Folke Strømholm - Biography

Folke Strømholm

In addition to his private composition studies with Kolbjørn Ofstad, Folke Strømholm (born 1941) received the major part of his music education from the Oslo Music Conservatory and the University of Oslo. He also studied electronic music in London and The Hague. For many years he has been active as a music critic. Alongside his career as a composer, he has served as a consultant for TONO (the Norwegian Performing Rights Society) and the Norwegian Music Information Centre. As music consultant and chairman of the information committee of the NMIC from 1980 to 1987, he was responsible for the Centre's external information activities.

Folke Strømholm is a unique figure on the Norwegian music scene. Since his debut as a composer in 1964 with "Concertino for Piano and Strings", he has developed a distinctive form of musical minimalism in which static blocks of sound, monotony and repetitions are the key musical elements. The seeds of this development are to be found in the years 1966 to 1969, when Strømholm lived in North Norway and taught at the teachers' college and the school of music in Tromsø. There he had his first encounter with the Sámi joik, which was to be of decisive importance to his further development as a composer.

The joik is based on constant repetitions, creating a unique impression of intense monotony, which Strømholm has incorporated into his music. His first attempt to incorporate the joik into art music was in response to a commission from the Tromsø newspaper "Nordlys" for an orchestral work based on the joik. The result was "Sámi Ouverture", which was given its first performance at the Music Festival in North Norway in 1970. He continued to pursue this compositional style in the orchestral work "Sámiædnan" (1972) and the wind quintet "Noai'di" (1973). The monotonous character of the joik is to be found in a number of his other works which, though not directly based on Sámi motifs, employ the same "ecstatic monotone" as an element of form. These works reveal Strømholm's personal compositional style in a purer form, which reaches its peak in works such as "Farewell to the Piano" (1976) and "Mattinata No. 1" (1977). Piano music figures prominently in Strømholm's production, and around one third of his 36 opuses are for the piano. However, his list of works also includes vocal works, chamber music, a piano concerto and several orchestral works.

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