Great review in Nieuwe Noten (NL)

“A simply unique performance by Song Circus on this album, “Anatomy of Sound”. Years of preparation is presented to us this incredible piece, and in such an exemplary manner. This piece requires an incredible amount of these five vocalists. There is alternately sung and spoken, but the human voice is also used by all other means, literally as an instrument. From whisper soft to icy raw and between all possible nuances, an unreal diverse spectrum of tone colours. A whole fairytale; poetic, terrifying and ghostly time. As a musical poem in which each note will be extremely detailed in the spotlight. Gjertsen’s music sounds remarkably transparent, and his musical language very detailed and full of nuances. This is music that begs to be listened extremely concentrated. Only then his world reveals itself fully…”

Listen to the music: http://phonofile.link/anatomy-of-sound
Hybrid SACD and Pure Audio Blu-ray: https://shop.klicktrack.com/2l/1001457

Read the whole review in Dutch:

The program of Sound of a Cage will be released on the 15th of August

I am the curator of Sound of a Cage, a triennial is build up around the legacy of John Cage and his fellows. SOAC combines art, music, design, performance, workshops, lectures and topical discussions. This third edition of Sound of a Cage set focus on sound poetry.

Sound poetry is an artistic form bridging literary and musical composition, in which the phonetic aspects of human speech are foregrounded instead of more conventional semantic and syntactic values; “verse without words”.
– Wikipedia

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Song Circus had an amazing and busy week during Rotterdam in May, attending seminars and meetings, establishing new collaborations, booking concerts and performing a successful showcase concert in deDoelen! Thank you for inviting us Classical:NEXT!

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I am so proud to present our new video “Anatomy of Sound”!

Concept & idea: Maja Friis and Liv Runesdatter
Film director: Maja Friis
All sound performed by Song Circus (songcircus.no)
Music composed by: Ruben Sverre Gjertsen
Sound production: 2L / Lindberg Lyd (Morten Morten Lindberg and Jørn Simenstad)
Producer: Liv Runesdatter
Cinematographer: Anders Nydam
Visual consultant: Lys og Trolddom / Rasmus Møbius

The video is awailable in different formats and can be customized for screening. The music is originally recorded and produced in Auro 3D.

Contact for screening: Song Circus / Liv Runesdatter – liv@songcircus.no


Upsweep-Whistle-Bloop at Nordischer Klang, Greifswald. Concept, visuals and music by Jasmijn Visser and Stine Janvin Motland. Performed and created with Song Circus (Liv Runesdatter, Signe Irene Stangborli Time, Anita Kaasbøll, Eva Bjerga Haugen, Stine Javel), Costumes by Altinstark(Esra Altin, Samy Celler) photos by Eva-Fiore Kovacovsky
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Unforgettable, beautiful and outrageous at the same time. Touching and thought-provoking meetings, especially among people in Askar Refugee Camp. Adults and children living in anything but security and hope for the future, and who struggle for dignity and freedom every single day. I am deeply grateful that I got to experience this, thankful for the people I´ve met and can I can not wait to go back.

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A very good documentary about Palestina and factors that makes a sustainable development of the Palestinian state extremely difficult. In English. https://tv.nrk.no/program/KOID28002115/gazas-upaalitelige-hjelpere

Thank you Nablus Culture Festival / Hakim – Project Hope, Nablusforeningen and The Municipality of Stavanger.

French review “Anatomy of Sound” OPUS HD

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Le groupe vocal Song Circus composé de six artistes, Stine Janvin Motland, Maria Norseth Garli, Liv Runesdatter, Anita Kaasbell, Eva Bjerga Haugen et Ronnaug Bakke, est spécialisé dans la musique contemporaine et l’improvisation. Il propose ici deux œuvres, « Landscape With Figures » de Ruben Sverre Gjertsen, sur des textes de Damian Vitanza et James Joyce, puis « Persefone » de Ole-Henrik Moe JR. Ruben Sverre Gjersten a étudié la composition à l’Académie Grieg de Bergen auprès de Morten Eide Pedersen et James Clapperton avant de suivre les Masters classes de notamment Brian Ferneyhough, Klaus Huber, Salvatore Sciarrino, Philippe Hurel. Ole-Henrik Moe JR fit ses études de violon et de composition en Norvège, en France et en Allemagne. Sa rencontre avec Iannis Xenakis, à la Sorbonne à Paris fut, pour lui, déterminante. Comme au temps de la chanteuse et muse de Luciano Berio, Cathy Berberian dans les années soixante, c’est une technique vocale nouvelle que l’on aborde ici, faisant la part belle à la virtuosité. Dans une mise en espace particulière, la musique se déploie avec rigueur et force, laissant l’auditeur à la fois spectateur et acteur d’un univers aux repères déplacés qu’il faut reconsidérer à l’aune d’un partage émotionnel totalement nouveau lui aussi. Avis aux amateurs.
Jean-Jacques Millo


Song Circus is selected for Classical:NEXT!

We are very proud to share with you all that Song Circus is selected as one of six curated showcases at Classical:NEXT in May 2016!

“Norwegian ensemble Song Circus is comprised of five vocalists, and the music they make is thrilling, demanding, and light-years removed from traditional choral music. ‘Anatomy of Sound’ showcases the work of two composers, Ruben Sverre Gjertsen and Ole-Henrik Moe. Their pieces are jangled and nervous. Thick vocal textures are interwoven with washes of digital sound. A singer’s whisper morphs into a full-throated roar, then yields to near-subliminal mouth percussion. Just as unique, Song Circus’ stage setup surrounds the audience, positioning them within the ensemble so they can act as co-conspirators in the performance.”



I have been working on a new art project: “Transit”, a music installation with Song Circus and a group of untrained voices by refugees and immigrants from nine different countries.
Text by Confucius and Mansur Rajih (Jemen/Norway). Guest soloist: Khaled Habeeb (oud).

In the first week of Desember we did eight performances in Rogaland, Western Norway. We have made new friends, and we have been moved by individuals´ strength and bravery. I have witnessed how people contribute to help the refugees who arrive the city, and I have met skepticism.

ومن ليس اصيلا يتهاوى
ستجرفه الريح بعيدا
عن مجرى الثورة
والوطن المتجدد دوما في التأصيل
طريقك يا وطني
درب الحرية
هذا الدرب طويل

In collaboration with Johannes Læringssenter. Supported by Rogaland Fylkeskommune, Stavanger Kommune, Musikernes Konsertfond (MFO Rogaland) and Arts Council Norway.

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Måltid EiraKunstmuseet Signi + Khalids mor

Kunstmuseet Khalid

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“Through minutiae explorations into the very microlevels of sound anatomy, through vocal investigations into, as well as the activation of, spatial premises and through the discovery of timbral qualities of objects, Song Circus masters an unusual audial vocabulary that expands the idea of what music can be.”

We are happy and proud to present the newly released album Anatomy of Sound.

Listen here: http://phonofile.link/anatomy-of-sound

The album marks the first release from the contemporary vocal chamber ensemble and a first time collaboration with the multiple Grammy-nominee Lindberg Lyd. Delve into minutiae explorations of the very microlevels of sound anatomy, through vocal investigations that expands the idea of what music can be!

If you have access to a home cinema or audio surround system, we invite you to a fascinating three dimensional soundscape. Anatomy of Sound is available on Blu-ray and hybrid SACD, recorded, produced and released by Lindberg Lyd /2L.

“An unforgettable experience. Rich and strange. As audience I experienced being in a terrain, from a time when listening to the environment was essential for survival. To be reminded of this, not only intellectually but physically and spatially, is rare. I let myself run and seduce and enjoy a contemporary art experience, and was awakened by an ancient vigilance. Strange and exceptional”


Disc 1
Hybrid SACD
Stereo DSD

Disc 2
Pure Audio Blu-ray
DTS HD MA 192kHz/24 bit 5.0
Auro-3D 96kHz/24 bit 9.0
LPCM 192kHz/24 bit STEREO
mShuttle: stereo FLAC 96kHz + MP3


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September 26th 15.30 / 16.45
Dome of Visions, Copenhagen


The album Anatomy of Sound will be released at Song Circus´ concerts during Nordic Music Days in Copenhagen, one of the leading European festivals for contemporary music. Song Circus will perform Landscape with Figures by Ruben Sverre Gjertsen.

Song Circus has collaborated with Ruben Sverre Gjertsen on the development of his project Landscape with Figures since 2011. The human voice is a central part of the instrumental palette of this project and much of the music is the result of the joint efforts of the ensemble and the composer. Landscape with Figures is partially open in its form; the music is tremendously detailed and intricately notated and requires considerable musical and vocal technique and virtuosity. The composition stretches the limits of tonal flexibility and microtonal precision. The vocalists are positioned among the audience, and electroacoustic sounds are conveyed via a large loudspeaker setup that fills the room and creates a three-dimensional terrain.

Landscape eske

I was portrayed by Werksemd for Stavanger Asset Management and their spring publication.


I made this music film back in 2009, and I still love Martin Hawkes photographing. Martin and Frank Shortt rented a caravan and visited some of the most beautiful spots in Rogaland. “So, ro snubberusken min” is based on three traditional lullabies from home (Vestfold, Norway, after Ola Gabriel Yndestad).

Cinematography: Martin Hawkes
Voice: Liv Runesdatter
Baglama: Vidar Skrede
Edit: Jon Garcia De Presno
Concept & Direction: Liv Runesdatter & Martin Hawkes
Produced by Saft Film. Supported by Filmkraft Rogaland.

So, Ro Snubberusken Min from saft film on Vimeo.

Visiting RiksUltima at Vibrandsøy

Just outside of Haugesund, a small town on the west coast of Norway, is Vibrandsøy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vibrandsøy.

During the first week of June Ultima (http://ultima.no), Concerts of Norway (https://www.rikskonsertene.no/english/english_rk/) and DKS invited 10 000 children to a contemporary music festival for kids – RiksUltima. I did six solo performances with megaphone and a duo performance together with the Dutch vocalist and sound poet, Jaap Blonk. What a wonderful location and what a nice festival concept!



Recording “And yet they sing”

We are happy to announce that “And yet they sing” is being recorded and that it will be released on cd and by digital distribution during winter 2015/2016:

The piece was originally commissioned by ICORN and a part of Kapittel, Stavanger International Festival of Literature and Freedom of Speech and the first première was in September 2013. Music by Liv Runesdatter and poems by Mansur Rajih (Jemen/NO).

Liv Runesdatter (vocals, NO), Mansur Rajih (resitation, Jemen /NO), Abdulrahman Surizehi (benju, Iran/Balouchistan/NO), Rolf-Erik Nystrøm (saxophone, NO), Ilmari Hopkins (cello, FIN/NO), Tor Yttredal (saxophone, NO), Violin (TBA), Henning Rød Haugland (piano / percussion, NO), Snorre Bjerck (percussion, NO), Magnus Rød Haugland and Roar Skjelbred (double bass, NO)


This is the world

More beautiful than we want to know

and more delicate

More fragile than we can abide




Sound of a Cage 2016 is under construction

The third triennial Sound of a Cage is under construction.

Sound of a Cage 2016 will have a main focus on sound poetry. The art conference is curated by Liv Runesdatter and located on Tou Scene in Stavanger. Among the other collaborators are Stavanger Art Museum, Rogaland Art Centre and NyMusikk.


Song Circus recording Ruben Sverre Gjertsen’s “Landscape with Figures” and Ole-Henrik Moe’s “Persefone” in 9.1 Auro-3D to be released on Pure Audio Blu-Ray by 2L.




Music film “So ro”


I made this music film back in 2009, and I still love Martin Hawkes photographing. Martin and Frank Shortt rented a caravan and visited some of the most beautiful spots in Rogaland. “So, ro snubberusken min” is based on three traditional lullabies from home (Vestfold, Norway, after Ola Gabriel Yndestad).

Cinematography: Martin Hawkes
Voice: Liv Runesdatter
Baglama: Vidar Skrede
Edit: Jon Garcia De Presno
Concept & Direction: Liv Runesdatter & Martin Hawkes
Produced by Saft Film. Supported by Filmkraft Rogaland.

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Song Circus is signed to 2L / Lindberg Lyd

Song Circus has been collaborating with Lindberg Lyd (Morten Lindberg / Jørn Simenstad) since summer 2013. In April we are recording music by the Norwegian composers Ole-Henrik Moe and Ruben Sverre Gjertsen in Uranienborg Church, Oslo. Feel free to read more about the projects in our websites. We will record the music in 8 channels surround format and release it on Pure Audio Blu-ray in combination with SACD. Morten is among the worlds top Recording Engineers / Producers when it comes to surround format. In 2015 Lindberg Lyd got their 20th Grammy Nomination. Song Circus are thrilled about the project, the music and our collaborators.

Surround bilde


Liv Runesdatter – mezzo soprano
Lena Wegemo – piano


Liv Runesdatter – mezzo soprano
Nora Asheim – violin
Maja Wagner – violin
Olav Stener Olsen – cello
Vidar Vikøren – organ

Song Circus Programme 2015 release

Song Circus has recently released the concert programme for the 2015-2016 season, “Anatomy of Sound”.

In 2015 Song Circus present ten unique projects, invoving ten contemporary composers: Programme 2015 (plain text)

“Through minutiae explorations into the very microlevels of sound anatomy, through vocal investigations as vell as the activation of spatial premises and the discovery of timbral qualities of objects, Song Circus masters an unusual audial vocabulary that expands the idea of what music can be.”

Illustrations by Nina Elisabeth Børke, Werksemd (NO).

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Illustrasjon Werksemd metall

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Illustrasjon Werksemd Landscape + Persefone u logo og og tekst

Contemporary Music for Meditation

In Desember, January and February Song Circus did a concert tour with musical meditations, interventions and yoga concerts based on their own compositions and music by Cornelius Cardew with text by Confusius. The ensemble visited drug rehab centers, psychiatric institutions, asylum for immigrants and related measures. We have also performed in yoga festivals and performed for people at work. It was a wonderful and different experience for us both artistically and on the human level…

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Rehab intervention

Autumn News

It is autumn, and even though I am working a lot, it seems like the season makes everything just a little smoother, slower and more quiet.

Some highlights from the past four months:

Summer was festival time. The most charming of them all was the Dragon Festival in Jæren, with their 25th anniversary. We did a concert for the festival volunteers and partners in a cottage on Ølberg Beach. Outside the wind howled, and inside were the dragon enthusiasts, sitting close together in the tiny concert venue, listening to traditional Norwegian music arranged for voice, piano, accordion and an orchestra of wine glasses. It was as if I could breath them in, and after the concert I met them all personally. What a lovely bunch of people!

In August, September and October I had the pleasure of doing concerts in collaboration with a culture network organizing and financing culture events for elderly people. It was an enriching experience. I also had some deeply fascinating personal meetings on the way.

Before the summer I was assigned to write a piece for solo flute, and during the summer months I studied flute mechanics and technique, and rediscovered the instrument. I worked closely together with the Norwegian flutist Elisabeth Barstad and the first première took place in Stavanger on the 22nd of October. I am planning to publish a video performance of the piece later this year.

I have also had the pleasure of working with the pianist Lena Wegemo (Sweden / Norway). Together we rehearsed and performed music written to poems by the French poet and symbolist Paul Verlaine. The project is developing steadily in new directions. What a joy!

I am recording a new cd this autumn, Dette er verda, based on a commissioned piece I wrote for ICORN and Kapittel International Festival of Litterature and Freedom of Speech in 2012. The text is written by the wonderful poet Mansur Rajih (Yemen / NO). Read more about the projects here: https://runesdatter.no/category/projects/?lang=en ).  The cd will be released next year. Participating musicians are Abdulrahman Surizehi (benju), Snorre Bjerck (percussion), Tor Yttredal (saxophones), Henning Rød Haugland (piano, accordion and percussion), Ilmari Hopkins (cello), Ivan Zavgorodniy and Roar Skjelbred (double bass).

And then my chamber ensemble Song Circus: In October we guested the GAS Festival and Levande Musik in Gothenburg. And in December we will be doing a tour in Rogaland with a music project that is new for us: meditation concerts and live contemporary music for yoga. The project is done in collaboration with Satya Yoga. In spring we will record a Blueray in cooperation with Lindberg Lyd / 2L, with music by OleHenrik Moe and Ruben Sverre Gjertsen.

I have been teaching cultural entrepreneurship at the University of Stavanger this autumn too. I also moved into a new studio this month: “Absinthen” –  a newly renovated former cannery, the perfect working space for me.

I wish you all a lovely autumn!


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Spring News

2014 is the 200 year anniversary of the Norwegian Constitution, celebrated all over the country. My contribution is the performance “Til Norge” (To Norway). The project was comissioned by Eldrerådet (The Council for Elderly). I invited the Norwegian poet Jan Erik Vold into the project, together with the pianist and percussionist Henning Rød Haugland.

During 25 years Jan Erik Wold has written more political poems than probably any other Scandinavian poets. This year he celebrates his 75th birthday. With a sharp eye and an eloquent tongue he considers the nation and the Norwegian society. Vold is a poet I have returned to many times and it has been a privilege to dive into his authorship again. It is not unproblematic to compose music to lyrics that are so strong in itself. http://www.poetryinternationalweb.net/pi/site/poet/item/21631/17166/jan-erik-vold)

The first premiére of “Til Norge” was at the 9th of May during the MaiJazz Festival www.maijazz.no . The concert was a great sucsess, the litterature house was completely crowded with audience, and the atmosphere was electric. The project is now awailable for booking!

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March 16th 2014: First premiére “Landscape with figures IIa”

On the 17th of March was the first premiére of “Landscapes with figures IIa” by the Norwegian composer Ruben Sverre Gjertsen. Song Circus and Gjertsen have collaborated since 2010.

The name and music of Ruben Sverre Gjertsen surfaced internationally in 2006 when his work ‘Circles’ was commissioned and performed by Pierre Boulez and the Lucerne Festival Academy. He is one of the most articulate compositional voices of his generation. His work is characterised by a virtuosity on the micro level that distorts expectations as to how instruments and ensembles should sound. The minute detail in his scores evoke a particularly vibrant musical material, where the richly textures appear almost as solid objects, tempting us to reach out and touch them. The music appeals to many aspects of our senses, not only to that of listening, as the sound revolves around rubbing, rasping, and scratching sounds. Sometimes these rough, grainy sounds are violent and intense, at other times they are fragile and tender or sparkling and transparent.

In this Norwegian interview Gjertsen speaks about “Landscape with figures” and his approach to composing music:




1378209_751339288223376_1660281882_nPoster Landscapes og Persefone

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