updated 16 August 2017
© Eli Berge/Fotofil

Rolf Wallin

Norwegian composer born 7 September 1957 in Oslo.

Rolf Wallin studied composition at the Norwegian Academy of Music with Finn Mortensen and Olav Anton Thommessen from 1976 to 1982. He went on to study with Joji Yuasa, Roger Reynolds, and Vinko Globokar at the University of California, San Diego in the mid-1980s. Also active as a trumpetist, he has performed with numerous early music groups, rock bands, and experimental jazz groups.

His music is characterised by the use of a variety of techniques which allow him to explore numerous styles and approaches. In his works, intuitive music co-exists with highly formalised material devised using computer software. He has applied fractal techniques in the development of his own system for generating harmonies, in a concept he refers to as “harmonic crystals”, based on the constant repetition of three fundamental intervals. Wallin has applied this technique in a number of his works, such as Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra (1996), Tides (1998) for percussion and orchestra, Ground (1997) for cello and chambre orchestra, and Appearances (2002) for orchestra.

In 1987, his work …though what made it has gone for mezzo soprano and piano was named “Composition of the Year” by the Norwegian Society of Composers. In 1998, his Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra was awarded the Music Prize by the Nordic Council.

In 2001, he was commissioned by IRCAM and Ultima Festival to compose his string quartet with electronics, Phonotope I, which was premiered by the Arditti Quartet in Oslo. His works Act for orchestra (commissioned by the Cleveland Orchestra in 2004) and The Age of Wire and String for ensemble (commissioned by Court-Circuit in 2005) have been widely performed throughout the world. In 2006-2007, Wallin was composer-in-residence with the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra. This gave rise to the composition of Das war schön!, a percussion concerto based upon Mozart as a historical figure, and Strange News, for actor, orchestra, video, and electronics, a piece exploring the experiences of child soldiers in Africa. Notably, 2010 saw the premiere of Manyworlds, a co-commission of the Bergen Philharmonic, Helsinki Philharmonic, and the Hannover NDR Radiophilharmonie; the work can be performed with a 3D video, developed by artist Boya Bøckmann. His first opera, Elysium (2015), with a libretto by Mark Ravenhill and directed by David Poutney, was premiered in March, 2016 at the Den Norske Opera in Oslo. He has worked extensively with choreographer Ingun Bjørnsgaard, for whom he composed music for the ballets Seven Imperatives (2001) and The Einstein-Mahler Bridge (2016).

Many of his works have been published on CD, notably on the Ondine and Aurora labels. His scores are published by Chester Music.

© Ircam-Centre Pompidou, 2017

  • Solo (excluding voice)
    • elec Depart for flute and tape (1986), 12 mn, Chester Music
    • Stonewave for percussion (1990), 12 mn, Chester Music
    • Stream for cello (1999), 12 mn, Chester Music
    • stage Seven Imperatives for piano (2001), 20 mn, Chester Music
    • elec Concerning King version for piano and tape (2007), 2 mn, Chester Music
    • Ciacconetta for cello (2010), Chester Music
    • Here for trumpet (2010), 3 mn, Chester Music
    • Realismos Mágicos for marimba (2014), 15 mn, Chester Music
  • Chamber music
    • Mandala for two percussionists and two pianos (1985), 15 mn, Chester Music
    • Stonewave for three percussionists (1990), 12 mn, Chester Music
    • Stonewave for six percussionists (1990), 12 mn, Chester Music
    • ning for oboe, violin, viola and cello (1991), 17 mn, Chester Music
    • Listen for xylophone and marimba (1995), 14 mn, Chester Music
    • Frap for two or three or four percussionists (1998), 3 mn, Chester Music
    • elec ircam Phonotope I for string quartet and electronics (2001), 25 mn, Chester Music [program note]
    • Concerning King for string quartet (2006), 20 mn, Chester Music
    • Toccatina for brass trio (or multiple of three) (2006), 60 s, Chester Music
    • Curiosity Cabinet for string quartet (2009), 10 mn, Chester Music
    • Elegy for trumpet and organ (2009), 3 mn, Chester Music
    • Elegy for trumpet and piano (2009), 3 mn, Chester Music
    • Round for flute and vibraphone (2009), Chester Music
    • Sway for string trio (2010), 15 mn, Chester Music
    • Swans Kissing for string quartet (2016), 10 mn, Chester Music
  • Instrumental ensemble music
  • Concertant music
    • Concerto pour clarinette et orchestre (1996), 14 mn, Chester Music
    • Ground for cello and string orchestra (1996), 20 mn, Chester Music
    • Concerto pour timbales et orchestre (1998), 20 mn, Chester Music
    • Tides for six percussions and orchestra (1998), 25 mn, Chester Music
    • Das war schön! for percussion and orchestra (2006), 20 mn, Chester Music
    • Elegy for trumpet and strings (2009), 3 mn, Chester Music
    • Imella for fiddle and ensemble (2009), 22 mn, Chester Music
    • elec Under City Skin for viola, string orchestra and electronics (2009), 30 mn, Chester Music
    • Elegy version for trumpet and brass (2011), 3 mn, Chester Music
    • Fischer King for trumpet and orchestra (2011), 27 mn, Chester Music
    • Glacial Speed for trumpet and orchestra (2011), 12 mn, Chester Music
    • elec Under City Skin for violin, string orchestra and electronics (2016), 30 mn, Chester Music
    • Spirit for bass guitar and ensemble (2017), 17 mn, Chester Music
  • Vocal music and instrument(s)
  • A cappella vocal music
    • elec Phonotope 3 for soprano, choir and electronics (2005), 21 mn, Chester Music


  • Rolf WALLIN, Fisher King, Id, Manywords, Håkan Hardenberger, trompette ; Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra ; John Storgårds, direction ; Boya Bøckmann, vidéo, 1 cd et 1 Blu-ray Ondine, 2015, ODE 1267-2D.
  • Rolf WALLIN, Seven Imperatives, Kenneth Karlsson, piano dans « The View was all in Lines » avec des œuvres d’Arnold Schoenberg et Asbjørn Schaathun, 1 cd 2L, 2012.
  • Rolf WALLIN, The Age of Wire and String, *Three Poems by Rainer Maria Rilke,*Imella, Susanne Lundeng, fiddle ; Siri Torjesen, soprano ; Bodø Sinfonietta ; Christian Eggen, direction, 1 cd Pro Musican, 2011.
  • Rolf WALLIN, Seven Imperatives, Håkon Austbø, piano dans « Norwegian Piano Music » avec des œuvres de Fartein Valen, Klaus Egge, Finn Mortensen, 1 cd Aurora, 2009, ACD5060.
  • Rolf WALLIN, Act, Das war schön!, Tides, Martin Grubinger, percussion ; Kroumata Percussion Ensemble ; Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra ; Jukka-Pekka Saraste, Jaap van Zweden, John Axelrod, direction, 1 cd Ondine, 2007, ODE 1118-2.
  • Rolf WALLIN, Ground, Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra, Boyl, Concerto for Timpani and Orchestra, Øystein Birkeland, violoncelle ; Leif-Arne Tangen Pedersen, clarinette ; Tom Vissgren, timbales ; The Norwegian Chamber Orchestra ; Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, Oslo Sinfonietta ; Terje Tønnesen, Christian Eggen, Rolf Gupta, direction, 1 cd Aurora, 2007, ACD5011.
  • Rolf WALLIN, Phonotope 1, Quatuor Arditti*,* dans « Ultima Arditti I »avec des œuvres de Ragnhild Berstad, Jon Oivind Ness, Sven Lyder Kahrs, 1 cd Norway Music, 2005.
  • Rolf WALLIN, Scratch, avec des œuvres d’Henrik Hellstenius, Rolf Wallin, Rob Waring, Tomas Nilsson/DJ Barabass, 1 cd Simax, 2003.
  • Rolf WALLIN, Strøk, avec des œuvres électroniques de Ore, Natasha Barrett, Risto Holopainen, Anders Vinjar, Terje Winther, Maja S. K. Ratkje, 1 cd Aurora, 2002, ACD5018.
  • Rolf WALLIN, Stonewaven, Hans-Kristain Kjos Sorensen, piano, dans « Open Percussion » aevc des œuvres de John Cage, Ase Hedstrom, Iannis Xenakis, 1 cd Bis, 2002, 512.
  • Rolf WALLIN, Twine, Safri Duo dans « Safri Duo » aevc des œuvres de Bach, Chpin, Ravel, … et al., 1 cd Chandos, 1996, CHAN 6651.
  • Rolf WALLIN, Stonewave, ning, Solve et coagula, Onda di ghiaccio, SISU Percussion Ensemble ; BIT 20 Ensemble ; Cikada Ensemble ; Oslo Sinfonietta ; Ingar Bergby, Christian Eggen, direction, 1 cd Hemera, 1994, HCD2903.
  • Rolf WALLIN, Purge, Cikada Duo, avec des œuvres de Magne Hegdal, Sven David Sandström, Jon Balke, 1 cd Albedo, 1993, 004.
  • Rolf WALLIN, Onda di Ghiaccio, avec des œuvres de Håkon Berge, Olav Anton Thommessen, Åse Hedstrøm, Arne Nordheim, 1 cd Aurora, 1993, ACD4974.
  • Rolf WALLIN, Mandala, Ensemble K4, avec des œuvres de Luciano Berio, Olav Anton Thommessen, Yngve Slettholm, 1 cd Albedo, 1990, 001.

Liens internet

(liens vérifiés en août 2017)