Nystedt, Knut, esteemed Norwegian choral conductor, organist, pedagogue, and composer; b. Christiania, Sept. 3, 1915. He studied organ with Sandvold, conducting with Fjeldstad, and composition with Per Steenberg and Brustad at the Oslo Cons. (1931–43), and then pursued training with Ernest White (organ) and Copland (composition) in N.Y. (1947). From 1946 to 1982 he was organist at Oslo’s Torshov Church, and also a prof. of choral conducting at the Oslo Cons. (1964–85). In 1950 he founded Det Norske Solistokor (the Norwegian Soloist Choir), which he conducted for the first time in Oslo on May 23, 1951. In subsequent years, he developed it into one of the finest choral groups in the world, conducting it in a comprehensive literature with a special regard for contemporary scores. In 1960 he conducted it for the first time in the U.S.; later led it on tours of Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, and Thailand (1978), China (1982), and Israel (1984,1988). On March 18, 1990, he conducted his farewell concert as its conductor in Oslo. In 1966 he was made a Knight of the Order of St. Olav, in 1978 he was awarded the Spellemannsprisen, and in 1980 he received the music prize of the Norwegian Council for Cultural Affairs. Nystedt is an outstanding composer of choral music; his orch. works have also won approbation both at home and abroad.
dramatic: opera:Med krone og stjerne (With Crown and Star), Christmas opera (1971); Salomos hoy sang (The Song of Songs), church opera (1989). orch.:Hgfjell (The Mountains), suite (1940–41); Concerto grosso for 3 Trumpets and Strings (1946); Spenningens land (Land of Suspense), symphonic fantasy (1947; Oslo, Sept. 29, 1948); Festival Overture (1950); Sym. for Strings (1950); Concertino for English Horn, Clarinet, and Strings (1952); De syv segl (The 7 Seals), visions (1958–60); Collocations (1963); Mirage (1974); Fisken (Fish; 1976); Exsultate (1980; Oslo, Sept. 5, 1985; also for Organ); Sinfonia del mare (1983); Horn Concerto (Helsinki, Oct. 13, 1986); Concerto Arctandriae for Strings (1991); Apocalypsis Joannis, sym. for Soloists, Chorus, and Orch. (1998); band music. chambers: string quartets (1938; 1948; 1956; 1966, Norwegian Radio, Feb. 6, 1989; 1988); The Moment for Soprano, Celesta, and Percussion (1962); Pia memoria, Requiem for 9 Brass Instruments (1971); Rhapsody in Green for Brass Quintet (1978); Music for 6 Trombones (1980); organ pieces. vocal: choral:Ndevegen, oratorio for Soloists, Chorus, and Orch. (1943–46); Norge mitt land (Norway, My County) for Baritone, Chorus, and Orch. (1944); De profundis (1964); Spes Mundi (The Hope of the World), Mass for Chorus, Drama Group, Trumpet, Organ, Percussion, Narrator, and Congregation (1970); Dies Irae for 4 Choruses, Wind, and Percussion (1976); A Hymn of Human Rights for Chorus, Organ, and Percussion (1982; Des Moines, Iowa, March 6, 1983); For a Small Planet for Chorus, String Quartet, Harp, and Narrator (1983; Eugene, Ore., July 13, 1984); Missa Brevis (1984; Bergen, June 17, 1985); The Lamentations of Jeremiah (1985); StabatMater for Chorus and Cello (1986); Salomo (Song of Songs) for Soloists, Chorus, Dancers, Instruments, and Organ (1990); One Mighty Flowering Tree for Chorus and Brass Orch. (1994); Kristnikvede for Chorus and Orch. to celebrate the 1,000thanniverary of Christianity in Norway (1994; Moster, June 4, 1995); Libertas Vincit for Reciter, Chorus, and Chamber Orch. to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the liberation of Norway from Nazi occupation (1994; Oslo, May 10, 1995); A Song as in the Night for Soloists, Chorus, and Orch. (1996); Salve Regina for Chorus (1999).
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire