Norwegian cellist Erlend Vestby’s versatile musicality sees him perform on the international stage, as well as being an active composer, researcher and teacher.
Erlend graduated with a Master of Music in Performance with Jakob Kullberg at the Royal College of Music (RCM), London, in July 2019. His studies were supported by the Anglo-Norse Award, Trygve Tellefsen’s Foundation, Johannes and Enny Johnsen’s Foundation and Anders Sveaas’ Charitable Foundation. Alongside his studies in London, Erlend completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Music Performance in June 2018 at the University of Stavanger (UiS), Norway, with Jakob Kullberg. Erlend was awarded the UiS Student Prize (16/17) for his outstanding artistic and academic qualities and for contributing to an active musical environment in Stavanger to the acclaim of public, professors and fellow students. Erlend holds a Bachelor of Music in Performance from the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo with Aage Kvalbein and Audun Sandvik. In 2013 he undertook an exchange year at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester to study with Philip Higham.
Erlend has played solo, chamber music and orchestra concerts across Europe and Asia. He is currently enjoying membership in Southbank Sinfonia at St John’s Smith Square. Erlend is substitute in the Norwegian Radio Orchestra and Stavanger Symphony Orchestra as well as freelancing in diverse chamber groups and small orchestras in Norway and the UK. As a soloist he has performed with various Norwegian orchestras including Bergen Youth Symphony Orchestra and Kjell Seim on tour to Japan in 2010, with Vestfold Symphony Orchestra in Saint-Saëns’ Cello Concerto No 1 conducted by Eirik Ødegård in 2015, and he has performed as soloist in Giovanni Sollima “Vibrez” for two cello solos and cello ensemble in Stavanger, Ebeltoft (Denmark) and London. Erlend has played for cellists such as Clemens Hagen, Miklos Perenyi, Stephan Kropfitch, Natalie Clein, Antonio Meneses, Mats Lidström and Torleif Thedéen. As part of the RCM Gateway and Professional Engagement Schemes, Erlend holds unaccompanied solo recitals in various London venues.
Erlend is a diverse musician, also giving concerts on the baroque and the electric cello. He studied the baroque cello at the RCM with Richard Tunnicliffe and has been active in the RCM Historical Performance Department since his enrolment in 2017. He has enjoyed performances in for instance St. George’s Hannover Square, Queen’s Gallery Buckingham Palace, Dartington Hall, Cadogan Hall and at the Royal Festival Hall with Florilegium Ensemble. Erlend is currently part of the experience scheme of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.
His master project at the RCM allowed him to learn about English performance practices of the early 20th century, and this resulted in a lecture recital with a performance of Edward Elgar’s Cello Concerto in a historically informed manner. In February 2020, the Concerto was once again performed and recorded with an orchestra of London freelancers and conductor Christopher Quentin McMullen-Laird. Erlend spoke about his research and, together with Chris, discussed their experiences of this performance style in RCM’s “Music & Ideas” series.
Erlend has studied composition and orchestration for many years with composers such as Dr David Horne, Hans Offerdal, Christopher Johnson and Dr Jonathan Pitkin, and his own compositions and arrangements have been performed in Northern Europe and Brazil. Erlend undertook a project in 2016 together with the British composers Katie Chatburn and Dr Simon Cummings where they focused on finding new ways of equal and creative collaborations in the writing of new music for solo cello.
Since September 2017, Erlend has been teaching assistant of Jakob Kullberg at the RCM. He gives 1-1 lessons and classes on orchestral audition, chamber music, technique, arrangement writings, performance and performance practices to students on undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Erlend also teaches privately in London.