Young Norwegian conductor Gunvald Ottesen originates from Stord on the dramatic Norwegian West coast. In spring 2020 he finished his Master studies in conducting at the Royal Academy of Music in Stockholm, Sweden, under the baton of professor B Tommy Andersson. He finished his Bachelor exam regarding conduction (and violin) at the Norwegian Academy of Music under professor Ole Kristian Ruud and Associate Professor Sigmund Thorp.
During his studies in Sweden he worked and got acquainted with numerous Swedish Symphony Orchestras: Norrköping, Gävle, Västerås, Umeå, Norrbotten NEO, Royal Swedish Army Band, Livgardets Dragonmusikkår and more.
Gunvald started to play the violin at the age of seven and sings and plays saxophone, piano and guitar. After high school he enrolled for a year at the Toneheim Folk High School (college) in Hamar where he chose conducting as principal instrument before being accepted at the Norwegian Academy of Music.
He has musical drama in his blood, taking part in local music theatre productions from early age as actor, musician, assisting conductor and conductor, and all forms of music theatre is close to his heart. In 2016 he conducted the world premiere of Kjell Hebbestad’s opera “Karlstad 1905” at Oslo Opera Festival and at the same festival he conducted “Don Giovanni” and “Cosí fan tutte” two and tree years later.
Gunvald has worked as assisting conductor in several productions: “The Magic Flute” at Opera Østfold 2017, “The Life to Come” at Oslo Opera Festival 2017, “The Marriage of Figaro” 2018 with the Norwegian Opera Academy (conductor Gregor Bühl), “Il Travatore” Opera Østfold (conductor Georg Bühl) 2019 and “Evita” at Bømlo Theatre 2018 and “Don Giovanni” at Norrlandsoperan 2020 (conductor Benjamin Bayl).
Gunvald is since 2019 part of “Dirigentforum”, a conductor’s talent programme initiated, owned and managed by Sparebankstiftelsen DNB and Talent Norway.
Season 20/21 Gunvald conducted John Kander’s musical “Cabaret” at Göteborgsoperan and in summer 2021, the Norwegian national premiere of Björn Ulveus’ and Benny Andersson’s musical “Kristina från Duvemåla” at Bømlo Theatre, Gunvald Ottesen conducting. This production returns in 2023.
Gunvald has close ties with Folkoperan in Stockholm. He conducted “Cosi fan tutte” both in Stockholm and on tour to Uppsala in 2022, and autumn 2023 he returns for a new project as head conductor – “Tidens larm”.
Gunvald conducted “Ahmal and the Night Visitors” at Bergen National Opera and did several projects with Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra in 2022.
Said about Gunvald:
Professor Georg Bühl: “— I can only hope that Gunvald gets all the support he needs to start his own career in the music world, especially in opera.”
Professor B. Tommy Andersson: “He has now ended his (Master program) studies and fulfilled his examinations with best possible results. (—) Gunvald Ottesen is a very talented musician and conductor with the surplus valuable quality to spread ease and well-being to his colleagues and fellow musicians. (—) That is why I heartily recommend Gunvald Ottesen to all venues were he can conduct and work with musical drama. He will always do a profound and inspiring work and be an asset.”