Anne-Marie Ørbeck was born in Oslo in 1911 and died in Bergen in 1996. She studied piano in Oslo and Berlin, her teacher was Sandra Drouker. She also studied harmony, counterpoint, instrumentation and composition with teachers like Gustav Lange, Mark Lothar, Paul Höffer, Nadia Boulanger, Hanns Jelinek and Darius Milhaud. Her debut as a pianist took place in Oslo 1933 with Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra.
Vocal music and especially Lieder has a central position in Anne-Marie Ørbeck's production. Her song cycle "Vonir i blømetid" was a price winner in a competiton arranged by the Norwegian Society of Composers in 1942. She has also composed two songs with orchestra, several choral works amd psalm tunes. Her vocal music is very lyrical, but is also characterized with a certain freshness. From her great production for the piano one could mention the Sonatina in three movements and her five cadenzas for piano concertos by Haydn and Mozart, revealing her clear sense for the classical style.
However, her orchestal works are most well known. Her Concertino for Piano and Orchestra was premiered in Berlin in 1938 with herself as soloist. Her Symphony, which was composed during the war, had its first performance in Bergen in 1954, conducted by Carl von Garaguly. This work as well as her Pastorale ans Allegro for flute and strings are her works played most often.
In spite of her studies in twelvetone technique with Jelinek, and an open mind towards contemporary music Anne-Marie Ørbeck always has composed tonal music. Her artistic view is based on a strong belief in own musical instincts and originality, - to experiment just for the sake of experimentation is not her style. Or to put it in her own words: "When a composer manages to realize her own originality in the music, the work has a possibility to survive".