Per Zanussi

"Li and the Infinite Game" for Vestnorsk Jazzensemble mixes Per Zanussi's different musical interests into a beautiful, energetic and rhythmic journey through 10 different musical landscapes.

In recent years, Zanussi's music for larger ensembles has focused on composing for improvisers who engage in fairly free improvisation, where the sound has led the mind towards contemporary music. In this work for VNJE, some of this is still found, but also inspiration from futuristic funk, prog-Afrobeat, Korean shaman ballads and North African free jazz.

"Li" in the title alludes to the Chinese name for patterns in nature, which has long been an inspiration for Zanussi's music: fixed and dynamic patterns, patterns in both time and space, cyclical, asymmetrical and orderly at the same time. Clouds, trees, dunes, flow and chaos.

The last part of the title, "The Infinite Game", is about the other important aspect of the piece, namely the relationship with the musicians from Bergen and Stavanger who meet and give life to the compositions. In meeting each other, we set up an "infinite game" where the goal is not to win, but to be able to continue the game.

Per Zanussi (b. 1977), bassist and composer, has a master's degree in music from the conservatory in Trondheim and the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo. In 2017, he completed his research project "Natural Patterns - Music Making with an Ensemble of Improvisers" at PhD level, through the Norwegian program for artistic research and the University of Stavanger. He is employed as an associate professor at both UiS and NMH.

His compositional work has so far resulted in music for award-winning theater and dance performances and short films as well as commissions for Bit 20, Trondheim Jazz Orchestra and Stavanger's Kitchen Orchestra.

In 1996, while still a student in Trondheim, he founded the electronic project Wibutee together with Håkon Kornstad and Wetle Holte. This band recorded 3 albums and toured most of the world in the following years. In 2001 he founded his longest project to date, Zanussi 5, playing Zanussi's compositions in an acoustic format. This group has recorded 4 quintet albums and a fifth as a version of Trondheim Jazzorkester, a group of twelve pieces including Zanussi 5. In 2012 the album "Live" by Zanussi 13 was released: A 13 -piece version of Zanussi 5 consisting of the core group, plus all the musicians who have played with the band over the years, including Jonas Kullhammar and Stian Westerhus.

Currently, the most active group playing Zanussi's jazz compositions is Zanussi 3, with Kristoffer Alberts on sax and Per Oddvar Johansen on drums.

Zanussi also leads his large group, the Per Zanussi Ensemble, where they work with compositional frameworks for freer improvisation, and include musicians such as Sofia Jernberg, Eivind Lønning, Raymond Strid and David Stackenäs. This group was also part of Zanussi's artistic research project at the University of Stavanger: "Natural Patterns - Composing with an Ensemble of Improvisers".

Zanussi is a member of Trespass Trio (with Martin Kuchen and Raymond Strid), Eyolf Dale's Wolf Valley, Wunderkammer and several other projects as a sideman.

He has played with John Butcher, Alexander von Schlippenbach, Hamid Drake, Lotte Anker, Paal Nilssen-Love, Bobby Bradford, Eivind Lønning, Tim Hodkinson, Frode Gjerstad, Sabir Mateen, Franklin Kiermyer, Nils Henrik Asheim, Stephen O'Malley, Axel Dörner, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Sten Sandell, Mats Gustafsson, Morten J. Olsen, Seijiro Muriyama, Magda Mayas, Sten Åke Holmlander, Louis Moholo, Kjetil Møster, Tony Buck, Gabriel Ferrandini, David Stackenäs, Kjell Nordeson, Sofia Jernberg, Kevin Norton, Ivar Grydeland, Ernesto Rodrigues, Tetuzi Akiyama, Christian Wallumrød, Ståle L. Solberg and many others.


Kjetil Møster


Star saxophonist with a recent doctorate. Alternating between life as a pop star in Datarock, and constantly exploring, curious and innovative music in his own projects, together with, among others, 'Snah' from Motorpsycho. Background from The Core, Ultralyd, Zanussi 5, Crimetime Orchestras and a million other bands.

Kristoffer Alberts


Noise buddy with Lasse Marhaug, party avant-garde with Cortex, big band improv with Paal Nilsen-Love's Large Unit, and improv rock in Starlite Motel with Gard Nilsen. Energetic woodwind player with a wealth of ideas that never ends.

Didrik Ingvaldsen


Rogaland's own Don Cherry. Stavanger-based trumpeter and composer with a background as leader of the fabulous Pocket Corner. You will also find him in close collaboration with Frode Gjerstad, as well as in the Kitchen Orchestra. Has released 14 records under his own name.

Thomas Dahl


Quiet guitar hero. As a member of Krøyt, Dingobats, BMX, Voksne Herrers Orkester, Skydive and St Satan, or as a hired gun for Lill Lindfors, Ephemera and Herborg Kråkevik, Thomas Dahl always improves the musicians and music around him. He has incredible technical skills which he demonstrates in tasteful doses, combined with a genre-crossing enthusiasm for everything from metal to free jazz to pop.

Børge Fjordheim


Underground pop star with a jazz background. Played in Cloroform together with Kaada, and member of Wunderkammer. Has also worked extensively with Morten Abel. Freer music with Frode Gjerstad in Circulatione Totale Orchestra and Didrik Ingvaldsen in Pocket Corner.

Gro Austgulen


Stavanger's nyMusikk manager, and cross-genre violinist with a master's degree from NTNU. Equally at home in the Kitchen Orchestra and with Gunhild Seim as in the improv landscape with Vidar Schanche. Also seen constantly in full symphonic unfolding with the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra.

Elisabeth Lid Trøen

Saxophones, flute

Elisabeth Lid Trøen played with the legendary Andy Sheppard for the first time in Voss in 2010. He was so impressed that he immediately invited her to join his ensemble. Since then, she has collaborated with, among others, Joshua Redman, Steinar Raknes and Tord Gustavsen. Vossa Jazz award winner, currently recording with BounceAlarm, and a great established talent.

Øyvind Skarbø


Øyvind has been a key figure on the music scene in Western Norway for many years. Equally at home in improvisation as in James Brown grooves. A million irons in the fire: Skarbø Skulekorps, Crab is Crap, Bly de Blyant, BMX, 1982 and Håkon Kornstad, to name but a few.

Simen Kiil Halvorsen


Hyperactive musician and jazz teacher at the University of Stavanger. In addition to his own music, he has collaborated with Chris Potter, Per Zanussi, Svein Olav Herstad, Arkady Ahikloper, Lars Vaular and Alexander Hoholm, to name but a few.

Heidi Suffocation


Unique saxophone talent and genre chameleon who jumps effortlessly between classical, improvisation and jazz with a bonus love for composition and arranging. Studied jazz saxophone at the Grieg Academy and, among others, has played with Paal Nilsen-Love, Kristoffer Alberts, Jørgen Træen, Terje Isungset, Henrik Økland, and Nils Henrik Asheim.

John Derek Bishop

Electronics/live sampling

Nominated for a Spellemann award for his collaboration with Eivind Aarset, best known by the pseudonym Tortusa. Releases records on Jazzland Recordings, creates film scores and composes music for dance and performing arts.