HELGE EVJU (b 1942 )
Helge Evju was born on February 7, 1942 in Drammen, Norway, into a family of several musicians. He was taught piano mainly by his aunt, the concert pianist Aslaug Evju Blackstad, and had his hometown début in 1959, playing the Beethoven C major Concerto. From 1961 to 1963 he was resident at Brandeis University, Massachusetts, with a scholarship for music studies, studying piano with Evelyne Crochet and composition with Irving Fine, who unfortunately died in 1962. On his exam concert programme in 1963 was Samuel Barber’s Piano Sonata, which he also played in his Oslo début recital in 1968, after studies with Robert Riefling. In 1969 he took second prize in a pianists’ competition in Riefling’s name, and went to the Netherlands, and later to Prague for masterclasses with Nikita Magaloff and František Rauch. In 1974 he was singled out by the Prague critics for his performance of Janáček’s Piano Sonata 1.X.1905. In 1971 he started working as a pianist-répetiteur for the Norwegian Opera (now the Norwegian Opera and Ballet), where he stayed until retirement in 2011. His assignments for the Opera grew with the years to comprise concerts (touring the entire country), soloistic appearances with the orchestra, regular performances in the Sunday chamber concerts, lectures, texts, translations, arrangements, orchestrations and compositions. To this day he still makes guest appearances, and will conduct a comic operatic show from the piano in the spring of 2015.
In 1994 his complete (all gaps filled) cadenzas for the Mozart piano concertos were published by Verlag Zimmermann-Lienau, Frankfurt-Berlin, and pianists of high standing, such as Patrick Cohen and Andreas Haefliger, have used them in concerts and recordings. His piano transcriptions of mainly vocal music are a by-product of his operatic concert tours, to provide relevant piano interludes. He has written songs, piano pieces and several operatic arias and scenes.