Eira Bjørnstad Foss

Performer-Curator - How can a curating approach in the perfomer´s practice develop the performer´s artistic identity?

Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Department of Music

Tøyen Fil og Klafferi: Dokkhuset Scene, Trondheim, 13 April 2023 (photo: Thor Egil Leirtrø).

I’m a classically trained violinist and I’ve been working in many different situations and settings as a performer. Gradually, I have turned more towards improvisation and the developing of my own projects with experimental, contemporary music. My quartet Tøyen Fil og Klafferi has been of great significance in this process. For me, taking a more co-creative role in the practice, and thus feeling ownership of what is being communicated, has been of the utmost importance for my own artistic development. 


«Curating» is a term that comes from the visual arts, but which in recent years has been transferred to many fields, also the music field. In the Performer-Curator project, curating will in practice involve testing different ways of expanding the concert format. I will do this by contextualizing musical works and musical material in such a way that the setting, surroundings and musical material are mutually reinforcing each other.


Research questions:


  1. Which are my opportunities to create a clearer performer identity by integrating curating as a central part of my artistic practice?
  2. How can knowledge about and reflection on curating help to develop and influence my own role and my own practice? How can my reflection affect mine and other musicians’ performance of contemporary music?
  3. What kind of responsibility, position and role do I have as a performer of contemporary music in relation to my surroundings - society, the audience and my colleagues in the art field?


Hoping to answer these questions, I’ll investigate and compare my work as a «performer-curator» in three different formats: solo (Eira’s kiosk), ensemble (Tøyen Fil og Klafferi) and sinfonietta (SiTron).  


Eira Bjørnstad Foss is a research fellow at The Department of Music at NTNU in Trondheim. She is currently living in Trondheim and is working in the field of contemporary composed music and improvisation. Foss is a key figure in the contemporary composed music scene in Norway, both as a performer and a curator. Foss was head of the board of the organization nyMusikk Trondheim from 2017–2021. She has performed commissioned pieces written especially for her as a soloist with Trondheim Sinfonietta and has performed more than 30 world premieres by young creative composers from all over the world with her ensemble Tøyen Fil og Klafferi. Their debut recording “Botanisk Hage” was nominated for the Norwegian Grammy in 2020 for the best contemporary music album.


Recent performances include Ultima Oslo Contemporary Music Festival, Only Connect, Kongsberg Jazz Festival, Trondheim Chamber Music Festival (NO), Music Unlimited Wels (AT) and Avant Art Festival (PL).


Ongoing collaborations and projects: Tøyen Fil og Klafferi, Trondheim Jazz Orchestra, Maja Ratkje, TheHub, Trondheim Improviser’s Guild, SiTron, Mats Gustafsson (SE), Klingt (AT) and Splitter (DE).



Artistic Research Autumn Forum 2023

Til Artistic Research Autumn Forum 2023 har Eira laget en ny versjon av Eiras kiosk, nærmere bestemt Eiras kiosk: Stigespill-edition. Som del av presentasjonen inviteres publikum til å delta i et spesiallaget brettspill, som utforsker spørsmål og problemstillinger tilknyttet Performer-Curator-prosjektet. Det vil bli utdelt premier.