– composer

Jon Mostad

Played piano from the age of six, and was soon eagerly improvising at the piano.

Master of Divinity 1965. In 1966 postgraduate studies in 19th century Norwegian church history. Musical activities alongside these studies included piano playing with Nicolai Dirdal at the Oslo Conservatory, choral singing, and some composing.

Studied music at Oslo University,1968-1969. Studied composition at the Norwegian Academy of Music, Oslo with Finn Mortensen from 1971, Diploma in 1974. The Academy studies also included viola playing and one-term courses in choral conducting, figured bass, and percussion and a short improvisation seminar by Cornelius Cardew. He also attended a private seminar on sonology and Mahler symphonies by Olav Anton Thommessen.

Shorter courses in studio work at NSEM, Høvikodden 1975/76, EMS, Stockholm 1983, NOTAM, Oslo 2004.

Education and early musical activity

Performances etc.


Stylistic development

Output – spiritual basis

Jon Mostad, born 1942, composer living in Fredrikstad, Norway

Mostad’s musical style emerged from a linear-expressionist style in early works to more focus on sound and timbre, while still retaining a place for the melodic element.

From about 1975 the harmony is often related to the harmonic series, sometimes in a way that includes microtonal deviations from the tempered scale.

Some works use modal or freer techniques that allow for juxtaposition or transition between a tempered 12-note harmony and one based on harmonic spectra.

Some works reveal a "reversed" development form, where the climax of tension and density of texture is reached shortly after the start, making the

remaining part of the piece a long relaxation moving towards greater simplicity and clarity. Towards Balance and The Light Shines in the Darkness are typical examples. House, Two Sketches and a Landscape, the String Quartet No. 1 and other cyclical works display unfamiliar solutions to the relations between movements.

Mostad has composed chamber music, including solo works for piano, guitar, cello. doublebass, and organ, works for voice and instrument(-s), and electro-acoustic works. The core of his output, however, is orchestral and choral music. His largest work till now, the full-length programme work Were You There, When They Crucified my Lord? The Story of Jesus’ Suffering, Death, and Resurrection according to St. Mark for mixed choir, narrator, vocal soloists and orchestra (including electronic soundtrack in one movement), combines these fields of interest.

The text of this work is about the very centre of Christian belief and worship: The death and resurrection of Jesus. As a Christian, Mostad bases his life, including his work as a composer, on these events. Making music thus becomes a way to "sing to the Lord", to quote the title of one of his choral works.

Other activities

From 1974 to July 2006 Mostad worked as a teacher in the secondary school system in his home town Fredrikstad and neighbouring Moss. Also before 1974 he periodically worked as a teacher.

He has held offices in The Norwegian Society of Composers, TONO (Norway's Performing Rights Society), and Ny musikk (The Norwegian branch of International Society for Contemporary Music.)

On voluntary basis he is active in different kinds of Christian work. In recent years, Christian prison work has been most central in his involvement in this field.

Here is a shorter version.

Find links to all ensembles mentioned on this page on the  Links page.

His music has been performed and/or broadcast in several European countries, Japan and the USA. The choral work Two Psalms is the one that has achieved the widest international diffusion. Orchestras that have played his music include Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, the symphony orchestras of

Bergen and Trondheim, and the Norwegian National Youth Orchestra, Elverum.

Festivals that have programmed Mostad's music include the Bergen International Festival, the Elverum Festival, Music Factory and Autunnale in Bergen, Nordic Music Days in Oslo, Stockholm and Helsinki, Dartington International Summer School, Totnes, England. In 2010 he was featured composer in Ny Musikk Østfold's VinterRiss Festival.

In the years 1982-1985 he held the Norwegian State Scholarship for Artists. Other scholarships include Alv og Leslie Hurums minnefond, 1987 and Fegerstens stipend, 2004