Torbjørn Ottersen

Timpani Co-Principal

– My first momentous experience with the great classical music was actually as a singer in the school choir, when we got to join a performance of Brahms' Requiem with the renowned conductor Arnulf Hegstad. Brahms's music hit me with tremendous force, and that work is still among my greatest favorites.

Torbjørn Ottersen

It wasn't evident from childhood that Torbjørn would be a musician, although he was eager to play on kitchen pots and cardboard boxes and eventually got a position in the drum row of the local school band.

But interest in music grew with his skills, and when he was 12, a local musician arranged a lesson with Per Erik Thorsen, then solo percussionist of the Oslo Philharmonic. He was later tutored by the paukist in the Opera Orchestra in Oslo, Anders Rønningen, and began studying music at St. Hallvard High School in Lier.

– My first momentous experience with the great classical music was actually as a singer in the school choir, when we got to join a performance of Brahms' Requiem with the renowned conductor Arnulf Hegstad. Brahms's music hit me with tremendous force, and that work is still among my greatest favorites.

It was at this time Thorbjorn understood that he would concentrate fully on music.

– I was lucky and became part of an environment from which I could gain inspiration and insight, and develop as a musician. After a while it became my aim to be able to work with music full-time.

He later studied at Østlandets musikkonservatorium and Norges Musikkhøgskole, and obtained his Master's degree at Griegakademiet in Bergen.

Many exceptional experiences

Torbjørn was engaged by Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra in 1998 and by the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra in 2006.

– What gives me the most pleasure as an orchestra musician is to play fantastic music with brilliant colleagues, for a responsive and enthusiastic audience.

He has had many exceptional concert experiences with the orchestra,

– In particular, I want to mention when we played Brahms’ symphonies numbers 3 and 4 with Myung-Whun Chung at the Bergen Festival, and Sibelius Symphony No. 2 with Jukka-Pekka Saraste in the Berlin Philharmonie.

– Let the concert connect you, not disconnect you

As an audience member, Torbjørn feels the most important thing is to approach the concert with an open heart and mind.

– Don´t expect to “understand” everything, but make sure you are open to your own personal experience. Let the concert connect you, not disconnect you.

Torbjørn loves music from many different genres, but symphonies are high on his list:

– So many composers and works have their unique qualities … but I have to mention the symphonies of Beethoven, Brahms, Mahler and Sibelius.

– I also work a lot with teaching young musical talents, through the talent development programme at Norges Musikkhøgskole and Toneheim folkehøgskole.

When Torbjørn isn´t playing, he likes to spend time with his family at home in Asker:

– Time flies with two small children at home!