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Hakon Austbo

  • Pianist


Of Norwegian origin, Hakon Austbo performed extensively in his homeland before continuing his studies at the Paris Conservatoire and the Ecole Normale de Musique.

In 1970 he was the first non-French to win the "Concours National de la Guilde Française des Artistes Solistes" in Paris, and in 1971 he gained international attention when an unanimous jury awarded him the first prize of the Olivier Messiaen Competition for Contemporary Music in Royan, France.

Håkon Austbø furthered his studies at the Juilliard School, New York, at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik, Munich, and in London. He was prize winner of the inter­national Munich competition (in piano duo with Marina Horak, 1974), of the Ravel Competition in Paris (1975), and, as a member of Trio du Nord, of the UNESCO International Rostrum, Bratislava (1975).
Based in Norway and Holland, Mr. Austbø enjoys an extensive solo career throughout Europe, America and Asia, and his recordings for various labels have received international acclaim. In the CD field, he brought out excerpts from Messiaen's Catalogue d'Oiseaux on Fidelio and the 10 Skryabin sonatas on SIMAX. The latter was acclaimed as a reference recording by Gramophone Magazine and received the Norwegian Grammy award in 1990.

Two years later Mr. Austbø received the same award for another SIMAX recording with the Norwegian cellist Truls Mørk, and again in 1995 for Messiaen's Vingt Regards sur l'Enfant-Jésus . This recording, part of a NAXOS project that will include the complete Messiaen piano music, was also chosen by Classic CD as the best available version of the work. The next item in this project, the complete Catalogue d'Oiseaux coupled with Petites Esquisses d'Oiseaux, was awarded the Edison prize 1998 for the best solo recording. The cycle is now complete, grouping the rest of the piano works on two single CD's.
Mr Austbø's discography further includes a Schumann recording for Vanguard Classics and the Norse melodrama EddaDa with the actress Juni Dahr, the complete Grieg Lyric pieces, and new recordings of Janacek and Brahms. Mr. Austbø received the prize of the Norwegian music critics in 1989 and was chosen "Performer of the Year" in Norway in 1992. In 2003 he received the prestigious Grieg prize.

He teaches piano major at the Amsterdam conservatory and is moreover first vice president of the international Skryabin Society, Moscow. As a propagator or Skryabin's work, he is the initiator and artistic director of the LUCE-project that offers a unique realisation of the colour part in the symphonic poem Prometheus.