Knut Nystedt at his grand piano

Knut Nystedt (1915-2014) was a norwegian composer, conductor, organist and music teacher.

He held a central position throughout a long period of rapidly shifting musical currents. With unfailing artistry he showed a remarkable ability to adapt essential new discoveries to his own, highly personal, style, which is rich in colours and, at the same time, delicately nuanced. Nystedt composed music for virtually all kinds of instrumentations and is recognized world wide as a key composer of choral and church music, particularly in the USA where the Augsburg College in Minneapolis awarded him their Distinguished Service Citation 1975, and his choral work De Profundis was elected “Best work of the year 1984” by the US Choral Association.

The music of Nystedt is eclectic in the sense that he experimented with a broad range of styles across his entire output. They tend to be coherent in themselves, stylistically, but each work can differ profoundly, while still maintaining his personal, Nationalistic and Romantic voice. Nationalism is sensed in his use of Norwegian folk songs and tunes with modal harmonic and melodic material.

Knut Nystedt was one of Norway’s most important composers and was responsible for the spreading of contemporary choral music in Norway and worldwide. His musical language showed his understanding of developments in the avant-garde of his time while remaining true to conventions of his forefathers.