|Born||14 October 1979|
Marcus Nicolay Paus (born 14 October 1979) (pronounced [ˈmɑ̀rkʉs ˈpæʉs]) is a Norwegian composer and one of the most performed contemporary Scandinavian composers. He is noted as a representative of a reorientation toward tradition, tonality and melody, and his works have been lauded by critics in Norway and abroad. His work includes chamber music, choral works, solo works, concerts, orchestral works, operas and symphonies, as well as works for theatre, film and television. Although often tonal and melodically driven, Paus' music employs a wide range of both traditional and modernist techniques, and several of Paus' works have been influenced by folk music and non-Western classical music. Marcus Paus has set to music poets and writers such as Dorothy Parker, W.B. Yeats, Oscar Wilde, Siegfried Sassoon, Richard Wilbur, William Shakespeare, Christina Rossetti, Emily Dickinson and Anne Frank, and Norwegians André Bjerke, Jens Bjørneboe, Arne Garborg, Knut Hamsun, Johan Falkberget, Harald Sverdrup and Ole Paus. His works for children include the children's opera The Witches, based on Roald Dahl. Paus has been described as "one of the most celebrated classical composers of Norway."
He is a son of one of Norway's best known singer-songwriters Ole Paus and the former pop star Anne-Karine Strøm; his father is a troubadour in the Scandinavian ballad tradition known for his biting social commentary. He is a member of the Norwegian Paus family (pronounced [ˈpæʉs]) that first appeared as members of the elite of 16th century Oslo and that governed the vast and remote region of Upper Telemark for centuries as part of an "aristocracy of officials" consisting of regional judges and clerics in the state Church of Norway; the family's ancestor Sir Peter Paus (b. 1590) became the provost of Upper Telemark in 1633 and is known through a loving poem in Latin written by his son in his memory. Marcus Paus' grandfather, General Ole (de/von) Paus, was born in Vienna to the Norwegian Consul-General Thorleif (de/von) Paus and a Viennese mother of Jewish descent whose family had converted to Catholicism, and later became one of the founders of the Norwegian Intelligence Service and the highest-ranking Norwegian NATO official. His branch of the Paus family were the closest relatives of playwright Henrik Ibsen and were noted as millionaire steel industrialists in Oslo since the late 19th century, and his great-grandfather also bought Kvesarum Castle in Sweden; his great-great-grandfather, the steel industrialist Ole Paus, was Henrik Ibsen's first cousin and Villa Paus was built for him. Marcus Paus has been described as born in the purple into the artistic scene; both his parents were prominent cultural figures and their wedding in 1979 as well as his own birth were front page news in Norway, and he was described as a celebrity child already as a newborn.
Paus attended Oslo Waldorf School. As a high school student he also took two summer courses at the Musicians Institute in Hollywood in the mid 1990s. During his teenage years from the early 1990s he was active as a progressive rock guitarist, and he was recognised in The Guinness Book of Records as the world's fastest guitarist in the mid 1990s. Paus left the progressive rock scene around 1997 and was later described as "the last guitar hero."
He studied at the Norwegian Academy of Music from 1998 to 2002; at the age of 18, he became one of its youngest students ever to be accepted at its composer programme. After graduating, he left for New York City, where he studied classical composition at the Manhattan School of Music from 2003 to 2005. In New York he was a student of Richard Danielpour and spent a semester working as his assistant. In 2010, he was artistic director of the Oslo Opera Festival.
He has lived in Oslo, New York City, London and Berlin; he now lives in Asker near Oslo. In 2019 he married the composer and singer Tirill Mohn, a former member of the art rock band White Willow and a descendant of the artists Christian Krohg and Oda Krohg; he and his wife are distantly related as both are descendants of Norway's first attorney-general Bredo Henrik von Munthe af Morgenstierne Sr.
Paus is a noted representative of a reorientation toward tradition, tonality and melody. Although often tonal and melodically driven, Paus' music employs a wide range of both traditional and modernist techniques, including aleatoricism and serial procedures. Paus' harmonic writing is typically complex, combining non-traditional structures such as clusters and symmetrical harmonic shapes with triadic harmony. Several of Paus' works have been influenced by folk music and non-Western classical music, among them Lasuliansko Horo (2004) for violin and piano (Bulgarian folk music), the flute concertino A Portrait of Zhou (2012) (Chinese music), and Fanitull (Devil's Tune) from Two Lyrical Pieces (2007) for string orchestra (Norwegian folk music). As a teenager, Marcus Paus was active as a progressive rock guitarist, and this experience is at times reflected in some of Paus’ most energetic music, like the Scherzo II from his Cello Sonata (2009) and the 3rd movement, Mosh, from his Three Movements for Solo Cello (2012). Paus is also influenced by film music, and has cited John Williams as an important influence.
As a young composer in 2007, he described himself as a "cultural conservative non-modernist" in his musical style. In a 2013 interview, his views were more nuanced and he said that he is not opposed to modernism and that modernism has included important innovations and contributions, but that he supports diversity in musical styles and influences, and a "greater acceptance of a tradition-inspired musical style." In a 2017 interview he said he felt ostracized by older atonal modernist composers in the late 1990s, but that "thankfully, the climate is quite different now, and more generous and open-minded." Paus is a member of the Riksmål Society and in a 2002 interview he linked his views on music to his views on language.
Work and collaborations
Known for his virtuosic and idiomatic writing, Paus has collaborated with some of Norway's finest soloists, including violinists Henning Kraggerud and Arve Tellefsen, saxophonist Rolf-Erik Nystrøm and singer Tora Augestad. Marcus Paus is also known for his collaborations with other artists, most prominently Swedish painter Christopher Rådlund, as well as singer/songwriter and poet Ole Paus (the librettist of several of Paus’ operas). Other collaborators have included film director Sara Johnsen, dancer, choreographer and FRIKAR founder Hallgrim Hansegård, and actress Minken Fosheim.
Paus has set to music a number of poets and writers, among them Dorothy Parker, W.B. Yeats, Oscar Wilde, Siegfried Sassoon, Richard Wilbur, William Shakespeare, Christina Rossetti, Emily Dickinson and Anne Frank, and Norwegians André Bjerke, Jens Bjørneboe, Arne Garborg, Knut Hamsun, Johan Falkberget, Harald Sverdrup and Ole Paus.
Paus' The Beauty That Still Remains, based on original text by Anne Frank, was commissioned by the Government of Norway for the official Norwegian commemoration of the end of the Second World War in 2015, and was described as "a masterpiece" by music critic Ola Nordal.
Professor of musicology Ralph P. Locke wrote that Paus' Hate Songs, based on poetry by Dorothy Parker, "proved to be one of the most engaging works" in recent years; "the cycle expresses Parker's favorite theme: how awful human beings are, especially the male of the species." Locke highlighted Augestad's recording of Hate Songs as one of the "best opera and vocal music" works in that year.
- Orchestral works
- Love's Last Rites (2017)
- Concerto for Timpani and Orchestra (2015)
- Hate Songs for Mezzosoprano & Orchestra (2013–14), text: Dorothy Parker
- Music for Orchestra (2012)
- A Portrait of Zhou (Concertino for Flute & Orchestra) (2012)
- Triple Concerto for Violin, Viola & Orchestra (2011)
- Two Lyrical Pieces (2007)
- Ave Mozart! (2006)
- Choral works
- No Search, No Rescue (2017), text by Palestinian poet Jehan Bseiso
- The Day of Wrath Shall Come (2017), text by Thomas of Celano
- Free is the Land (2016), text by Ole Paus
- The Beauty That Still Remains (2015), libretto by the composer based on The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
- Dies Irae (2014), text by Heidi Køhn
- And Now Abide (2012)
- The Stolen Child (2009), text: W.B. Yeats
- Missa Concertante (2008)
- The Dome & the River (2006)
- Chamber works
- The Song and the Catastrophe (2018), text by Ulrik Farestad
- Confessions (2018), text by André Bjerke
- Never (2017), text by André Bjerke
- Everyday Miracle (2017), text by André Bjerke
- Room Mates (2017), text by Ulrik Farestad
- Late Summer Songs (2017), text by Jan Erik Vold
- The Yearning of Things (2017), text by André Bjerke
- Love Songs (2016), text by Dorothy Parker
- Music to Hear (Sonnet VIII) (2016), text by William Shakespeare
- Sonata for Double Bass and Piano (2016)
- The Harvesting (2016), text by Edvard Munch
- Afterplay: Eternity's Gaze (2015), text by Ole Paus
- Fanfare for Two Violins (2015)
- Requiem (2014), text by Ole Paus
- Screwing Britten (2013)
- String Quartet no. 4 ‘Ashes’ (2013)
- Sonata for Cello & Piano (2009)
- String Quartet no.3 (2006)
- Trio for Clarinet, Violin & Piano (2006)
- Lasuliansko Horo for Violin & Piano (2004)
- Solo works
- Intrada for Solo Oboe (2018)
- Kleiberg Variations for Solo Piano (2018)
- Mathias' Song for Solo Piano (2018)
- Sarabande for Solo Clavichord (2018)
- Stetind (2018)
- Alone for Solo Cello (2017)
- September Lines for Solo Clarinet (2017)
- Sonata for Solo Clarinet (2017)
- Christiania, 1899 for Solo Piano (2016)
- Elegy for Solo Alto Recorder (or Oboe) (2016)
- Hauntings for Solo Flute (2016)
- Marble Songs (2016)
- Prowling (2016)
- Sonata for Solo Bassoon (2016)
- Three Lines (2016)
- Two Idylls (2016)
- Two Pieces for Solo Harpsichord (2016)
- A Prologue to the Past (2015)
- Inventory (2015), text by Dorothy Parker
- Summer Sketches (2015)
- Theory (2015), text by Dorothy Parker
- A Farther Front (2014)
- Sur le nom de Bach (2014)
- Vita (2014)
- Three Shades of Evil (2013)
- Trauermusik for Solo Cello (2012)
- 4 Memento Mori for Solo Piano (2012)
- The Ladies on the Bridge for Solo Violin (2010)
- Operas and stage works
- Frøbarna (2017–18), chamber opera in one act, libretto by Oda Fiskum
- Hate Songs for Mezzosoprano & Orchestra (2013–14), text: Dorothy Parker
- Spelet om Christian Frederik (2014)
- Eli Sjursdotter (2013–14), libretto by Ola Jonsmoen
- The Teacher Who Was Not To Be (Læreren som ikke ble) (2013), libretto by the teacher who was not to be (Olav Anton Thommessen)
- The Ash-Lad – Pål's Story (Askeladden – Påls versjon) (2010–11), libretto by Ole Paus, based on the fairy tale character Askeladden
- The Wild Choir (2009), text by Knut Hamsun
- The Witches (Heksene) (2007–08), libretto by Ole Paus, based on the novel of the same name by Roald Dahl
- Film scores
- Mortal (2020), directed by André Øvredal
- UMEÅ4ever (2011), directed by Geir Greni
- Upperdog (2009), directed by Sara Johnsen
- Wessel Prize, 2012
- Composer of the Year Prize of the Norwegian Music Publishers, 2017
- Amanda Award for Best Music (nominated), 2020
- Nordal, Ola. "Marcus Paus". Store norske leksikon.
- Astrid Kvalbein, «Vakker Marcusmesse», Aftenposten, 05.03.2008, kultur s. 2
- Olav Egil Aune, «Messe midt i verden», Vårt Land, 05.03.2008 s. 19
- "Marcus Paus" (in Norwegian). Opera til folket. Retrieved 28 November 2012.
- Ihle, Ole-Martin (2019). Da He-Man kom til Norge: en fortelling om å vokse opp på 80-tallet. Kagge. p. 296.
- Røyseland, Halstein (25 August 2009). "Marcus Paus: - Det er mye kreativt DNA" (in Norwegian). VG Nett. Retrieved 28 November 2012.
- "Dagen da Ole Paus fikk sin Anne Karine: Vårens bryllup" [The Wedding of the Spring] (cover story), NÅ, No. 20, 16 May 1979
- "Kjendis-barna: Årets fire nyfødte" [The celebrity children: The four newborn of the year], NÅ, No. 6, 6 February 1980
- "Ole Paus jr. verdens raskeste gitarist". Arbeiderbladet. 1996-12-31.
- "Marcus Paus klar for Musikkhøyskolen: Tenker musikk 20 timer i døgnet," Aftenposten, 2 April 1998
- "Marcus Paus, composer," Meet the Artist, 1 November 2017
- "Marcus Paus". Komponister i Norge. Norsk musikforlag. 2016. p. 194–195.
- "Fører tradisjonen videre," Familien, May 2019
- "Legacy Conversations: Marcus Paus". The Legacy of John Williams. 2020-06-09.
- Bjørnskau, Erik (2 January 2008). "– Musikk er språk". Aftenposten.
- Ibsen, Alexander Z. (11 October 2013). "Brøt med klisjeene". Minerva. Archived from the original on 1 December 2017.
- Ann Christiansen, "Alltid med på notene" (interview with Marcus Paus), Aftenposten, 17 August 2002
- Ola Nordal (26 March 2020), "Sepiatoner og sanglek", Ballade
- Locke, Ralph P. "Die sieben Todsünden and other works" (PDF). Kurt Weill Newsletter. 37 (1): 18.
- Locke, Ralph P. (2019-12-13). "Locke's List: Best Opera and Vocal Music of 2019". The Boston Musical Intelligencer.
- Urfremfører Paus-opera i Kilden
- Knut Stiklestad ga stemme til Hamsun
- Dette er vinnerne av Musikkforleggerprisen, Music Norway