Piano, Accompaniment, Guitar and Accordion Department
Research / Working Group
Research Areas / Expertise
PhD project: ’Unfolding Beethoven Extempore. A study of his piano sonatas in light of Beethovenian Fantasieren and Opus 77’.
Tor Espen Aspaas is one of the most outstanding pianists and music communicators of his generation in Norway.
In 2016 he was created Knight 1st Class within the Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav for his merits and contributions to music and culture.
In 2006 he was appointed university professor at the Norwegian Academy of Music where, in addition to his teaching duties, he is currently doing a research project looking into the role of improvisation in the creative processes and works of Beethoven.
Aspaas gained his postgraduate soloist’s diploma at the NAoM in 1996 and gave a critically acclaimed debut recital in Oslo the following year. He has received numerous grants and awards (among the more recent are the Lindeman-prize, the Levin-prize, and the Nils Larsen Grant) and he has appeared as a soloist with several international orchestras, as well as with all of Norway's professional orchestras. Among the many conductors Aspaas has collaborated with in his solo career are Brüggen, Sinaysky, Plasson, Karpe, Eggen, Engeset, Gupta and Engegård. In 2011 Aspaas gave the premier performance of O.A. Thommessen's third piano concerto, commissioned by the Trondheim Symphony Orchestra.
In addition to recitals and world-wide concert tours he is regularly invited to Norwegian and international festivals and concert series. In the autumn of 2010 Aspaas gave an acclaimed series of recitals on Debussy's 24 preludes, which included a performance in the Norwegian National Opera. In March 2013 he made his US debut with a solo recital at Carnegie Hall, NY.
His discography is comprehensive, including internationally acclaimed solo CDs of works by Beethoven, Schönberg, Berg and Webern, as well as the complete piano works by Paul Dukas.
Aspaas was one of the initiators behind the chamber music festival Vinterfestspill i Bergstaden in Røros, Norway, and its first artistic director from 1999-2008 in addition to 2014. (www.vinterfestpill.no)