Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Interview in the Canadian Music Works Magazine this month.

Cold Wave
Circumpolar artists Matthew Burtner, Paul Walde, Jana Winderen, and Terje Isungset bear sonic witness to Arctic warming.

‘Nature is the boss’

For more than twenty years, Terje Isungset has been sculpting his own genre, which he calls ice music, carving blocks of frozen H2O into wind, percussion, and even string instruments—all of which are playable during their limited lifespans. While Jana Winderen approaches climate-inspired music as science, Isungset approaches it more like spirituality. “I am very connected to nature, and I have been this way all my life,” he says. “And not in a religious way, because I’m not religious at all. But with ice, you have to trust nature. It decides everything with the music. It decides the quality of the sound, depending on how the ice freezes. Imagine if you’re playing a piece on a piano and you don’t know if the piano will have sound or not.”

A low-key mystic with a long history as a percussionist in Norway’s jazz scene, Terje Isungset conducts a practice that is about bringing music back to its origins in the natural world, performing on wood, rocks, and animal bones. His interest in ice began when he was invited to perform a concert at a frozen waterfall in Lillehammer in 2000. A year later, he independently released what he claims was the world’s first ice-music recording.

In Isungset’s ice music, there is a quiet intimacy. But performing and recording it comes with its own set of challenges, related to the ephemeral nature of the instruments. “It’s very important to have a stable temperature, and a place that is silent. No noise, because some of the ice instruments are very soft-sounding. We need to gain everything up really high and sometimes the noisiest part will be my stomach!”

The shimmering, crystalline tones that Isungset draws from the blocks of an iceofon (ice marimba)—which he strikes or taps with gloved hands—can be mesmerizing for audiences. For his ice horns, he uses a piece of leather, given to him by one of the Sámi people, to protect his lips. This sense of spectacle extends to the Ice Music Festival Norway, which the artist has organized annually since 2006, and which take place inside structures made of ice and snow. These gatherings in the cold, dark, remote Norwegian winter bring together musicians, dancers, architects, and poets, as well as scientists giving talks on the effects of climate change.

Although the 2021 edition of the festival was cancelled due to COVID-19, Isungset organized a virtual concert entitled On Nature’s Conditions, which he describes as “an interdisciplinary climate-related project, where nature will control the environmental conditions,” or more succinctly, “Nature is the boss!” Isungset performed solo on an iceofon from within an igloo, while outdoor solo-dance and visual ice-arts performances happened simultaneously. The artist viewed the event as a way of dealing with both climate grief and loneliness.

“Human beings, we are very small and not very important at all,” muses Isungset. “And we’ve been on the planet such a short time, like one millisecond and then we destroy everything . . . and then it’s goodbye.”

Top Photo by Jana Winderen. Matthew Burtner photo and Glacier Music cover by Matthew Burtner. Video still of Paul Walde performing Ice Record (part of Alaska Variations) taken by Michael Conti. Photo of Jana Winderen hydrophone recording in the Barents Sea taken by a crew member of R/V Helmer Hanssen research vessel. Photo of Terje Isungset taken by Emile Holba.

Tuesday, November 02, 2021

Arctic Ice Music Ensemble touring in the UK!


Some photos from the Groupa tour.

We did 15 concerts in Norway, Sweden and Danmark.

Most concerts where sold out.

Thanks to all our guests:Lena Willemark, Ingfrid Breie Nyhus, Lena Willemark, Sara Parkman, Samantha Ohlanders, Sofia Sandén and Ulrika Bodén. The tech crew Johannes Lundberg and Sofia Andersson.

And the audience and local organizers. A big hug and thanks to Folkmusikens hus and Lotta Johansson.
Also thanks to the film crew from Gotheburg that have been following us for some months. A documentary to be released!

Some photos:

Interview in Bristol Magazine


Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Composing music for Theatre in Norway

 I have been working quite a while on composing new music for this great theatre in Oslo. Mainly by using, stones, slate, wood, a broken piano, pieces of metal-garbage, a mouth harp, a drum, my rams horn and some recorded sounds of a rain shower coming up outside my studio. On Friday we will finish the work-showtime including live audiences will take place in September. 

Eg har hatt mange fine arbeidsperiodar i Oslo siste tida. Herleg å være ein del av eit stort kreativt team, og få oppleve utøvande kunstnarar dagleg.

Frode Grytten har skreve ny tekst. Regi er ved Lasse Kolsrud. På scenen har vi Amell Basic, Svein Roger Karlsen , Marianne Krogh, Kirsti Stubø , Morten Svartveit, Oddgeir Thune , Nina Woxholtt. 

Scenograf og kostymedesign Bård Lie Thorbjørnsen, koreograf Belinda Braza, lysdesign Torkel Skjærven og dramaturg Ingrid Weme Nilsen

Kvalitet i alle ledd.

Det kjennest bra å være på Det Norske Teater. Ja, eg er jo nynorskmann og bondeson. Goffa min var med i startfasen av detteb teateret og Bondeheimen er stamhotellet (-:

"Inn frå regnet" by Frode Grytten.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Art Council Norway giving Grants for Artists

Terje Isungset has been given a one year grant to continue developing his artistic work.
It was given by Art Council Norway.

Monday, March 15, 2021

Thanks for joining us!

Thanks a lot to everyone that joined the igloo concert stream yesterday and for lots of positive response.
It was quite a few people as we did stream on 3 various platforms:
Ticketmaster for Norway.
WeChat for China, and 
on my Youtube Channel for the rest of the world.
There will soon be an update on the igloo blog with photos etc.
It has been a lot of work to put this project together, and a lot of fantastic people have been involved with making it happen.
Thanks a lot to every one!
Dance:Embla Skogedal Bergerud.
Ice art:Gunnveig Nerol.
Igloo construction and design: Petter Bergerud.
Igloo construction: Even Rygg.
Ice collection and preparation for instruments: Even Rygg.
Ice instruments making: Even Rygg & Terje Isungset.
Filming and editing of concert, visual art and dance: Sven Erling Brusletto.
Sound production by Tor Magne Hallibakken.
Press, web design and photos:Emile Holba. 
Dress design for dancer: Mona Larsen.
Terje`s sweater: Dale of Norway.
Photo of the process and the preparation: Knut Bry & Terje Isungset.
Bergsjøstølen Hotell and Kåre Berg for taking care of us.
ice assistant: Ingebjørg Isungset
Streaming logistics: Iselin Isungset.
Recording engineer: Tarjei Jensen.
Ice instruments, musician, composer, concept & idea: Terje Isungset.

Thanks to the Nature of Norway for staying cold!

Photo by Knut Bry

Friday, March 12, 2021

Tickets available now!

Tickets for the upcoming ice music streaming concerts are nov available.
To get access to the stream, you need to purchase a ticket of approximately 10 USD.
For audience outside of Norway: 
For audience living in Norway we do recommend this link: 
(price is the same)
Check out Terje's own blog from the igloo project! 

For more information:

photos by isungset

Tuesday, March 09, 2021

Igloo & Ice Music update


Line-up for streaming on March the 14th - 2021:
Terje Isungset: Ice instruments inside an igloo
Embla Skogedal Bergerud: Dance
Gunnveig Nerol: Ice art
Stream opens at 17:30 (UTC+1/Norwegian time). The concert starts 1830, approximately 40 min show.
To get access to the stream, you need to purchase tickets.
For audience from Norway:
For audience outside of Norway:
Ticket sales open on March 12th.

Link to the streaming blog including daily updates:On Natures Conditions - blog.

Monday, February 22, 2021

Ice Music festival Norway 2021 - cancelled

 Dear Ice Music fans.

We had made ALL preparations ready for the upcoming festival. We had made igloos, harvested ice, built ice instruments, planned for all Covid 19 rules, solved all problems and sold all tickets.

30 people where ready to work hard for one week doing preparations.

All crew including the administration of the festival are working for free.

Because of one single rule from Norwegian Government saying that we are only aloud to have an audiences from the actual village of Ål in Hallingdal, we simply can not do the festival.

The result would be to have 4 out 5 sold tickets to refund. As you can all understand, this would be a financial disaster for us.

We are very sorry.

But: LOOK TO 2022!

It will be the most fantastic Ice Music festival ever.

It will be the same Igloo concept and at the same place as planned for in 2021.

See you there!

best wishes


Photo by Knut Bry.

Friday, February 05, 2021

Ice Music live Streaming concert from an igloo up high mountains on February 21st - 2021!

Look out for the upcoming concert online:
"On nature's conditions” is an interdisciplinary climate-related project where nature lays down all the conditions for the actual implementation. We do absolutely everything related to this performance by using 100% natural and recyclable materials only. We leave no trace or climate imprint after the performance. Nature is the boss. Everything is on nature's terms - also the artistic content.
The performance will be streamed online on Sunday 21 February at sunset, more precisely at 17.30.
What we are doing?
We do build an igloo out of snow situated on a lake in the middle of the mountain Hardangervidda in Norway.
We do harvest ice from the lake.
We do make and construct ice instruments inside the igloo.
We do make visual art by using ice only.
We do create a dance arena out on the lake.
We do invite the online audience to follow the construction process by posting daily photos and videos all week before the performance.
We broadcast the show "live" on February 21 at sunset.
The theme og the performance is “loneliness”.
A human being totally alone out in the whitheout of nature.
Absence of community.
This might be a situation where you are alone in nature.
Or alone in isolation - related to the Corona situation.
Or even having the feeling of being totally alone with your climate concerns?
The Nature is setting all conditions for this performance as for our lives in general.  The Nature is stronger and have to be treated with respect.  In this performance the Nature do give us all the possibilities, options or limitations to perform the art.
Terje Isungset: sitting alone inside an igloo with instruments made of ice. The igloo is located out on the lake with a clear horizon.
Embla Skogedal Bergerud: dancing alone in the horizon out on the lake - at sunset, without being able to hear the music.
Gunnveig Nerol: sitting outside in the snow only surrounded by the elements of winter. Gunnveig is a visual artist and she will paint and shape art in ice sheets of 60x60 cm. The theme is the UN's sustainability goals with a focus on climate.
The technical communication is by:
Filming of concert, visual art and dance: Sven Erling Brusletto.
Sound production by Tor Magne Hallibakken.
Photo of the process and the preparation: Emile Holba / Knut Bry.
Igloo construction and building: Petter Bergerud.
Igloo construction: Even Rygg.
Ice collection and preparation for instruments: Even Rygg.
Ice instruments: Terje Isungset
Idea, project management and music: Terje Isungset.
Details to be updated.
Supported by the Norwegian Art Council.

Link to event: 

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Terje Isungset is taking part in a new exhibition at The Kennedy Center of Performing Arts in Washington, USA - January 21st - 2021.

Kennedy Center reached out to artists and writers from across the globe and asked them to respond to the following prompt:
The world events of 2020 have taken a global toll on our personal lives and all of humanity. As we move forward in 2021, what inspires and motivates you as an artist?
Their responses, seen in the video below, are from across the U.S. and 22 countries around the world


Saturday, January 02, 2021

GROUPA 40 years!

 GROUPA is celebrating 40 years in 2021!



2021 marks Groupa’s 40th anniversary and they will celebrate all year long with spectacular old and new collaborations with Lena Willemark, Ingfrid Breie Nyhus and Sara Parkman & Samantha Ohlanders. Music from the Kind of Folk projects, a new compilation album, freshly composed anniversary fanfares, and a few surprises from Groupa’s well-stocked musical pantry will be featured during their commemorative tours in 2021.

The Art of Travel - New album out now.

 The new album by Arve Henriksen & Terje Isungset is now available

at all digital platforms.