06 Dec 21

20 Artists for 20 Years: Terje Isungset

Image of Terje Isungset with ice instruments - Photography by Emile Holba

Continuing our interview series, celebrating 20 Artists for 20 Years, we recently caught up with Terje Isungset for a chat about his recent UK tour, produced by Sound UK, what inspires him, his ice instruments and his upcoming plans.

What do you remember about the first project you did with Sound UK? And what was your most memorable experience?

We had a fantastic project in unusual venues with ice music some years ago. That was amazing. And the Arctic Ice Music tour we have just done is a highlight of my career.

Did these projects help to develop your creative practice at all? If so, how?

Working with Sound UK means I can focus on my art and music. They give me the option to be more creative and are always open to new ideas.

In 2021 Sound UK launched a new artist development programme to help develop and test ambitious creative ideas. How important do you think initiatives like this are and the work Sound UK does commissioning artists?

It means artists can develop new ideas and create new work. That is very important for all artists and the art itself.

What role can a producer like Sound UK play in helping artists to realise their potential?

Through looking after all the organising and fundraising, Sound UK enables artists to focus on their creative potential.

Can you tell us more about the ice instruments you were playing on your recent tour? Where and how were they created? And what do you love about performing on ice instruments?

I was playing on ice instruments made at the Ice Music Festival Norway in 2021. They were created by me and a carver.
The ice has a much deeper dimension than “only” being an instrument.

Can you tell us more about this unique international ensemble? How did it come about? And why have you brought together this diverse range of musical voices?

The idea came up when I was doing a concert in Iqaluit in the north of Canada. I had 300 Inuits in the audience – and they know everything about ice and winter: RESPECT!

Then I thought maybe we could do something like this. Bringing artists from those cultures connected with cold climates and ice.

The sound of the voices together is totally unique! I don’t think anyone has ever heard that before.

Musically, where do you take your inspirations from?

Nature & life in general.

After this tour, what does the coming year have in store for you? What are your future plans in 2022 and beyond?

The Ice Music Festival Norway is coming up. A lot of exciting concerts will be held there!

I will be releasing a new ice music album: ice only (solo – me inside an igloo).

Plus concerts and commissioned work. I will compose for The National Theatre in Norway and for a new contemporary dance ensemble for touring.

What are your hopes for music and its audiences in a post pandemic world?

I do hope and think that people do feel that live music is SOOOO important for our lives. We cannot stay on a computer for doing everything you know.

I think people can feel the spirit and the mission by staying together in the same room to see an event.

It is life – simply!

Visit Terje Isungset's website to find out more about his work.

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