Besides being a performing cellist, Erlend is also an active composer, arranger and orchestrator. He wrote his first composition at the age of 12, and just one year later he began to study music theory and analysis, aural skills, arrangement, composition and conducting at the Norwegian Academy of Music Junior Department. Once he began his bachelor’s degree in music performance at the Norwegian Academy of Music, he learned Bach counterpoint, romantic harmonisation, 12-tone techniques and other 20th century styles, and compositional analysis of music from various epochs.
Whilst at the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) in Manchester (2013-14), Erlend studied “Composition and Performance” with Dr David Horne. Erlend gained a bigger understanding of instrumental possibilities and how to write for a range of different instruments and combinations of instruments. His exams consisted of a solo piece for cello, a composition for piano trio (that would form part of an RNCM advertisement), and an arrangement for wind quintet. During this year he also wrote a piece for orator, piano, oboe, bassoon and cello that was performed at Bridgewater Hall as part of the 75 years commemoration of the Crystal Night.
Erlend had a performer/composer collaboration with composers Katie Chatburn and Dr Simon Cummings as his Master project at the University of Stavanger in 2016. With each of them he experienced and experimented with creative collaborations where they together wrote new music for solo cello. Instead of letting the composer first write a piece of music before the performer then practices and performs it, the idea was that composing, interpretation and practicing should happen simultaneously in a close collaboration. How can the roles performer/composer melt together and influence each other’s fields in a stronger sense than the usual practice is today?
During Erlend’s MMus degree at the Royal College of Music, London, he pursued his composition skills and interest with a module called “Orchestration” with Dr Jonathan Pitkin where Erlend learned to make orchestrations of anything between large scale orchestration of a Pierre Boulez piano piece, to smaller string orchestra arrangements, and for ragtime jazz wind band. He also studied conducting at the RCM. The courses he has done in orchestral, ensemble and choir conducting has proven useful when rehearsing and performing his own works.
Erlend has alongside his music studies also studied much by himself. This has been through studying scores, counterpoint, orchestration, functional harmony, and voice leading, through study of phrasing theory in the music of J.S. Bach, by making premier performances, working with composers such as Kaija Saariaho, Jean-Baptiste Barrière and Jakob Kullberg/Per Nørgård, and of course by writing and performing own music. Erlend’s compositions and arrangements have been performed across Norway and Denmark, in Brazil, and in Aberdeen, Manchester and London, UK.