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Knut Olaf Sunde is a composer and artistic researcher working with conceptual and site-oriented music, extended duration and immersive musical situations. His artistic PhD project Site Awareness In Music – recontextualizing a sensation of another place (Norwegian Academy of Music 2020) explores how context and site influence our perception and interpretation of music. Sunde often combines prerecorded acoustical instruments with processed, synthesized material and soundscapes. He is educated in Oslo and Gothenburg.


I work conceptually with place, siting and the context of music. I start every process with a conceptual and contextual reason for the the work. Music is never played in a vacuum. Music is dependent on a medium. The sound waves must have a material to be propagated in. Sound does not exist without space. Music is not played in a neutral zone, in a place uninfluenced and timeless. Nothing is neutral. Ever. Thus the context of creation and realization of music informs the creation itself as well as our sensory perception and interpretation of the result.

Given the significance of place and the sense of location has to our memory, I explore situating and created situations in what I mean by the term land music, where the conceptualizing of the music is informed by the site at which the music unfolds and engages in a relationship with the site. A key concept is being there, in extended durational and immersive situations. Musically, my work is marked by insisting harmonies, noise, ascheticism and slowly evolving monotony. I tend to combine prerecorded acoustical instruments, processed synthesizer material and soundscapes.

Earlier works include site-oriented works in acoustic landscapes, evening concerts and music for theater and film and map art. My works or contributions to works have been performed at own productions and a.o. Ultima, MoMA, CPH:DOX, Bergen International Festival, Det Norske Teateret Oslo and by ensembles like Aksiom, the Norwegian Radio Orchestra, Oslo Sinfonietta, Poing, Cikada String Quartet, Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra and Asamisimasa. Released three albums. The album Vertigo Room nominated to the prize Spellemannprisen 2018 in the category Contemporary music.

CV kosunde pdf (english)
CV kosunde pdf (no)



2014-2020Artistic PhD, Norwegian Academy of Music, Oslo and and DIKU Norwegian Artistic Research Programme. Viva Voce 14. Sep 2020.
2001-2005Postgraduate Diploma in Composition with Ole Lützow-Holm at Göteborg University, Sweden
1996-2000Cand. Mag Composition (Bachelor of arts) Norwegian Academy of Music, Oslo, Norway. Asbjørn Schaathun, Olav Anton Thommessen, Bjørn Kruse and Lasse Thoresen
1995-1996Cand. Mag Instrumental at the Norwegian State Academy of Music, Oslo, Norway
1995PPL-A Florida Institute of Technology, Melbourne, USA (pilot license)


2022Residency Castro Marim, Portugal as part of the project Particular Universal
2021-Assignments as seminar leader/lecture/moderator DIKU Norwegian Artistic Research Programme
2021Established, running topography studio AS to produce Big Ivan (now: Public Eye) and other projects
2020-Subject manager for sound art at the Norwegian Encyclopedia (Store Norske Leksikon) with several articles
2017Spatialisation workshop with Thibaut Carpentier (IRCAM) at NOTAM, Oslo, Norway
2017Course university pedagogy with Jon Helge Sætre, Norwegian Academy of Music (not completed)
2017Presentation Context of Music at conference EPARM Antwerpen, Belgium
2015Ambisonics workshop with Trond Lossius – BEK Bergen Centre for Electronic Art, Bergen, Norway
2013Programming, synthesis and signal processing in Max – course by NOTAM
2012-Map drawing on assignment from Aksjon bedre vei and Vegforum øst-vest
2011biKUBEN, initiative to and participatin in study on transformation of earlier bank building to a place for music and sound art.
2011Expo -74 – conference and workshop on Max/msp in New York
2011Technology and Aesthetics – symposium NOTAM, Oslo
2008-Running the label MERE records (by Karlstrøm&Sunde)
2008Sound in Theatre, seminar by METROFON with Lisbeth Bodd, Morten Cranner, Asle Nilsen, Henrik Hellstenius
2007Lives in Berlin
2006Work residence half year in New York, work residence "Gammel Have", Denmark
2006Open Music programming class, NOTAM
2005Report on alternative location for new GA airport for Oslo, ordrered by Kjeller Aerosenter
2000/200240. and 41. Internasjonale Ferienkurse für Neue Musik, Darmstadt
1999Stockhausen-Kurse in Kürten, Germany
1996-2004Lessons/mastercall/seminars with Gerald Bennett, Hanspeter Kyburz, Dieter Kaufmann, Salvatore Sciarrino, Brian Ferneyhough, Klaus Huber, Helmut Lachenmann, Julio Estrada, Jonathan Harvey, Michael Finnissy, Christoph Neidhöfer, Sven-David Sandström
1995-1996Private studies in composition with Henrik Hellstenius
1985-1996Tuba studies with Petter Sørvold, Bjørn Beverli, Torbjørn Kvist

PERFORMANCES (selection)

2023Himdalen film, Fringe Arts Bath – Radiant Objects, U.K.
2023Memory of Oblivion, Ny Musikk Only Connect, Trondheim
2020Mirnyj, Jakob kirke, Ny Musikk Periferien
2020Himdalen film, Ny Musikk Only Connect
2018Premiere Mirnyj, Jakob Kirke, Oslo, Norway
2018Premiere Himdalen, KLDRA Himdalen, Akershus
2015Comfort Music premiere Aksiom/Notam at Ultima festival, Oslo
2015Time Passes short movie by Ane Hjort Guttu, Bergen International Festival – Festspillutstillingen, MoMA, South London Gallery a.o.
2013Untitled (the City at Night) music for HD video by Ane Hjort Guttu, Bergen Assembly
2013Fragile ballet by Kjersti Engebrigsten, Lisboa, Tallinn, Sandvika.
2013Antichrist theatre version of Lars von Trier movie, directed by Peer Perez Øian, Det Norske Teatret, Oslo
2011Vertigo Room premiere Cikada string quartet, Ultima
2009quo premiere The Norwegian Army Band Bergen/Trond Korsgård
2009Fagervann Sunday sunrise concert around small forest lake, Ultima
2009Molladalen 280709 og 290709 site specific mountain concert
2007Acoustic mountain concert in Møre og Romsdal county, Norway. Molladalen 160707
2006The day of happiness. Rolf-Erik Nystrøm at Parkteatret, Oslo
2005Premiere Comatose for orchestra. Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra/Johannes Gustavsson
2003Göteborg Art Sounds. Loudspeaker installation Stimulator at Chalmers Tekniska Högskola
2003Norwegian Broadcasting Orchestra/Peter Szilvay. Verk uten navn at UNM-festival, Oslo
2003Opening event with carillon of Oslo city hall: Puppenballettspiel at UNM-festival, Oslo
Premiere on Verk uten navn in Växjö concert hall, with Musica Vitae/Mikael Bartosch
2002Men en maskin... premiere, TWINE at Oslo concert hall, Ultima
2001Gaudeamus Musc Week, Amsterdam (selected). («But Brother Ass, there is...) with Poing
2001-2006Performed at 5 UNM festivals in Aarhus, Reykjavik, Norrköping, Oslo and Copenhagen
2000Premiere on («But Brother Ass, there is...) Poing at the jazz club Blå
1999Oslo chamber music festival. ASK, Oslo Sinfonietta


2022Nordic Culture PointProduction grantPublic Eye pilot phase 2
2020Nordic Culture PointProduction grantBig Ivan/Public Eye pilot phase 1
2020Norwegian Government grantsWork grant 3 y
2019Arts Council Norway and Foundation Fritt OrdCommission and productionBlood Road
2019Norwegian Government grantsMaterial grant
2017Arts Council NorwayArt and new technologyHimdalen
2016Arts Council NorwayCommissionMirnyj
2014Norwegian Government grantsWork grant 1 y
2014Arts Council Norway / Det norske komponistfond CommissionComfort music
2013Komponistenes VederlagsfondWork grant 1 y
2012Bærum KulturhusCommissionFragile
2012Det Norske TeatretCommissionAntichrist
2011Komponistenes VederlagsfondMaterial grant
2010Norwegian Government grantsMaterial grant
2008Ultima/Det norske komponistfond CommissionFagervann
2008The Norwegian Army Band, Bergen/Arts council Norway Commissionquo
2007Oslo Sinfonietta/Arts council NorwayProject grantComfort Music
2007Cikada/Det norske komponistfond CommissionVertigo room
2006Norwegian Government grants Work grant 3 y
2005Thomas Kjekstad/Det norske komponistfond CommissionWhat if you never speed?
2005Norwegian Government grants Establishing grant
2005NOTAM/Det norske komponistfond CommissionThe day of happiness
2001Pål Størset/Arts council Norway CommissionOtherwise...


2022The album Himdalen (10.5 H Album Edit) on MERE
2018The album Comfort Music released on MERE
2018The album Vertigo Room released on MERE
2008-Released a number of albums as producer on MERE
2008The album But a Machine released on MERE
2003Giants of Jazz released by Poing: («But Brother Ass, there is a whole dimension lacking to what you say. How is it possible for one to convey this in Oxford English?»)


2019Himdalen nominated to the prize Edvardprisen 2019 in the category Challenger
2019The album Vertigo Room nominated to the prize Spellemannprisen 2018 in the category Contemporary


2023-Board member foundation Martello
2021-Board member Norwegian Society of composers
2019-Member of TONO committee for revenue distribution – pilot project and working group for entirely new revenue model
2019-2023Deputy board member TONO
2013-2017Chairman of the housing co-operative Borettslaget Normannsgata 43
2012-Board member Aksjon Bedre Vei (Organisasjonen Bedre veier and Bedre Vei AS from 2016)
2007-2013Board member Det Norske Komponistfond
2006-2012Vice chairman Norwegian Society of composers
2004-2005 Deputy board member Norwegian Society of composers
2001-2004 Chairman Ny Musikk's Composer Group
2001-2004 Board member Ny Musikk
2000-2006 Vice chairman and paymaster UNM Norway


w.i.p.Public Eye – shaping land1 yearCollaborative project of any media / installation with concert expansion
w.i.p.Blodveien (The Blood Road)2 h 30 minAudiovisual (music/film/live)
w.i.pSonotopographic Study, N61 21 57.1 E8 14 24.9, 1387 AMSL4 h 45 minInstallation and film mode (Big Ivan/Public Eye prototype)
2023Memory of oblivion46 minVideo essay
2019Himdalen (film)50 minFilm from Himdalen
2018Himdalen 13 hLand music site specific mixed media concert
2018Mirnyj 4 hoursAuiovisual (music/film)
2015Comfort Music1 h 30 minConcert installation
2015Time Passes – music for short film by Ane Hjort Guttu46 minFilm music (4 min)
2013Untitled (The City at Night) – music for short film by Ane Hjort Guttu22 minFilm music (5 min)
2013Fragile: Touched – music for ballet by Kjersti Engebrigtsen20 minBallet music (Bærum Kulturhus)
2013Antichrist – scene-version of Lars von Trier's film (dir. P P Øian) 1 h 25 minMusic and sound design (Det Norske Teatret)
2011Vertigo room 41 minString quartet and loudspeakers
2009quo12 minStripped music for wind band
2009Fagervann40 minSunrise concert for wooden lake and wind ensemble
2007Molladalen 40 minSite specific concert, four trombones, walking audience, acoustic valley
2006The day of happiness 11 minSopranino-/alto-sax and electronics
2005 Circolo maledetti 16 minAmplified ensemble, text projection
2005 What if you never speed? 10 minAcoustic guitar with capo and slidesteel
2004 Comatose 18 minOrchestra
2003 Stimulator Installation: 120 suspended loudspeakers, 8 channels, sensors, microphones
2003 Puppenballettspiel 3 min49-bell Carillon auto and manual
2002 Verk uten navn 8 minString orchestra
2002 Otherwise the belief is that a kind of lense at the size of Turkey would make a spacecraft accelerate to half the speed of light in only two years. – But this prospect would also lie some time into the future.
10 minPiano with leaden weights
2002But a machine that was powerful enough to accelerate particles to
the grand unification energy would have to be as big as the solar system – and would be unlikely to be funded in the present economic climate.
6 minPercussion duo, bells and metal
2002 Ljuuud Sound installation – collaborative project
2001 Black holes ain’t so black 14 minLarge church organ
2000/02 Verewigter Duft ist paradox 10 minEnsemble
1999 («But Brother Ass, there is a whole dimension lacking to what you say. How is it possible for one to convey this in Oxford English?») 11 minSopranino-/alto-/baryton-sax, accordeon, contrabass
1998-99 ASK 16 minSinfonietta
1996Mennesket 7 minTrio
1995-96 An Nafud 12 minEnsemble

Knut Olaf Sunde. Photo: Henrik Beck Kæmpe

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Knut Olaf Sunde. Photo: Henrik Beck Kæmpe

High resolution photo