988 Bernt Kasberg Evensen worked for the School Concert Department of the Norwegian Concert Institute. With a number of his own productions and musical fairytales he travelled round the entire country giving some 1000 concerts during this period. Music presentation and performance is still an important aspect of Evensen's career; during the last ten years he has sung a number of solo recitals, his repertoire ranging from Schubert's Winterreise to Petterson's Barfotasånger, from Gershwin & Co to Kjerulf, Grieg etc. Evensen's compositional style grew out of a Norwegian tradition with French influences: Maurice Ravel was his great inspiration, though since the mid 1960s he has tried to find his place among the diversity of styles in the twentieth century. Evensen has employed twelve-tone techniques in the development of thematic material, though its further treatment is freer. Since 1982 he has on several occasions made use of Anny von Lange's so-called 'Planet scales' ('modal' scales with mirrored versions - from the note d, for example, two identical note rows can be constructed). One example of the use of this material is Tycho Brahe's Dream.

MIC / Translation: Andrew Smith 1999