Alfred Janson

Norwegian pianist and composer Alfred Janson was born in Oslo on 10 March 1937. Following a background in jazz, he began, from 1962 onwards, to work with notated music, and quickly became recognised on the contemporary music scene for works such as November 1962 for piano, Vuggesang (Lullaby, 1963, for soprano and strings) and the ballet Mot solen written for the Bergen International Festival in 1969. In 1966 Konstruksjon og hymne won the prize for the best non-Dutch work at the Bilhoven Festival.

He chose contemporary political subjects for his works, such as A Baghdad Blues (Not for Blair, Not for Bush) for string orchestra (2003), and is one of the few Norwegian composers for which a demonstration has been held against the performance of one of his works - Interlude for Orchestra and Accordion, written to salute Arne Treholt, the former Norwegian politician convicted in 1985 of espionage for the Soviet Union.

In 1991 he was composer in residence at the Bergen International Festival and at the Oslo Chamber Music Festival.

His works continued to show the influence of his jazz background, such as Passacaglia vendetta (2000) for large jazz band, strings, solo trumpet and accordion.

One of his most frequently performed works is the Sonnet No 76 for choir and solo voice (2000), commissioned by the Norwegian Soloists' Choir.

In 2014 trumpet player Tine Thing Helseth performed Janson's trumpet concerto, Variations over Variations on a Norwegian folk tune, which is based on Grieg's Ballade in G minor, Op 24.

Alfred Janson won a number of awards, the most recent of which was the Arne Nordheim Composer's Prize in 2016.

He died on 19 May 2019, aged eighty-two.

 

 

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