Torstein Aagaard-Nilsen (b. 11 January 1964, Oslo, Norway) is a freelance composer, arranger, brass tutor, conductor and teacher.
Aagaard-Nilsen grew up in Kabelvåg on Lofoten in northern Norway. From 1986 to 1990 he studied at the Bergen Conservatory of Music (now known as the Grieg Academy) and at the University of Bergen. From 1990 to 1994 he worked at the Bergen Conservatory as a teacher of contemporary classical music.
His contact with the contemporary music scene in Bergen resulted in commissions from the Norwegian section of ISCM, the BIT 20 Ensemble and festivals like Borealis (Bergen International Contemporary Music Festival) and the International Festival of Bergen (Festspillene).
From the work The Fourth Angel (for trumpet and sinfonietta), which he commenced in 1992 (recorded by Bodø Sinfonietta in 2002), a line of development goes though the 1990s, in which the form endeavours to express both a narrative and a visual aspect in an attempt to reach a music with an impulsive and communicative appearance.
From 1998 (Crossing Lines) the music tends to get more complex and multi-layered as you can explore in works like Aubade (2002/03), Cantilena III (2006), Blue Phrases (2007) and The Season of Blue Lights (2008/09.
In 2012, Arctic Philharmonic Orchestra/Christian Lindberg premiered the commissioned orchestral work Boreas Sings.
The broad spectrum of musical activity, the versatility in his production and his interest in working with amateurs and young musicians can be explained by the fact that Aagaard-Nilsen regards composing as a kind social activity. "The composers (and artists in general) play a an important role in the society as a guide to experiences," he says.
Works for Winds
- Arctic Funk (2002)
- Christmas Dance (2012)
- Concerto for Cornet and Wind Ensemble (2015)
- Concerto for Large Wind Ensemble (2001)
- Draug (2013)
- Ljodgata (2013)