MUSIC with the REAL

Music with the Real was an artistic research project undertaken from 2014–2017 within the Norwegian Artistic Research Programme, at the Norwegian Academy of Music. It was initiated by percussionist Håkon Stene and composer Henrik Hellstenius, and included a series of commissions, concert performances, seminar lectures and text production involving a total of twenty contributors. This website displays and documents the production in its entirety.  


The artistic portfolio consists of five new works by the composers participating in the project. These works were performed at festivals in Norway, UK, Germany, Austria, and Italy. Furthermore, the project group hosted a number of lectures in which various facets of “real world” material employed in the context of art were discussed. 


The project’s main ambition has been to explore dialogues between traditional musical materials (understood as instrumental music based in traditional notions of pitch and rhythm), and outer-musical materials derived from our everyday surrounding (such as samples of everyday events from both sonic and visual domains, text and speech), thereby attempting to create musical dialogues between the two. Musical and artistic developments have always been propelled by the idea of expansion and invention, and these questions have indeed been dealt with by other artists in previous centuries – increasingly so in the past decades. However, the emergence of the internet and various digital media in the recent decade has opened up to unprecedented amounts of sonic and visual material available for free, which influences what we listen to, and, not least, the way in which we listen to it. Whilst trying explore these connections anew, the current project did not intend to invent totally new concepts of composition, create groundbreaking developments in music technology, nor answer – in the deepest philosophical sense – to the question of what is, and what is not real in music. Rather, its intention has been to gather a handful of practitioners – composers, performers, and scholars – each with their distinct style, who could contribute to a heterogeneous portfolio reflecting the personal tastes and focuses of each individual artist, thereby shedding light on the status of music’s increasingly extended material at the beginning of the 21st century. 



Activity Calendar:




  • June: Workshops and presentation at the University of Southampton
  • September: Workshops, performances and lectures at the Ultima Academy 
  • December: Seminars and performances at London City University




  • January: Ultraschall, Berlin: Premiere of Matthew Shlomowitz’s Popular Contexts, Volume 8: Five Soundscapes in Percussion
  • May: Bergen International Festival: Public Domain Music (video works by John Smith, Johannes Kreidler), premieres of Henrik Hellstenius’s Instrument of Speech and Carola Bauckholt’s Oh, I See, for ensemble, recorded audio and video; 
  • July: Darmstadt Summer Courses for New Music:  premiere of Johannes Kreidler’s Fantasies of Downfall for solo percussionist and video;
  • December: Lectures and performances at the University of Music and Performing Arts Graz, and the Anton Bruckner Private University in Linz




  • June: Lectures and performances at Venice Biennale Camino Research Pavillion hosted by UniArts Helsinki
  • August: Performing Bauckholt and Hellstenius at Musik 21 Festival, Hannover
  • November: Premiering Daily Transformations by Clemens Gadenstätter with asamisimasa and Neue Vokalsolisten Stuttgart at the Wien Modern Festival




  • Performing Daily Transformations by Gadenstätter with asamisimasa and Neue Vokalsolisten Stuttgart at the ECLAT Festival






Music in dialogue with everyday surroundings