Born 1946 in London, England, but grew up in England, USA and Norway, with studies at UCLA, California, and The Norwegian Academy of Music, receiving his BA (clarinet major) in 1975 and his diploma in composition two years later. Has taught at the academy since 1976, becoming professor of composition in 1997. He has written two books on jazz theory and one on composition and drama, called "The Reflective Artist" (Scandinavian University Press 1995, ISBN 82-00-22405-8). Bjørn Kruse is also an active painter, having had several exhibitions in Oslo, the latest of which were at Gallery Albin Upp, titled “Chaos and Order” (2009) and “Space and Time” (2010). Bjørn Kruse lectures extensively throughout Norway on the subject of his latest book, addressing both students of Fine Arts within all disciplines and art appreciation for various audiences. The basic theme of the book deals with a model of understanding art through a set of interdisciplinary concepts within the fields of composition and dramaturgy – concepts that are found in the common domain of all expressions of art. The assertion is that this type of insight enriches the individual artist in his own discipline, as well as develops the “esthetical competence” of all those who enjoy the experience of art, whether it be a concert, an exhibition of paintings, or a theatre play.
From 1972, Bjørn Kruse was active for about 20 years as jazz musician (saxophone), composer/arranger, producer and studio musician within most areas of music, while teaching and composing preoccupied him more and more. His list of works now numbers more that 120, including compositions for choir, chamber ensembles, several concertos and orchestra works, and four operas, and his compositions are performed ever more often in Norway and abroad. His latest major work was the opera “The Green Knight” (libretto by Paal-Helge Haugen), which was premiered in Kristiansand on March 10, 2004. Among prizes won may be mentioned the Fernseh Opern Preis der Stadt Salzburg 1983, for the TV opera “A Game of Chess”, and several of his works have won the Work of the Year in Norway. Bjørn Kruse was featured composer at Festspillene i Nord-Norge 1994, Vinterfestspill i Bergstaden 2003, Risør Chamber Music Festival 2005, and Musik à Toulouse, France 2010.
Says Bjørn Kruse about his music: ”When listening to my own music after a period of time, I can hear that it reflects impulses from jazz, modern classical and contemporary music, although I am not aware of this while composing. I try to listen to my innermost voice, letting the flow of music be directed by a combination of dramatic intuition and structural control, through an interplay with lively gestures and calm atmospheric moods. It is important for me to be on terms with the current of time, through the organic and dynamic sequence of events that emerge from, and merge into, one another, until they fuse and freeze into various states of sound colour.