Håkon Berge was born on the 22nd of April 1954, in the coastal town of Stavanger. He studied instrumental education at the Rogaland Conservatory of Music from 1978 to 1981, and composition at The Norwegian State Academy of Music from 1981, graduating with a degree in composition in 1986.
Berge is best known for his work in musical drama. From 1974, at the age of 20, he was involved with the dynamic team working with Ketil Bang Hansen, whose work in the 70's and 80's took place at the Rogaland Teater, Den Nationale Scene and Nationaltheateret. Within this group of productions his music for the Rogaland Theatre production of Peer Gynt in 1978 was especially noted. As a freelance theatre musician, Berge has worked as musical director, composer and orchestra conductor for all the major Norwegian theatres, and has composed music for over 70 performances.
In 1987-88 Berge participated in the television production "VOX", a series of music programs in which central topics from the Norwegian music scene were explored. In addition to the music and musico-political issues addressed, the programs, with their emphasis upon experimental editing, were noted for their distinctive use of the television medium. Two of the programs, one on the composer Olav Anton Thommessen and the other on Music and Electronics, were nominated for the Amanda Prize. Another program from the series, on Sound and the Sound-Environment, won an award at the short film festival in Trondheim in 1987.
Håkon Berge's theatre background and his work related to television productions led to the creation of the television opera "Gagarin" in 1991. The idea of the opera is intrinsically related to the television medium. The point of departure is one of the first major international events to be broadcast in Norway- The Soviet Cosmonaut Jurij Gagarin's first mission into outer space. Parallel to the mission, the piece follows Gagarin's last tragic flight, including glimpses of his childhood and original footage from his life. The opera was well-received, with Berge's ability to adjust to the visual medium being specifically recognized. This production too received an Amanda-nomination within the category Television-Drama.
Håkon Berge has, in addition to his extensive work for the theatre, received commissions from the Society of Norwegian Composers, The Society of Norwegian Writers, The ULTIMA Oslo Contemporary Music Festival, Norwegian Broadcasting and the Norwegian State Opera.
Håkon Berge was Chairman of the Society of Norwegian Composers in the period 1991-1997. He has been a board-member of Norwegian Music Information Centre and is currently chairman of the board of TONO, the Norwegian Performing Rights Society.
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