Birgit Djupedal (1994-) is a Norwegian composer from Bodø. At Nordic Music Days she is presented with the piece ” I mitt hus i himmelen” performed by Bodø Domkor.
In addition to composing in many different styles, Djupedal is also a musician and a choir conductor. In 2016 Djupedal moved to Reykjavík to study at the Iceland University of the Arts under the guidance of Hró›mar I. Sigurbjörnsson. She finished her master degree in composition spring 2018. Djupedal’s music is acoustic, traditional mixed with more contemporary harmonies, often with an element of performance.
Djupedal has written music for different ensembles such as Caput, Oslo Domkor, Dómkórinn í Reykjavík and her own feminist chamber choir IMPRA which Djupedal started, conducted and composed for. Her music has been performed at festivals such as Festspillene i Bergen, Nordland musikkfestuke, Trondheim kammermusikkfestival, Ultima, Sumartónleikar í Skálholti, Vaka ﬁjó›listaháti› and Óperudagar í Reykjavík.
You are from Bodø! Tell us something we all should know about Bodø!
In my opinion Bodø has the best weather. Its not particularly good weather, but its always changing. The weather is never boring and its always windy. I learnt one time that Bodø only has three days every year with no wind. When I was a child we used to go to Saltstraumen and have storm-picnics underneath the bridge. And the festival is in November, so I would guess that everyone gets a chance to experience the true Bodø-weather.
The piece we are going to hear at the festival «I mitt hus I himmelen» is a vocal piece, premiered at Ultima last year. Do you prefer working with text?
I do prefer to work with text. I have been singing in choirs since kindergarten, and so I think that music and text, for me, is somehow always linked. I also work a lot with voice, both composing for voice, conducting choirs and performing my own pieces. I somehow always end up using my voice. We communicate with our voices, and mostly through words that can make sense, but also through sounds and melodies. Music is communication. By composing or performing we communicate meanings or feelings, our own or an assumed one. In the piece “I mitt hus i himmelen” I am communicating my interpretation of Maren Barlien´s text. I added small folk music elements to the composition to communicate a feeling of home. Then Bodø Domkor will add their ideas to the performance and communicate it to the audience who will give their immediate reaction back.
You went to Island to study composition. For any particular reason? What has Island done with you? You are still living there?
Iceland represented for me equality. It had the first elected female president in the world and many well known female composers and performers. Iceland has a lot of inspiring female artists in all fields. Since Iceland has a shorter musical tradition that most other European countries, they are very open to all kinds of artistic expressions. I was never told that something I did was bad or uninteresting, but were constantly encouraged to explore every direction I felt was drawn to. I also worked a lot with preforming/composers. Which is something I have continued doing, and will continue to do. Its a passé thought that one can only do one thing. All kinds of musical practices are connected, and that goes for all art forms as well. This is something Icelanders have thought me.
I have moved to Oslo, but are still working a lot with Icelanders. Its a small country so I managed to get a large network. Everyone knows everyone, or someone has a cousin here or there. I think that this has made them a yes-country. People are usually very positive and there is always a solution and never a problem.
“I mitt hus i himmelen” or “In my house in heaven” is a poem by Maren Barlien about the comforting thought that there is a house in heaven waiting for you when you die. Birgit Djupedal has composed the music which is a mix of contemporary choral music with folk music elements. The piece explores how one musical tone or a musical line can spread around the room from one voice to another.