Norwegian Eivind Buene (b. 1973) is a true chameleon - he is comfortable in many different artistic worlds and expressions, creating music that lives in-between classical notation and modern improvisation with excursions to both the pop and literary worlds.

Educated at the Norwegian Academy of Music and residing in Oslo, he was previously composer-in-residence for the Oslo Sinfonietta. Since 2000 he has worked as a freelance composer alongside his work as both a critic and fiction writer.

Buene has written for a wide range of both national and international ensembles and orchestras, and his music has been performed at prestigious venues such as Carnegie Hall, Berlin Philharmonie and Center Pompidou. Since 2015, Buene has been an assistant professor at the Norwegian Academy of Music.

In addition to writing and composing music for soloists, ensembles and orchestras, Buene is often involved in collaborations of a more experimental and improvisational nature.

At NJORD 2020, Buene is represented by his VIOLINKONCERT (2013), performed in a slimmed down version for sinfonietta.


Kaija Saariaho (born 1952) is one the most significant composers of our time. Her music is characterised by transparent, organic and expressive soundscapes – often created combining electronic compositions with acoustic music.

Before Saariaho became a composer she was a student of music and art. Hence, the intersection between these art forms has always been an important fixture in her oeuvre. Often she draws inspiration from outside the realm of music – be it in the night sky, nature, art or literature.

Saariaho is known for combining acoustic and electronic music focusing on sound and timbre, and her works reaches across genres into the visual arts, dance and theatre.

Kaija Saariaho studied composition by Paavo Heininen at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, with Brian Ferneyhough at Freiburg Musikhochschule and at IRCAM in Paris, where she has been living since 1982.

Kaija Saariaho has received a number of awards and prizes for her music including the Nordic Counsel Music Prize in 2000, the American Grawemeyer Composition Award, one of the most prestigious awards in the world, in 2003, Musical America Composer of the year 2008, the Léonie Sonning Music Prize in 2011, awarded to her at a concert with Danish National Symphony Orchestra, and in 2013 the Polar Music Prize alongside Senegalese singer and politician Youssou N’Dour.

At NJORD 2020, Kaija Saariaho will be represented in the opening concert THE SOUND OF THE ARCTIC.


For five decades, Lasse Thoresen Norwegian composer, Lasse Thoresen (b.1949) has composed works deeply rooted in the Nordic folk tradition and has carved out a career as a virtuosic innovator in this field.

Lasse Thoresen has sought inspiration from folk music, French spectral music, the father of musique concrete Pierre Schaeffer and the American composer Harry Partch and has been described as a composer of contradictions. With his compositions, which include chamber music, symphonies and vocal works, he has demonstrated an exceptional breadth of style as well as the ability to unify the seemingly non-unifiable.

Unique folk harmonies and rhythms mix together with the European avantgarde as he time after time composes groundbreaking works, which both challenge and mirror conventions in western art music in an unconventional manner.

Central to Thoresen's work is the exploration of music as a form of articulation. 

Complex sound structures and varied sources of inspiration develop in Thoresen's hands into an experience which professes something universal about man's existence, spirit and nature. An undercurrent of untapped natural power and a sensitivity to the spiritual dimensions of man can be found in all of his works.

Lasse Thoresen is a professor of composition at Norges Musikkhøgskole, where he has taught composition, sonology and electro-acoustic music since 1975.

He has received both national and international recognition and a number of prizes such as the Norwegian Society of Composers’ ”Composition of the Year” award in 1981, 1992, 1994, the kritikerpris in 1987, Prix Italia, Prix Jacques DURAND and in 2010 he was awarded the prestigious Nordic Music Prize for his cutting-edge work with vocal technicians and the vocal sextet, Nordic Voices, for his Vocal Sextet op.42.

At NJORD Biennale 2020, Lasse Thoresen is the festival's composer of the year and will therefore be represented on countless occasions.



The Faroese composer Sunleif Rasmussen (b. 1961) grew up on the island of Sandoy and is perhaps the Faroe Islands' most recognized composer. The Faroe Islands and the North Atlantic's nature seem synonymous with his music, which evokes associations with lyme grass, the Atlantic's salty sea air and wind-blown shores. 

Also inherent to Rasmussen's music are traces of colonial times, cultural history and especially Faroese folk music, which Rasmussen manages to revive into new forms. His compositions often follow a natural complexity, combining elements from both jazz and folklore as well as elements from the electro-acoustic and spectral music traditions.

Rasmussen is the first and so far the only Faroese composer to have received the Nordic Council Music Prize. He received it in 2002 for his symphony Oceanic Days. Rasmussen studied in Norway and at the Royal Danish Academy of Music.

Sunleif Rasmussen will be represented during Saturday's programme at the NJORD Biennale 2020.

NJORD | Jan 30 – Feb 02 2020 | Copenhagen

NJORD is Copenhagen's biennale for new Nordic music and art. The biennale brings together composers, visual artists, musicians, poets, and directors in Nordic collaboration on a number of cross-artistic projects.