The Grieg Academy Composition Resarch Group

The Grieg Academy Composition Research Group serves to explore new possibilities for compositional experimentation and innovation while fostering rigorous analysis, discussion and debate about issues pertaining to the vast field of music composition as it exists today. Both faculty and students from the Grieg Academy present their work within this forum alongside national and international guest composers, artists, scholars and researchers. Meetings are held several times each semester and often integrate workshop and performance frameworks.

Research Group Leader: Dániel Péter Biró, Professor for Composition, Grieg Academy.


Meeting 1

Friday, Nov. 9, 2018 Grieg Academy John Lunds plass 3 Seminarrom 106 14:00 – 16:30

Topic: Form of Ritual: Ritual of Form
In today’s globalized, technology-driven world, composers have developed countless strategies to communicate their ideas. Some of these strategies have sought to create new aesthetic paradigms while others have sought to reinvent existing rituals and forms. Within this framework, important questions have arisen of how contemporary methodologies relate to past concepts of form and to corresponding new and/or existing ritual frameworks.
The following research group looks to investigate such questions in the context of contemporary music composition and related fields. Just as the question of form has relevance for the presentation of and the context for musical material, a new conception of form and ritual might allow for new methodologies to understand and communicate musical content in new and meaningful ways. These questions will be dealt with in a variety of contexts, with invited composers, musicians and philosophers presenting lectures, workshops and concerts that deal specifically with this topic. The research group will set out to investigate possibilities for critical reflection about and creative production of form as ritual and ritual as form in order to allow for new perspectives for contemporary music composition and its related disciplines.

14:00 Tijs Ham, PhD Candidate, Grieg Academy, University of Bergen:

Calm & Chaos

14:45: Craig Wells, PhD Candidate, Grieg Academy, University of Bergen: 

Materiality and the Form of Encounter

15:30 Break (cake and coffee)
15:45: Thorolf Thuestad, PhD Candidate, Grieg Academy, University of Bergen:

Emotional Machine: Composing for Unstable Media

Moderator: Dániel Péter Biró, Grieg Academy 

Meeting 2

Form of Ritual: Ritual of Form 
Saturday Dec. 15, 2018

Meeting at John Lunds plass 3, Room 106 (Seminar Room: Ground Floor)

14:00: Prof. Gunnar Hindrichs (University of Basel): A Theory of Musical Form.

15:30: Dániel Péter Biró (Grieg Academy, UiB): Discussion about new research collaboration bridging music, philosophy and the natural sciences (in collaboration with Gunnar Hindrichs and Grit Schwarzkopf). 16:00: Informal discussion session at Nedre Nygaard, Nygårdsgaten 31.

Gunnar Hindrichs is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Basel. His publications include: Das Absolute und das Subjekt. Untersuchungen zum Verhältnis von Metaphysik und Nachmetaphysik (Frankfurt/Main: Klostermann, 2008) Die Autonomie des Klangs. Eine Philosophie der Musik (Berlin: Suhrkamp, 2014). Prof. Hindrichs is editor of the series Konzepte. Hefte für Philosophie (Frankfurt/Main: Klostermann).

Dr. Grit Schwarzkopf is a Researcher in Philosophy from the University of Heidelberg. She has done work in the bridged the areas of philosophy, aesthetics and the natural sciences. She has written Käthchen und Senta. Partnerfindung als Traumspiel in Heinrich von Kleists „Das Käthchen von Heilbronn“ und in Richard Wagners „Der fliegende Holländer“ (Heidelberg 2015) and „Das Kantische Raummodell in der Neurobiologie“(Kant-Studien, 2017).

Meeting 3

Wednesday, May 15, 2019 Claus-Steffen Mahnkopf, Professor for Composition, University of Music and Theatre "Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy", Leipzig, Germany

14:00: Lecture: "Hommage: A Philosophical Perspective", Room 206, Grieg Academy

19:00: Group Instruction for composition students, Room 106, John Lunds plass

Claus-Steffen Mahnkopf, born in 1962 in Mannheim (Germany), studies in composition, music theory, piano, musicology, philosophy, and sociology with Brian Ferneyhough, Klaus Huber, Jürgen Habermas among others. Music degree and PhD. Since 1984 international prizes and awards, including the Gaudeamus Prize, Stuttgart Composition Prize, Ernst von Siemens Music Grant, Villa Massimo. Since 2005 Professor of Composition at the Leipzig Academy of Music and Theater. Editor of the journal Musik & Ästhetik and the book series New Music and Aesthetics in the 21st Century, author of over 150 essays and numerous books.

Meeting 4

Room 106, John Lunds plass

13:00: Natasha Barrett: Emergence Inverted: Decomposing the 3D Soundscape as Compositional Materials

Many composers of electroacoustic music approach materials and structure in the reverse to traditional instrumental composition. The sound they use has structure in itself and the nature of the object informs the structure of the work. This original aspect of Musique Concrète is still with us: instead of creating the abstract score, leaving it to known instruments and known performance techniques to realise the score, which leads to the concrete experience in the performance, composers gather sound and abstract the musical values it potentially contains; starting with concrete listening and often ending in an abstract(ed) musical discourse. In this presentation I will illustrate how I am composing sound from space through a process of decomposition and then recomposition of the soundscape. Emergence is inverted: a complex system already exists in the recorded source (concrete sound), yet it can be picked apart to reveal each components' individual behavior and qualities (extracted, abstracted). Through experimentation, a new system may emerge in the recomposition of these elements.


Friday June 7th Stein Rokkans Hus Studio A, Grieg Academy

10.00 – 16.00: Sculpting Sound in Space

Performed spatialisation, otherwise known as sound diffusion, has its history in the acousmonium loudspeaker orchestra that grew up at GRM (Group de Recherches Musicales, Paris) in the 70’s. Since this time, sound diffusion has underpinned the performance of stereo electroacoustic music throughout the world. First-hand experience of sound diffusion offers vital insights important for composers working with sound in space. Even for composers not working in the stereo format, it is an important stepping stone towards understanding how to work musically and spatially with more advanced technologies such as ambisonics. In the workshop we will set up a multi-speaker array and enjoy hands-on experiments with both musical materials and speaker placements. Participants can play with a set piece, and are also invited to bring their own materials. The evening concert will feature a showcase of works from the famous female pioneer Beatriz Ferreyra (b. 1937). The concert will be performed by Natasha Barrett. Ferreyra was associated with the GRM, founded by Pierre Schaeffer at Radio France in the 1950’s. After moving from her native Argentina to Paris in 1963, she made her own radical, vivid music at the GRM. She soon began to explore sound diffusion performance of her works at GRM and in the Bourges International Electroacoustic Music Festival. Ferreyra lives in France and is still active composing and performing throughout the world. The concert will also present pieces from workshop participants.


Natasha Barrett is a British contemporary music composer specialising in electroacoustic art music. Her compositional aesthetics are derived from acousmatic issues. In addition to acousmatic concert music, she composes for instruments, live electronics, sound installations, multi-media works, real-time computer music improvisation, has made soundscapes for exhibitions, and music for contemporary dance and theater. Since 2000 her work has been influenced by spatialisation as a musical parameter, and the projection of 3-D sound-fields. 

Meeting 5

Monday, 28 October, 2019 at 15:00 in Gunnar Sævigs Sal, The Grieg Academy. 

Professor Kofi Agawu, Distinguished Professor, The Graduate Centre, New York: Finding the beat in African music: Further Notes and Caveats

A central issue for (mainly non-African) analysts of African music is the question of a regulative beat: does it exist, is it made manifest or merely assumed, and is there a single beat in ensemble performance, or are there multiple beats? Proceeding from the belief that what is now needed is not another grand, overarching theory of African rhythm but detailed studies of individual performances, this paper describes some of the factors that shape beat awareness in a handful of West and Central African repertories. I note the absence of a word for beat in many indigenous languages, along with the normative embodiment of meter by dancers. My main caveat is that beats are not intrinsic to the sonic material and so cannot be discovered by internal means; rather, beats are mental constructs of conventional origins brought to the music by acculturated listeners, drummers and dancers.

Kofi Agawu was born in Ghana, where he received his initial education before studying composition and analysis in the UK and musicology in the US. His work focuses on analytical issues in selected repertoires of Western Europe and West Africa. He is the author of five monographs and numerous articles and reviews. His awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Dent Medal, the Frank Llewellyn Harrison Medal, the Howard T. Behrman Award from Princeton University, and honorary degrees from Stellenbosch University (2017) and Bard College (2019). He has served on the editorial boards of leading journals in musicology, music theory, African studies and ethnomusicology. A Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy, he is a Fellow of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences, Honorary Member of the Royal Musical Association, and Adjunct Professor in the Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana, Legon. He was Music Theorist in Residence for the Dutch-Flemish Music Theory Society in 2008-09 and George Eastman Visiting Professor at Oxford University in 2012-13.

Meeting 6

Sounding Philosophy Conference

November 1, 2019 , Grieg Academy, Prøvesalen, Lars Hilles gate 3

Christopher Senf, Department of Philosophy, University of Bergen, Session Moderator

15:00 Prof. Elhanan Yakira, Hebrew University Jerusalem: “Spinoza’s Ontology of the Intellect”

16:00 Prof. Dániel Péter Biró, Grieg Academy: “Parametric Composition in the Ethica Composition Cycle.”

17:00 Coffee Break

17:30 Dr. Grit Schwarzkopf, University of Heidelberg, “Was ist Teleologie?”

November 2 Grieg Academy, Gunnar Sævigs Sal, Lars Hilles gate 3

Dániel Péter Biró, Grieg Academy, Session Moderator

10:00 Prof. Gunnar Hindrichs: On Hanslick’s proposition: “Composition is spiritual work on spiritually capable material.”

11:00 Coffee Break

11:30 Prof. Arnulf Mattes, Grieg Academy: “Intoxicating Oscillations: Ernst Mach and Arnold Schoenberg”

Concerts and Performances:

November 6, 2019

Norwegian Youth Chamber Music Festival

Atelier of Kjell Pahr-Iversen, Stavanger

Ethica, after Baruch Spinoza Composition by Dániel Péter Biró, Professor for Composition, Grieg Academy, University of Bergen

Choreography by Hagit Yakira, Associate Professor for Dance, University of Stavanger

Paintings of Kjell Pahr-Iversen, Stavanger

Introductory lecture by Elhanan Yakira, Hebrew University, Jerusalem

Festival Curator: Ingrid Catharina Geuens,  Førstelektor, Grieg Academy

November 9, 2019 15.30

Peer Gynt-salen, Grieghallen

Dániel Péter Biró: Ethica after Baruch Spinoza (2017-2020)

Works by Grieg Academy composition students Gunhild Seim, Lisa Braathen, Anders Hannevold and Bendik Savstad, involved in the Sounding Philosophy Worksop and other works by Knut Vaage.

BIT20 Ensemble

Dániel Péter Biró, Trond Madsen, conductors

Meeting 7

Grieg Academy Music Composition Research Group

Music and Emergence

Friday, March 8, 2019 10:00 - 13:00

John Lunds plass 3 Room 106 (ground floor)


10:00 Marcelo Toledo, Columbia University: On Recent Works

11:00 Dániel Péter Biró, Grieg Academy, University of Bergen Emergence in Music-Parametric Domains Break: Presentation of new book: "Live Electronics im/in the SWR Experimentalstudio" (Wolke Verlag)

12:00 Carmina Escobar, California Institute for the Arts: Improvisation and Emergence


Meeting 8

March 29 from 13:00 - 16:00, seminar room (room 106) John Lunds plass 3.

13:00: Erik Håkon Halvorsen, composition, masters program, Grieg Academy and Markus Eriksen, cello performance, masters program, Grieg Academy: "Mit innigster Empfindung."

14:00: Break

14:15 Tijs Ham and Craig Wells, PhD Candidates in composition, Artistic Research Program, Grieg Academy: "Contemplations on Punk Virtuosity"

Meeting 9

March 5, 2020 at 15:30 John Lunds Plass Seminar Room 106 (1st Floor)

Prof. George Lewis, Edwin H. Case Professor of American Music at at Columbia University: Where Do Words Go? 

In his extraordinary book, In the Break: The Aesthetics of the Black Radical Tradition, critical theorist Fred Moten quotes the saxophonist Charles Lloyd, who responds to an invitation to comment verbally on his music by assuring his interlocutor that "Words don't go there." In response, theorist (and poet) Moten asks the simple and obvious, yet profound question: "Where do words go?" This talk explores the methodologies and aesthetics underlying a set of works for voice, including chamber music, mixed electroacoustic works, and operas written by George Lewis between 1996 and the present.


A Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy, Lewis’s other honors include a MacArthur Genius Award (2002), a Guggenheim Fellowship (2015), a United States Artists Walker Fellowship (2011), an Alpert Award in the Arts (1999), and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts. Most recently Prof. Lewis received an honorary doctorate from Harvard University and became a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters (2018).

Meeting 10

Oct. 5, 2020 at 18:00 in Prøvesalen.

18:00: Séverine Ballon, Composer/Cellist, Paris, France. Extending the Cello as an Expressive Force. 
Séverine Ballon will discuss recent work that investigates extending technical and acoustic possibilities of the cello. In particular, she will discuss the work on the pieces Solitude by Rebecca Saunders and Adiantum Capillus Veneris by Chaya Czernowin, which has been transcribed from the voice.


19:00 Tijs Ham, PhD Candidate, Grieg Academy: Unfinished Instruments. In his talk, Tijs Ham will explore the artistic possibilities that arise when instruments shift from being reliable companions in musical performances, towards becoming a much more elusive and pliable source of unstable sonic material.


20:00: Juan Vassallo, PhD Candidate, Grieg Academy: Research on Voice as a Sonorous and Visual Entity. 
The current artistic research project focuses on the sonic and visual world of the human voice and the performativity of its material components, aiming to create a set of pieces that will serve as a compositional intermedial exploration of this complex element.


Meeting 11

Nov 2, 2020 Zoom Meeting

15:30 Felipe de Almeida Ribeiro, Universidade Estadual do Paraná (Brazil): Braidotti and Posthumanism

As a composer, I am currently researching how the concept of defamiliarization (Braidotti) could be applied as a strategy for musical composition. Defamiliarization can be understood as critical distance, disidentification, or even deterritorialization (Deleuze). In other words, composition is not regarded in our analysis as simple “sound construction”. We observe that the development of new music since the beginning of the 20th century is highly connected with the idea of structure as language. As a consequence, language (Adorno) and perception (Deleuze) as well as cultural and political questions of posthumanism (Braidotti; hooks) become important aspects for our investigation.

Felipe de Almeida Ribeiro (1980) is a Brazilian composer of instrumental and electroacoustic music. He was a student of Dániel Péter Biró, Gordon Mumma, and Cort Lippe throughout his master’s and PhD-level studies. His music has been performed in various concert halls in a number of countries, including the U.S., Germany, Hungary, Austria, England, Canada, Brazil, Argentina, Sweden, and the Netherlands. Dr. Ribeiro is currently a faculty member at the Universidade Estadual do Paraná (Brazil). As an academic, he is the editor-in-chief of the Vortex Music Journal (ISSN 2317-9937) and the director of the SiMN (International Symposium of New Music). 

16:00: Dániel Péter Biró, Grieg Academy: Some Thoughts about Temporal Structures in Acoustic and Electroacoustic Composition

Béla Bartók discussed two types of rhythm in folk music: tempo giusto and parlando rubato. These two types of rhythmic orientation become abstracted in notational practices as duration becomes paramount. Such considerations also relate to questions of musical space. I will discuss different historical and contemporary concepts of rhythm and space as well as recent strategies in acoustic and electroacoustic compositions. Dániel Péter Biró is Professor for Composition at the Grieg Academy, University of Bergen. He received his Ph.D. from Princeton University in 2004. In 2014-2015 he was a Research Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University. In 2017 he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship. Dániel Péter Biró has been commissioned by prominent musicians, ensembles and festivals and his compositions are performed around the world.

Meeting 12

Friday, November 13, 2020 10:00 on Zoom
Exchange Workshop between Grieg Academy Hochschule for Künste, Fachbereich Musik in Bremen, Germany.

The workshop, in German, dealt with the creation of the composition "De Natura et Origine" by Dániel Péter Biró and performed by Prof. Margit Kern and Katharina Bäuml (Ensemble Mixtura)


Meeting 13

Monday, Nov. 30, 2020, Zoom

18:00: Marta Gentilucci: Composing for Voice 
The presentation will focus on the musical research of the past years around voice, vibrato and their integration in acoustic and electroacoustic domains.

Marta Gentilucci completed her studies in vocal arts as a soprano and she obtained her Master in composition and composition/computer music at the University of Music Stuttgart. She was selected for the two years program in computer music. She held a Ph.D. in composition from Harvard University. Her electronic and instrumental music has been performed in several international Music Festivals and venues. Among her recent residencies are, the Artistic Research Residency at Ircam, at Experimentalstudio des SWR in Freiburg, and at Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies, Harvard University. 

19:00: Juliana Hodkinson: Resounding Failure

Drawing on some of my own recent and current research on resonance and composition, and taking up Robin James’ examination of the sonic episteme in the service of preserving and advancing qualitative structures of capitalism, patriarchy and white suprematism, I will discuss the dilemma of composition as a conflicted field of practice and reflection, struggling with, on the one hand, its inheritance of a highly individualised notion of the uniqueness of expression and experience, and, on the other, a desire to become relevant in broader humanist and post-humanist discourses.

Juliana Hodkinson is a composer, Associate Professor in Classical and Electronic Composition at the Royal Academy of Music in Aarhus and Associate Professor in Composition at the Grieg Academy, University of Bergen.  She has published on topics within affective resonance, re-enactment, migration, gender and social relations in sonic practices.  Her current artistic work focuses on creating hybrid spatialised electro-acoustic formats for performance and listening, often in collaboration with other artists.

Meeting 14

Monday, Dec. 14, 2020

15:00: Suzanne Farrin: Dolce la Morte

Suzanne Farrin discusses movements from her opera Dolce la Morte as well as recent work.

Suzanne Farrin (DMA, Yale University) is the Frayda B. Lindemann Professor and Chair of Music at Hunter College and The C.U.N.Y. Graduate Center, where she teaches composition. She was a 2018 Rome Prize Winner and is a 2020 Guggenheim Fellow in Composition. Her debut recording, Corpo di Terra, was described in Timeout Chicago as, “like field recordings from inside the cerebral cortex.” Recent commissions include works for the JACK Quartet and the International Contemporary Ensemble. Her works for the stage and film have been performed around the world. In addition to composing, she is a performer of the ondes Martenot.

16:00 Trond Lossius: Edgelands

The electroacoustic composition Edgelands (2019) starts out from a series of field recordings from the suburbs and fringes of the city. The presentation discusses the motivation for engaging with suburban soundscapes, the use of ambisonic surround-sound field recordings to capture a sense of place and reflects on the compositional process.

Trond Lossius investigates the dynamics of sound, place and space in field recordings, audio-visual installations and collaborative cross-disciplinary projects, with a particular interest in the soundscapes of the suburb. He develops open-source software for spatial audio and real-time media for use in his own projects, and he has published research in international conferences and journals on sound and music computing. He is professor and PhD-leader at The Norwegian Film School and professor II at The Grieg Academy.

Meeting 15

Feb. 15, 2021 14:00 Øyvind Torvund: Dreaming about Music

A short talk about getting inspiration and ideas for new pieces, about Disney and Modernism and the gap between dreams and reality.

Øyvind Torvund, b. 1976. is a Norwegian composer. Often there is a paradoxical mixture of elements in his music: melodies encounter conceptual ideas, acoustic chamber music together with lo-fi sounds from home made instruments. Many of his pieces circles around the idea of an archaic music and the representation of naïve idyllic situations.


Meeting 16

March 15, 2021

19:00 Michael Getman: On Recent and Ongoing Work

Michael Getman will talk about recent and upcoming choreography, which employs the spoken word, poetry, literature as a sound score to convey depth of emotions, attention and dimensionality. He will also discuss the ongoing project "Songs and Borders" which explores, via dance, music and theatre, the multi-religious and multi-ethnic realities in the border region between Israel and Syria.

Michael Getman is a choreographer based in Israel. His work merges choreography, theatre and performance and examines relationships between our bodily actions, cognitive responses, subjective experiences, as well as the ability to respond to the ongoing demands of experience with a range of emotions.
His works have been presented at festivals and venues around the world and he has been awarded international prizes for his choreography.

20:00: Zeynep Gedizlioglu: Imagination that forms new relationships between Silence, Now and the Hearing In her talk, composer Zeynep Gedizlioglu will discuss recent work that is inspired by and deals with the activity of hearing as such and its relationship to compositional processes, space and place.
Zeynep Gedizlioglu Born in Izmir/Turkey, she studied composition with i.a. Wolfgang Rihm as well as music theory with Michael Reudenbach and completed the ‚Cursus‘ at IRCAM between 2010-11. Her music has been performed at leading international festivals and published on Cds. She received numerous prizes such as the Composers’ Prize of the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation, the Heidelberg Female Artist Award and the Berlin Art Prize of Akademie der Künste Berlin.

Meeting 17

April 12, 2021


Samir Odeh-Tamimi: Composing for the Human Voice.

Composer Samir Odeh-Tamimi will present four works from 2014 to 2017: GIDIM for large orchestra and electronics, CAPRICORNUS for ensemble, speaker and soprano, MANSUR for large mixed choir and instruments and JARICH for three female voices and electronics. 

Born in Jaljulia near Tel-Aviv, Samir Odeh-Tamimi has developed a distinctive musical language, which draws upon his intense involvement with both western avantgarde music and Arabic musical performance practice. Samir Odeh-Tamimi’s works are regularly performed at renowned festivals and concert halls throughout the world. 

Stephan Meidell: TRIGGER

Stephan will present his multidisciplinary project TRIGGER, with which he released the album «Cycles & Causality» in March '21. He will give insights into the advantages of fusing composition practices from musique conrète with today's digital workflow.

Stephan Meidell is a Norwegian guitarist, composer, and sound designer.

He has studied jazz at the Conservatory of Music in Amsterdam. He is currently doing a Ph.D. in Artistic Research at the University of Bergen, Faculty of Fine Art, Music and Design.


Meeting 18

May 3, 2021

Juan Vassallo: Versificator

The piece “Versificator” for vocal ensemble is conceived as a metaphor for and a manner of bringing alive the original versificator, a fictional device created by George Orwell in the novel “Nineteen Eighty-Four” (1949) whose primary purpose is to act as an automated generator for both text and music.

Juan Sebastián Vassallo is a composer, pianist and media artist. He obtained his MA degree at the University of Victoria (Canada) and currently he is pursuing his PhD in Artistic Research at the University of Bergen (Norway).

Andrea Parkins: Correspondences: The Body and Material in Installation and Performance

Andrea Parkins discusses her daily practice in which she investigates the performing body’s relation to materiality, sound, site and space. Parkins’ research explores correspondences between gesture and sound - addressing tensions between failure and fluency, and absence and presence.

Andrea Parkins is a sound artist, composer, and electroacoustic improviser who engages with interactive electronics as both material and process.  Her performances and fixed media works have been presented at Whitney Museum of American Art, Kunsthalle Basel, Kusthall Bergen, and many more.

Tijs Ham: Dread & Promise

Starting from an artistic practice informed by chaos and unpredictability, the aesthetics of my works have always been related to 'exploration', 'discovery', and 'surprise'. In this talk, an effort will be made to unfold these terms and to place them within a temporal context, touching upon topics such as durational nows, perceptional confusions, imaginations of what has occurred, and memories of what is to come.

Tijs Ham (1981) is a Dutch Sound Artist, currently working in Bergen as a Ph.D. candidate in Artistic Research at the KMD. In his work, he focuses on the exploration of chaotic processes within the field of live electronic music. Using both digital and analog approaches, this exploration takes the form of the development of new musical instruments, investigating compositional strategies, and performing concerts. Before moving to Norway, Tijs has been working at STEIM, both as an organizer and as a member of the artistic board. He releases music using his AKA Tapage.


Upcoming Conference in Fall 2021 (Date: TBD)

Spinoza and the Emergence of Mind


Interdisciplinary Conference with Vibeke Tellmann, Associate Professor, from the Department of Philosophy and Alexander van der Haven, from the Department of Religion, Schola Heidelberg and other international artists and researchers.