Kjell Marcussen (1952) was born in Arendal, Norway. He studied guitar at the Agder Conservatory of Music in Kristiansand, where he received his teaching degree in 1976. He continued his education at the Royal Academy of Music, London, under Prof. Hector Quine (guitar) and Prof. Edwin Roxburgh (composition). He followed up with for two years at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London under Gerald Lee (guitar) and Robert Saxton (composition). He graduated in 1982. The same year, Marcussen was selected to participate at the Cardiff Festival of Music, where he made his debut both as guitarist and as composer. Naturally, the guitar occupies a central position in Marcussen’s compositional landscape. He composes for the guitar both as a solo instrument and as one of the elements in chamber music ensembles.
Marcussen has written cantatas, works for orchestra and chamber music ensembles as well as pieces for solo instruments. Among these one can mention the dramatic cantata Tordenskiold, which has seen a number of very successful performances in Norway and abroad. Among his most important works are Concerto for Guitar and Chamber-ensemble, Gitarsonater (three sonatas for the guitar), Variete a suite for four guitars, Mysterium Sanctitatis for flute and guitar, Serenata for Mandolin and Guitar, and 12 Preludes for Solo Guitar, Songs for Baritonsinger and Piano, Concerto for Saxophone and Orchestra og Concertino for Guitar and Strings.
A number of prestigious ensembles such as the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, the Trondheim Symphony Orchestra, and Oslo Sinfonietta have included Marcussen’s works in their programs. His music has been performed at international music festivals, featured on radio and television in addition to being recorded on CD.
Festivalouverture for symphonic band received one of five honorary prizes at the 15th Concorso Internazionale di Composizione Originale per Banda, Corciano, Italy, in 1994. In 1998, Marcussen, together with Dissimilis (an ensemble of musicians with special needs), received the award Spellemannsprisen - the Norwegian equivalent to the Grammy awards. On occasion, Marcussen has written several works for this particular group of performers.
Marcussen composes for a wide variety of genres as well as for educational purposes. With his broad musical background, he feels at home with varied styles of music. He is widely respected for his compositional craftsmanship and his ability to write for a broad range of instruments.
Marcussen is a member of the Norwegian Society of Composers.