Ståle Kleiberg was born in Stavanger in 1958. He lives in Trondheim, where he is professor of music at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. His works are often to be found on concert programmes in Norway and abroad. Most of his works are composed to commission, many of them from outstanding orchestras, ensembles and performers. Kleiberg’s music is also well represented on CD, and several of the discs have received outstanding international reviews.
Kleiberg’s music is characterised by a highly distinctive form of extended tonality and by meticulous attention to coloristic details. This is especially the case in his orchestral works, including his first symphony, The Bell Reef, and his Lamento: Cissi Klein in memoriam, both released on CD with the Trondheim Symphony Orchestra in 2003. The same orchestra will release a new CD with Kleiberg’s Violin Concerto and his Double Bass Concerto in 2009.
Ståle Kleiberg has also composed several large-scale vocal works. His acclaimed opera David and Bathsheba was premiered in 2008, while his Requiem – for the victims of Nazi persecution is one of his most frequently performed works. In addition to the parts from the Latin Mass, specially commissioned texts by the Scottish poet and playwright Edwin Morgan are included. The work was performed in Washington National Cathedral on 11 September 2004, i.e. on the Memorial Day for the terrorist attacks on Manhattan and Washington DC. It was broadcast nationally in the US, recorded on CD with Washington National Cathedral’s choir and chamber orchestra, and has since been given many international performances, including one in Kraków on 1 September 2008, i.e. on the anniversary of Hitler’s attack on Poland. The Requiem is the principal work in a trilogy of compositions dealing with the same subject matter: the others are the orchestral work Lamento: Cissi Klein in memoriam and the cello concerto Dopo. Dopo was commissioned by the renowned chamber orchestra the Trondheim Soloists, who have taken it abroad on several of their tours, and also recorded it on CD, with their artistic director Øyvind Gimse as soloist.
Many of Kleiberg’s works have a literary source. Poetic images often give rise to musical associations and these imagined sound worlds may in turn form the basis of the composer’s inspiration. One excellent example of this is the hour-long Rosevinduet (The Rose Window) for narrator, organ and chamber orchestra, first performed in the Nidaros Cathedral, Trondheim in 1992, and later released on CD with Daniel Harding as conductor.