Trygve Madsen was born in Fredrikstad on 15 February 1940 and grew up in a family rich in music traditions. He began playing the piano at the age of six. At seven he wrote short piano pieces and at nine he composed his first songs.
Musical training: From 1956 to 1961 Madsen studied composition with Egil Hovland and piano with Ivar Johnsen. Madsen also studied with Erik Werba at the Akademie für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Vienna from 1969 to 1971.
In addition to the Russian masters Prokofiev and Shostakovich, Madsen is particularly interested in the works of Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Verdi, Tchaikovsky, Richard Strauss, and, not least, Ravel.
Madsen has always been interested in jazz, and his first major experiences of it were the be-bop style and performers such as Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker and Bud Powell. Trygve Madsen enjoys playing jazz piano and is inspired by Art Tatum, Errol Garner and Oscar Peterson, among others, which can clearly be heard in the way he uses the piano, and in other contexts.
Trygve Madsen is today greatly in demand as a composer all over the world. His music has been performed in Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Colombia, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Italy, Japan, Switzerland, Sweden, the Czech Republic, the USA, and Austria. Madsen has been invited to concert presentations of his music at the Rudolfinum in Prague, the Jánácek conservatoire in
Ostrava, the Conservatoire de Paris and the Royal Academy of Music in Stockholm.
An increasing number of musicians from all over the world are enthusiastic advocates of Trygve Madsen’s music, perhaps the result of many of his compositions being included in the syllabuses of various music education institutions in Norway and abroad. Works such as «de fire riker» for solo oboe, «The Dream of the Rhinoceros» for solo horn, the sonatas for horn and piano, tuba and piano and double-bass and piano have been on the syllabus for a long time already. Since the autumn of 2009 Madsen’s saxophone pieces have been on the syllabus at Czech conservatoires. From 2010 his sonatas for trumpet and piano and trombone and piano will be on the syllabus of the Royal School of Music in London, and from 2011/12 his Prelude and Fugue No. 1 for piano, from 24 Preludes and Fugues op. 101, will also be on the same syllabus. Many of Madsen’s works are used as examination pieces at academies and conservatoires.
Several of Madsen’s compositions have been used as set pieces at national and international competitions; for example in 2009 «The Dream of the Rhinoceros» was an obligatory piece at a
national horn competition in Poland.
Many of Madsen’s works are the result of commissions. Worth particular mention is his opera Circus Terra (libretto by Jon Bing), commissioned by the Norwegian National Opera, which received its first performance at the Prague State Opera in May 2002, and four performances the following September during the Ultima Festival in Oslo. To mark the hundredth anniversary of the dissolution of the Norwegian-Swedish union in 2005 Madsen was commissioned by the Norwegian parliament’s jubilee committee to write an opera. Aurora (libretto by Jon Bing) was given its first performance at Halden Fortress in June 2005. Madsen’s Concerto for Horn and Orchestra was commissioned by the French government and the then minister of culture Jacques Lang. The work has subsequently been recorded on CD by Frøydis Ree Wekre and Trondheim Symphony Orchestra. When the US Military Academy of Music, New York, was to celebrate its two-hundredth anniversary, Madsen was commissioned to write two works, both of which were subsequently recorded by The West Point Band.
The many CD recordings of Madsen’s music testify to a global interest in his music. To date Madsen’s works are to be found on thirty-six CDs, of which eight are devoted exclusively to his music. A list of CD recordings can be found in Musikk-Husets Forlag’s catalogue on Trygve Madsen.
Trygve Madsen is one of the most productive composers published by Musikk-Husets Forlag. «Konsertouvertüre» op. 11 was the first work for which Madsen was given a publishing contract. The first published piece by Madsen to come out in print, however, was the «Sonate for fløyte og klaver» op. 21 (1978). Then followed the «Sonate for obo og klaver» op. 22 (1979) and «Konsertouvertüre» in 1981. In 2009 there were 125 works by Madsen in Musikk-Husets Forlag’s catalogue.