Torstein Aagaard-Nilsen

Torstein Aagaard-Nilsen


• Born 1964


Norwegian composer Torstein Aagaard-Nilsen, born in 1964, is a trained brass player and spends a great deal of time working as a conductor of bands and wind ensembles, so it seems altogether natural that his catalog of compositions should feature band and brass ensemble music, not perhaps to the exclusion of other genres, but certainly with the result that his efforts in those other genres -- orchestral, non-wind chamber, vocal -- are largely overshadowed. Aagaard-Nilsen spent two years as a student of Manger Folk High School in the mid-'80s before attending the University of Bergen and the Bergen Conservatory (1986 - 1990). Upon graduation, he was active in the administration of the Norway branch of ISCM and, from 1992 to 1993, was an arranger/composer for the Norwegian Military Bands. In 1988, he returned to Manger Folk High School for a long tenure as a music teacher.

With titles like Arctic Funk (1991) and T-Rex! (1991), it is no surprise that Aagaard-Nilsen's music appeals to a large number of the younger generation of players and conductors. His band music efforts have taken two forms: pieces meant for professional players and works written for student or youth ensembles, some groups of which Aagaard-Nilsen himself directs. A number of good CD recordings featuring his brass and wind ensemble music surfaced in the late '90s and early 2000s, and with a few dozen such pieces already to his credit, the number of recordings seems likely to rise. He has also written several works for unaccompanied brass instrument such as trumpet and especially euphonium. Outside his chosen field of focus, namely brass and winds, Aagaard-Nilsen has been less prolific. There are, however, several works for solo instruments (Prologue for solo flute, 1993, and Hothouse for piano, 1993, are two examples). He has supplemented his body of brass concertos with one for cello and orchestra and has also set several Rolf Jacobsen texts to music for voice(s) and ensemble. Many of his works are published by Gobelin Music Publications and Nordic Sounds, Ltd.