Gisle Kverndokk (born 3 February 1967) studied composition with Olav Anton Thommessen, Lasse Thoresen and Alfred Janson at The Norwegian State Academy of Music, where he received his Master’s degree in 1994, and with John Corigliano and David Diamond at The Juilliard School in New York. In 1994 he attended the BMI Earl Hagen Film Scoring Workshop in Hollywood.
At the age of 15 he wrote a radio opera commissioned by the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation. The Norwegian State Academy of Music premiered his first full-scale opera The Falcon Tower in 1990. His next opera George’s Marvellous Medicine was premiered by The Kristiansund Opera in 1995, and was awarded Work of the Year by The Norwegian Composers Society. It has since then been produced by The Norwegian Opera in Oslo, Opera Vest in Bergen, Trondheim Symphony Orchestra, Ringsakeroperaen and was presented at The Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival in Germany 1997. The Norwegian Broadcasting Company has also produced it as a radio production.
All the major orchestras in Norway has performed his works, among them The Norwegian Radio Orchestra, Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra and The Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra. In the 1999-2000 season he was “Composer of the year” with The Trondheim Symphony Orchestra. His Selenefor orchestra was among the winners of The Juilliard Composers Competition 1992, and Initiation for violin and orchestra won 1. prize in the competition for composers under 30 years in The 1993 Paris ROSTRUM.
He has written musicals for children, music for several theatre plays, revues and ballets. He has a regular collaboration with librettist Øystein Wiik, and their first musical Sophie’s World was premiered at the Schlossfestspiele Ettlingen, Germany, in 1998. The Norwegian premiere was in Oslo 1999, in Hanger 4 at Fornebu, in a theatre specially built for the occasion. Their next musical, Vincent had its world premiere in Ettlingen, Germany, in June 2001.
In December 2002 Dangerous Liaisons had its world premiere at Theater Pforzheim, Germany, and the musical Homeless was premiered at The Norwegian Theatre, Oslo, October 2003. Theater Erfurt premiered the musical Martin L. at The Domstufen Festspiele in 2008. This work was nominated for The Nordic Music Prize. Wiik and Kverndokk’s opera Around the world in 80 days was commissioned for the opening of the new opera house in Oslo and was premiered in May 2010. Their children’s opera Max and Moritz was commissioned by The New York Opera Society and had its world premiere in October 2010 in Washington DC.
Bokken Lasson – stumbling success, a radio opera with libretto by Ivar Tindberg and commissioned by The Norwegian State Broadcasting Company, won the Prix Italia in 2000. Their next collaboration, the opera The fourth Watch of the Night was premiered at The Norwegian National Opera in November 2005, and was awarded the Edvard Prize in 2006.
Kverndokk has also written the music for the Danish film, Chinaman, produced by Fine & Mellow in 2005.
Kverndokk has an extensive production of church music, written for and premiered by the leading church music ensembles in Norway; Te Deum (2009) for The Norwegian Soloists Choir, Mass (2007) for The Nordic Voices, Nidarosmesse (2010) for The Nidaros Cathedral Choir and the church play Sommerens Maria (2011) written in collaboration with librettist Eyvind Skeie, for the Church Choir School in Nøtterøy.
Gisle Kverndokk has worked extensively as a musician and has been music director of several music theatre productions in Norway, Germany, The USA and Canada. He was awarded Anders Jahre’s Cultural Prize for Young Artists and Wilhelm Hansen’s Legacy in 1997. In 1999 he received The Lily Boulanger Memorial Fund from Boston University.