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Håkon Kornstad


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Further info
http://www.kornstad.com/ http://www.allaboutjazz.com/php/musician.php?id=15791

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Kjell Kalleklev Management AS
Georgernes Verft 12, N-5011 Bergen Norway
Org.nr. 995637774, tlf:+4755557637
Fax:+4755557631 / mob: +4791103280

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Håkon Kornstad is an award winning Norwegian saxophonist, recognised by jazz critics around the world, for his numerous cutting edge collaborations from 1998 and onwards — but perhaps most of all for his groundbreaking solo saxophone project. In 2009 he discovered that he also possesses a remarkable tenor voice, and amidst a blossoming jazz career he pursued a master’s degree at the Norwegian Opera Academy in 2011. He is now dividing his time on two almost contrasting musical genres — and he is combining them in an unprecedented way.

 

“The Norwegian saxophonist and singer turned what could have been a circus act into a musical tour de force” 
★★★★ The Guardian (UK)

 
Current projects:

Kornstad Solo

By using a simple looping device, saxophonist Håkon Kornstad is able to realize in concert what his aptly named album from 2011 states – "Symphonies in My Head". His instrumental technique is both traditionally solid – he has beautiful tone on whichever saxophone or wind instrument he selects – and also extended by the use of the keys to make percussion sounds and the use of overtones to broaden his palette of sound colors. Lyrical melodies glide and float over layers of sound that grow gradually into an orchestral accompaniment, and virtually all of it is improvised. Then he sings on top of these layers, almost like a sample being played from a 78RPM album, excerpts of opera arias that fits with his spontaneous compositions.

Available:
On request for 2018-19 (World except Germany)

 

Kornstad Trio

with Frode Haltli (accordion) and Mats Eilertsen (double bass)

 


In his new trio, saxophonist and singer Håkon Kornstad is joined by two of the finest and most versatile improvisers on the European music scene today. The set lists consists of old world songs and opera along with new compositions, infused with improvisation and strong interplay. This trio has a transparency and presence that makes it stand out from the rest of Kornstad’s projects. The music is in constant motion, and the outpouring of ideas and calls and responses in an almost avantgarde jazz fashion, makes for a highly different concert, each and every night. This is not modern jazz. Not in the old fashioned way. Rather, every concert takes on a different journey, full of freedom, warmth and humor—and always together with the audience: Jazz fans, opera lovers, and all those who simply want music to be (a)live. Listen.

Available:
Feb 11 - March 3, 2019 AND Oct 7 - 20, 2019
As well as on request
(World except Germany)

 

Kornstad with orchestra

2017 saw the beginning of a new project, where Kornstad took the music from his solo and ensemble projects and scored it for full orchestra. Contemporary Norwegian arrangers Erlend Skomsvoll and Kjetil Bjerkestrand were also on board, scoring their versions of opera arias, lieder — as well as Kornstad’s own solo compositions. The result was two sold out concerts in Oslo with the Norwegian Radio Orchestra, an album and several broadcasts on tv and radio. In April 2018 the WDR Funkhausorchester in Cologne will follow suit, and for 2019 there are more exciting announcements soon to be made. Kornstad’s long time goal is both a musical and a pedagogical one: as much as he wants to use his Scandinavian jazz influences and classically trained voice to create a new kind of concert, he would like to encourage orchestral musicians to improvise more.

Watch a full concert with the Norwegian Radio Orchestra here.

Watch a full concert with WDR Funkhausorchestra here.


Available:
On request for 2019/20 season
(World except Germany)

 

“His project is as musically enrichening for those who prefer classical music as well as for those who love it when musicians stretch for the unknown. There is something magic, almost timeless – and at the same time innovative – in the way they handle these songs.”
★★★★★ Aftenposten (NO)

“Kornstad is both a fine tenor player, and an operatic tenor (verging on counter tenor), who miraculously drew together the worlds of opera arias and jazz expression, a rare feat of a jazz-ical crossover venture with artistic integrity and heart intact.”
Down Beat (US)

“Jazz and operatic tenor are not the most obvious bedfellows. In fact on paper you might think, hmm, this could very easily sound dreadful. But Kornstad has found a way of presenting the unlikely alloy, with perfectly suited band, in such a way that it not only works, it feels like each enhances the other still further. Copper and tin have their own charms, but bronze has a certain lustre that is irresistible.”
The Jazz Breakfast (UK)

“He is balancing these different elements in a way that only artists with a rare musical insight are able to do.”
★★★★★

More info and press quotes:
www.kornstad.com

 

I 2016 ble Kornstad hedret med Buddy-prisen.

 

DISCOGRAPHY

 

KORNSTAD ENSEMBLE - KORNSTAD + KORK LIVE



Kornstad + KORK Live features the highlights from two sold out concerts in “Store Studio” in Oslo, March 2017. Jazz saxophonist and opera tenor Håkon Kornstad with his ensemble, and the legendary Kringkastingsorkesteret (Norwegian Radio Orchestra aka KORK), conducted by Christian Eggen.

Tenor Battle with strings! This unique album marks an exciting continuation of the critically acclaimed Tenor Battle from 2015. Now backed by a full orchestra, Kornstad still delivers a seamless mix between classical songs (F.P. Tosti’s “Marechiare” and “L’Ultima Canzone”), opera arias (G. Bizet’s “Nadir’s aria” from Les pêcheurs de perles) and his own creative input, both as jazz saxophonist, orchestra arranger, or in the improvisations with his ensemble.

Undoubtedly one of Norway’s most original arrangers, Erlend Skomsvoll provides a beautiful Steve Reich-esque version of Edvard Grieg’s liederabend-classic “En svane” (“A Swan“), while Giuseppe Verdi’s feisty canzone “Di tu se fedel” from the opera Un ballo in maschera ventures into high-octane Mingus-meanderings.

In addition, the album features two instrumental tracks from the 2011 Kornstad solo outing Symphonies in My Head — improvised loop saxophone pieces adapted for orchestra. “Plystre” is given a symphonic overhaul by Kjetil Bjerkestrand, while "ABA" is adapted for cello quintet, rounding the album off in a tranquil way

 

HÅKON KORNSTAD - TENOR BATTLE

 

In the fifties, the jazz saxophonists competed in playing fastest and loudest and called it a Tenor Battle. In Håkon Kornstad’s new ensemble the expression takes on a rather different meaning, when he mixes his newfound tenor voice with his unique tenor saxophone playing. The UK jazz magazine JazzWise writes this about a recent concert in St Martin-in-the-fields: “Håkon Kornstad and his ‘Tenor Battle’ troupe have fashioned a triumphant Bartok-reversal, the successful contextualising of high-end tropes into the folk firmament.”

And the sound? Caruso meets Coltrane? Garbarek meets Björling? On Tenor Battle, opera arias by Massenet, Gluck and Bizet, as well as classical art songs are mixed seamlessly with Scandinavian Jazz. Håkon Kornstad sings in Italian, French and German, bringing back memories of old world salon music. And then he plays the saxophone, with his distinct warm sound. Sigbjørn Apeland’s harmonium sounds like a blend between strings and wind instruments, and drummer Øyvind Skarbø plays nuanced on arias that were never intended for drums.

Harpsichordist Lars Henrik Johansen fits in naturally with his baroque instrument on romantic pieces, while double bassist Per Zanussi also plays the singing saw, without it ever turning circus-like.The musicians in Kornstad’s ensemble have their backgrounds in jazz, folk and classical music. They have worked intensively with the freedom to improvise and arrange, be it instrumental numbers or classical arias—respectfully and playfully at the same time. Four years have passed since they first met as a group, and their intention has been to let the group sound find its way organically over time, through rehearsals and concerts throughout Norway.

This beautiful and truly genre-bending jazz album is also the debut of Håkon Kornstad as classical singer. Enjoy Tenor Battle!

 

HÅKON KORNSTAD - LIVE IN SARAJEVO

Picture

 

The audience was probably already satisfied by the five first instrumental tracks. Then Håkon Kornstad launches into a baroque opera aria “O del mio dolce ardor” by Gluck, followed by a Neapolitan song “Ideale” by Tosti. Almost a legendary story of personal change already — Kornstad discovered opera in New York at age 32, and started taking singing lessons with a retired Met soprano just weeks after. Now six years later he has a masters degree in opera and is hired for full operatic roles. In his own concerts he keeps combining classical singing with his very own saxophone jazz looping.

That such an incredible talent has not reached the ears of a wider audience is truly astonishing. To anyone with even the slightest interest in jazz and opera, Kornstad is a musician who simply must be heard, for there is no one else like him! A modern legend in jazz? No doubt about it!
— William Brown, The Journal Newcastle UK, 13/04/2015 


It could have been a virtuosic circus act, but in Kornstad’s hands was a musical tour de force. ★★★★✩
— John Fordham, The Guardian UK, 03/26/2015 


By all rights, no one person should possess as many musical talents at Håkon Kornstad. It isn’t fair to artists who devote their entire lives to a single instrument to see Kornstad picking up instruments and setting them down, producing tones and ideas that aren’t half-baked, but fully formed. Surely a few artists in the audience left the room either stewing with envy or brimming with inspiration. Masterfully trained in all of his disparate disciplines, Kornstad treated each element of his show with utter seriousness — and yet the result didn’t seem like a struggle, but a joy.
— Paul Bowers, Charleston City paper (Charleston, SC), June 2014


Kornstad sings beautifully, with a clear and open sound. It is remarkable that he should have achieved this level of vocal proficiency in less than five years. (...) Kornstad is on a journey that will take him who-knows-where. But I would not be surprised if Kornstad further insinuates himself in the world of opera and classical music, eventually throwing himself all in. Apparently, he's got the goods.
— Adam Parker, Post and Courier (Charleston, SC), June 2014

 

HÅKON KORNSTAD - SYMPHONIES IN MY HEAD

 

“Symphonies in my head” is all about Kornstad’s process as an improvising solo saxophonist: he brings the horns and his vintage loop machine to a room with a nice reverb, then he records his characteristic, groovy improvisations - creating layered sounds with saxophones, flutes and his flutonette. Though they may sound composed, these tracks are free improvisations that were created that very day in February 2011. Just like his critically acclaimed album “Dwell Time” (2009), “Symphonies in my head” was recorded in the Sofienberg church in Oslo. Håkon Kornstad has established himself on the international jazz scene with a warm, haunting saxophone sound that is recognizable from the first second you hear it. A solo outing by Håkon Kornstad is always a special event. Symphonies in my Head is his third solo album for Jazzland Recordings and demonstrates his will to expand his territories beyond the borders set in Single Engine and Dwell Time.

Moments that were briefly hinted at or touched upon in those two remarkable collections are now given fuller treatment. Treated loops underpin much of Kornstad's project, but now we are treated to the saxophone as a percussive instrument, where a pattern of key-presses sounds like a log drum, or notes seem to wander into sounds more in common with bowed or plucked strings. Following the same process that created Dwell Time, Kornstad again follows a path of improvisation rather than strict composition.

"When I made Dwell Time (2009) I recorded for two days in Sofienberg church, improvising with all my horns, flutes and a loop machine. Afterwards followed some weeks of picking out the best tracks, and then I had my album. Since then I've been touring extensively in Europe, with occasional concerts in USA and Japan, and the ideas that have come up on the road are the framework for the new album - Symphonies in my head.

HÅKON KORNSTAD - DWELL TIME

 

In his newest offering, Dwell Time (Jazzland, 2009), we are again presented with his well-honed musicality, but this time the performances are all his own, in a scaled-down setting. It is a solo effort in every sense of the word.

In eight pieces we are offered a variety of expressions. From Still One, which seems to convey a reflective solitude, to the cool hipness of Oslo and the aptly titled Noir, Kornstad astounds us with his ability to masterfully grasp a spectrum of emotional output through his tenor sax, bass sax, flutonette, flute, in addition to his live looping. Recorded in the Sofienberg Chruch in Oslo, the album is produced by Kornstad as well.

«When I recorded ‘Single Engine’ in 2007, I was eager to show variety, » Kornstad states. «With Dwell Time it was different. I simply wanted to get into one mood, dwell on it – and hit the record button. Insert the expression ‘free improvisation’ here if you like; the music was created there and then, and without overdubbing or serious editing. The Sofienberg Church in Oslo provides some excellent and inspiring acoustics, and this album was the result of a couple of nights there in January, followed by a serious cull of many of the little darlings. Enjoy the survived ones here.»

HÅKON KORNSTAD - SINGLE ENGINE

 

With Single Engine, Kornstad exposes his complicated, sincere and humorous musical personality. He most certainly has a lot to say and listening to his journey ought to be both enlightening and a lot of fun.
Budd Kopman - All About Jazz (US)
 
Solo saxophone recordings are hardly new in the jazz canon, but you’d be hard-pressed to find one like Kornstad’s Single Engine. (...) Adventurous, yet undeniably accessible, Single Engine is another rung on a ladder that Kornstad’s been climbing for the past few years.
John Kelman - All About Jazz (US)
 
Norwegian saxophonist Håkon Kornstad has been one of the central figures on the new Norwegian scene that aspires to break new vistas beyond the almost codified ECM representation of the Nordic scene (...) A Beautiful and impressive statement.
Eyal Hareuveni - AllAboutJazz (US)
 
Kornstad has conceived a singular approach to the saxophone, fully realized on this solo effort. (...) A highly inventive album. Single Engine is a definitive statement from an up and coming artist. Cadence (US)

 

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Concerts

No tourdates.

Past bookings

May
6
2018

Stavanger, Norge

Petri Kirke

Jul
7
2017

Rotterdam, The Netherlands

North Sea Jazz Festival

Apr
25
2017

Katowice, Poland

Jazz Art Festival

May
21
2016

Vasterås, Sweden

I Lasses Kvarter

Mar
20
2016

Voss, Norway

VossaJazz

Mar
5
2016

Bergen, Norway

Grand Bergen

Mar
4
2016

Oslo, Norway

Victoria/Nasjonal Jazzscene

Oct
29
2015

Fredrikstad, Norway

Fredrikstad Biblioteks Aula

Oct
25
2015

Salzburg, Austria

Replublic

May
23
2015

Rotterdam, Holland

Lantaren/Venster

May
22
2015

Rotterdam, Holland

Rotterdanmse Schouwburg

Apr
10
2015

Gateshead, UK

The Sage Gateshead

Aug
20
2014

Oslo, Norway

Gamle Logen

Aug
18
2014

Oslo, Norway

Kulturkirken Jacob

May
22
2014

Bergen, Norway

Natt Jazz Bergen

Mar
21
2014

Trondheim, Norway

Dokkhuset

Jun
24
2013

Tønsberg, Norway

Jarlsberg Hovedgård

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