Gisle Kverndokk (b. 1967) studied composition with Olav Anton Thommessen, Lasse Thoresen and Alfred Janson at The Norwegian State Academy of Music, where he received his Master’s degree in 1994, and with John Corigliano and David Diamond at The Juilliard School in New York. In 1994 he attended the BMI Earl Hagen Film Scoring Workshop in Hollywood, and in 2013-14 he studied film music composition at Lillehammer University College, with Halldor Krogh.
At the age of 15 he wrote a radio opera commissioned by the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation. The Norwegian State Academy of Music premiered his first full-scale opera «The Falcon Tower» in 1990. His next opera ”George’s Marvellous Medicine” was premiered by The Kristiansund Opera in 1995, and was awarded Work of the Year by The Norwegian Composers Society. It has since then been produced by The Norwegian Opera in Oslo, Opera Vest in Bergen, Trondheim Symphony Orchestra, Ringsakeroperaen and was presented at The Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival in Germany 1997. The Norwegian Broadcasting Company has also produced it as a radio production.
All the major orchestras in Norway has performed his works, among them The Norwegian Radio Orchestra, Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra and The Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra. In the 1999-2000 season he was “Composer of the year” with The Trondheim Symphony Orchestra. His “Selene” for orchestra was among the winners of The Juilliard Composers Competition 1992, and “Initiation” for violin and orchestra won 1. prize in the competition for composers under 30 years in The 1993 Paris ROSTRUM.
He has written musicals for children, music for several theatre plays, revues and ballets. He has a regular collaboration with librettist Øystein Wiik, and their first musical “Sophie’s World” was premiered at The Schlossfestspiele Ettlingen, Germany, in 1998. The Norwegian premiere was in Oslo 1999, in Hangar 4 at Fornebu, in a theatre specially built for the occasion. Their next musical, “Vincent” had its world premiere at The Schlossfestspiele Ettlingen, in June 2001.
In 2002 “Dangerous Liaisons” had its world premiere at Theater Pforzheim, Germany, and the musical “Homeless” was premiered at The Norwegian Theatre, Oslo, 2003. Theater Erfurt premiered the musical “Martin L.” at The Domstufen Festspiele in 2008. This work was nominated for The Nordic Music Prize. Wiik and Kverndokk’s musicals have been performed in numerous theatres all over Germany.
Their opera “Around the world in 80 days” was commissioned for the opening of the new opera house in Oslo and was premiered in May 2010. Their children’s opera “Max and Moritz” was commissioned by The New York Opera Society and had its world premiere in 2010 in Washington DC. Their next children's opera "Supersize Girl" was premiered by the same company, also in Washington DC in 2013.
The musical "Dickie Dick Dickens" also with book and lyrics by Øystein Wiik, was premiered by the Baardar Academy in Oslo, May 2013. A musical version of "Around the World in 80 days" will have its world premiere in Landestheater Linz, Oct. 1 - 2016.
“Bokken Lasson – stumbling success”, a radio opera with libretto by Ivar Tindberg and commissioned by The Norwegian State Broadcasting Company, won the Prix Italia in 2000. Their next collaboration, the opera “The fourth Watch of the Night” was premiered at The Norwegian National Opera in November 2005, and was awarded the Edvard Prize in 2006. It was revived in 2012 at the new opera house in Oslo, and was presented at The Savonlinna Opera festival, Finland, in August 2012.
The opera "Påske", based on Strindberg’s play “Easter”, with libretto by Aksel-Otto Bull, premiered at Opera Sør, Kristiansand, in April 2014.
On October 1., 2016, the musical version of "Around the world in 80 days" (Libretto: Wiik) was premiered at Landestheater Linz, Austria. This production received 11 nominations at Deutche Musical Theater Preis, and won 6 awards, including Best Musical in 2017. On February 24., 2017 Kverndokk's new opera "Upon This Handful of Earth" (Libretto: Kverndokk and Bull) was premiered by New York Opera Society at The Church of St. Ignatius Loyola, New York City. His children's opera "Purriot og den forsvunne bronsehesten" will receive its world premiere May 12. at The Norwegian National Opera.
Kverndokk has also written the music for the Danish film, “Chinaman”, produced by Fine & Mellow in 2005. He is now studying film music at The Lillehammer University College.
Kverndokk has an extensive production of church music, written for and premiered by the leading church music ensembles in Norway; “Te Deum” (2009) for The Norwegian Soloists Choir, “Mass” (2007) for The Nordic Voices, “Nidarosmesse” (2010) for The Nidaros Cathedral Choir and the church musical play “Sommerens Maria” (2011) written in collaboration with librettist Eyvind Skeie, for the Church Choir School in Nøtterøy. "Sommerens Maria" was released on cd at Pro Musica, Grappa, in March 2015.
A cd of Kverndokk's church music, "Fuge der Zeit", performed by the vocal ensemble Nordic Voices, was released by Aurora in 2015, to critical acclaim.
Kverndokk has also written chamber music, and the last years has collaborated with musicians like Tine Thing Helseth, Susanne Kessel, The Danish String Quartet and Trio ClariNord.
Gisle Kverndokk has worked extensively as a musician and has been music director of several music theatre productions in Norway, Germany, USA and Canada.
He was awarded Anders Jahre’s Cultural Prize for Young Artists and Wilhelm Hansen’s Legacy in 1997. In 1999 he received The Lily Boulanger Memorial Fund from Boston University. In 2010 and 2016 he received 3- years State Artist’s Scholarships.